Dave Lombardo : Rites Of Percussion

Dave Lombardo is arguably one of the great living rock drummers. As a founding member of thrash legends Slayer, Lombardo took heavy metal drumming and combined it with hardcore punk speed to create a style that was jaw-dropping fast but could also lock into grooves when needed. Lombardo’s drumming was the key ingredient in making Slayer one of the big four, along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth.

It turned out Dave Lombardo was far more vast and varied a player to just limit himself with Slayer. Lombardo has played with Fantômas, Mr. Bungle, DJ Spooky, Testament, Dead Cross, and many more. Plus, Dave Lombaro is just a pretty down to earth guy.

Well after 40 years making albums with bands Dave Lombardo has just released his debut solo album. Rites Of Percussion is an all instrumental percussion album, showing Lombardo’s composing chops, as well as digging into his roots by combining traditional Cuban rhythms with Lombardo’s expertise as a metal drummer for decades. Rites Of Percussion is a tribal, groove-heavy, darkly-lit, and a rhythmically rich album.

Rites Of Percussion comes across like a score to some dark, dystopian film. Besides the rich percussive colors, Lombardo adds atmospheric soundscapes to accompany his amazing drum compositions. You can almost picture some post-apocalyptic landscape filling a movie screen with opening salvo “Initiatory Madness”, a song that shows both Lombardo’s amazing drumming chops but also his knack for building mood and tension through sound layering. “Journey of the Host” has an amazing groove that occasionally collapses into chaotic noises and theremin-like whistles. “Despojo” sounds almost industrial in nature, coming across like Ministry but unplugged with only a drum set and traditional Cuban hand percussion.

There are moody pieces as well, like the haunting and eerie “Interfearium” which sounds like anxiety put to music. “Guerrero” has the feeling of building tension with slow-building drums and nightmarish soundscapes. “Animismo” closes out the album with a sound that is technical precision while also having a dark, cinematic feel.

Dave Lombardo has proven himself more than just one of the preeminent rock and roll drummers on Rites of Percussion. He’s proven to be a far more versatile and thoughtful musician, composer, and musical thinker. This record lands in the spirit of other solo drum albums, like Stewart Copeland’s The Rhythmatist and Glenn Kotche’s Mobile. This record is rich in technical precision, mood, and style. Whether you’re a fan of Slayer or not, Rites Of Percussion is for anyone interested in thoughtful and engaging compositions.

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