If you have mastered playing most of the primary and popular songs on your drums, take a break from them and try learning a hard one. If you are looking for some challenging songs that will test your limits, check out our list of the hardest songs to play on drums.
Learning a tough song will probably challenge you to push your limits and, in the process, refine and enhance your skills. Besides, it will be quite a thrilling experience, and once you play the song on your own, trust me, you will be proud of yourself.
So here is a list of the hardest songs to play on drums for you to get started.
What Makes a Song Hard to Play?
Before we get on to the list, you should know what factors cause a drum to be hard to play. Some of the factors that make a song hard to play are as follows –
It’s pretty apparent that the difficulty level of drum songs heavily depends on the speed. High-speed songs are not only hard to learn and play but also require perfect limb movement and extreme stamina.
It’s relatively easy to play songs with a single rhythm. But tracks with polyrhythms can be challenging because a lot of the time, you need to simultaneously play two or more conflicting rhythms.
Grooves and Fills
Some songs contain unusual grooves and fills, which can be pretty challenging to play on drums. They appear easy at first, but as the song proceeds, it takes quite an effort to get them right.
Some songs require dynamic control and execution because the drum level of each note is different and unique. Although it complements the music well, it is not easy to play, let alone master.
Mastering the time signature is crucial for drum performance. For most songs, the standard signature is 4/4 times. Some songs, however, are played at an odd time and combine several time signatures within one track. It makes it very hard to play and keep time.
The Hardest Songs to Play on Drums
The top 5 hardest songs to play on drums in 2021 are as follows –
1. The Dance of Eternity – Dream Theater
The Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater is considered a sonic marvel of the progressive metal genre. Although at first, it may seem easy, it is one of the most complex songs to play on drums.
There are no massive grooves or fills, and the song doesn’t have a high speed either. But the song uses a range of different time signature variations which makes it so challenging to play on drums. That is because Mike Portnoy and Co. does not follow the standard 4/4-time signature. As the song advances, the time signatures and fluid motion change, and there are no visible repetitions.
2. Moby Dick – Led Zeppelin
Trying to learn to play Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin on drums is easily one of the most challenging experiences for any drummer. It is a hard rock track with extended hand drumming. The solo drum part of the live recording by John Bonham is 15-minute-long and showcases intricate groove patterns and precision drumming at a remarkable speed.
The song is full of complex time signatures and fast triplets. It also includes bongo-style playing and multiple tough fills, which makes it very difficult to grasp and learn. Performing this song will require perfect and almost unrealistic foot and handwork alongside extreme stamina and speed. Nevertheless, there is also a studio-recorded version of the song, which is significantly shorter and easier to learn.
3. Bleed – Meshuggah
Bleed is another progressive metal track by the Swedish band Meshuggah. With its complex and mind-altering drum pattern, this 7-minute long track is undoubtedly one of the hardest songs to cover on drums.
The song is played in standard 4/4, but the polyrhythms of the track are what make it complicated. The song emphasizes complex double bass tunes featuring cross-rhythms and triplets. It involves so many complex moves and tricky footwork that it is tough to even get a solid blueprint.
So you will need insanely fast drumming speed alongside utmost limb control and, not to mention, extreme stamina to be able to pull off this track.
4. La Villa Stangiato – Rush
The La Villa Strangiato by Rush is a quintessential rock track filled with extraordinary and powerful drum beats by Neil Peart.
The track is filled with high-speed beats and drops with multiple odd meters, making it hard to master. The song has a lot of unique hits that you need to learn. You will need outstanding speed, precise limb controls, technical details, and extreme stamina to play the song.
Goliath by Mars Volta is a rock song and likely consists of the loudest and hardest drum beats. The track is so loud the banging is almost violent.
It’s already obvious that the song features heavy and hard-hitting drum patterns, which are pretty difficult to play. It has a lot of complicated grooves and double bass, making it very challenging.
The track is played in various time signatures throughout, meaning you need a lot of control and patience to get the song right.
If you are done learning these songs already, and looking for something else, don’t worry at all! We got you covered. Here are a few more challenging songs for you to try learning on your drums –
- Ticks and Leeches by Tool
- The violation by Fleshgod Apocalypse
- Sedation Deprivation by Nerve
- Sing, Sing, Sing by Gene Krupa
- A Night in Tunisia by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
- Caravan drum solo by Whiplash
Learning a new song takes time and patience, and if it’s a hard song, you will need to commit to twice as much time and effort, if not more. Perfecting the hard song will demand even more from you. It may feel laborious and frustrating at first, but once you master the track, it will feel worthwhile.
Go ahead and choose your favourite one from our list and start practicing – and don’t give up until you have it mastered!
You can also read: Fun Songs to Play on Bass