Blast beat

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A blast beat is a drum beat often associated with extreme metal, although its usage predates the genre, and is utilised by many different styles of metal.[1] In Adam MacGregor's definition, "the blast-beat generally comprises a repeated, sixteenth-note figure played at a very fast tempo, and divided uniformly among the kick drum, snare and ride, crash, or hi-hat cymbal."[1] Blast beats have been described as "maniacal percussive explosions, less about rhythm per se than sheer sonic violence".[2] Napalm Death is said to have coined the term,[2] though this style of drumming had previously been practiced by D.R.I.,[1] Repulsion[3] and others. Blast beats are made with rapid alternating or coinciding strokes primarily on the bass and snare drum. Diverse patterns and timings are also frequently used by more technical players, such as Gene Hoglan (Death/Dark Angel), Alex Hernandez (Immolation) and Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy). Alternative styles of blast beats include performing two strokes of the bass drum followed by one stroke of the snare drum. Pete Sandoval frequently uses this technique.



The English band Napalm Death coined the term "blast beat",[2] though this style of drumming had previously been practiced by others. Daniel Ekeroth argues that the blast beat was first performed by the Swedish D-beat group Asocial on their 1982 demo.[4] D.R.I. ("No Sense"),[1] Sepultura ("Antichrist"),[5] S.O.D. ("Milk"),[6] Sarcófago ("Satanas"),[7] and Repulsion[3] also included the technique prior to Napalm Death's emergence. Blast beats originated in performances by jazz drummers of the 1950s, 60s and 70s such as Tony Williams, Angelo Spampinato, and Sunny Murray, in particular his 3/28/1965 Greenwich Village recording of "Holy Ghost" with Albert Ayler. Allmusic contributor Thom Jurek credits Williams as the "true inventor of the blastbeat"[8] in 1979. In 1969 the band Attila used a blast beat on their song Brain Invasion starting at the 2:04 mark and lasting for about eight seconds. Blast roots in hardcore punk can be traced to recordings such as D.R.I's "No Sense" on their first EP (1982)[citation needed] and Beastie Boys "Riot Fight" on their first EP, Pollywog Stew. Other examples include Heart Attack, Cryptic Slaughter and Lärm.

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