Aug 312011

Three days ago we reviewed the new EP from Italian face-melters Eyeconoclast, Sharpening Our Blades On the Mainstream. Eyeconoclast’s drummer is Mauro Mercurio, and his participation on the EP is one of the things that drew us to Eyeconoclast in the first place. Mercurio was the drummer for a phenomenal Roman death-metal band called Hour of Penance from about 1999 until 2010 and he’s been involved in other projects, as well as doing session work (e.g., he was the session drummer on Oracles (2009), the debut full-length by Fleshgod Apocalypse).

I’ve said before that I don’t know enough about the art of drumming to be a sophisticated critic of drum performances in extreme metal bands. I know what I enjoy hearing and I know when drumming makes an impression on me as I listen to a song and when it doesn’t particularly stand out, but my understanding isn’t much deeper than that. I’m also susceptible to a feeling of awe at sheer, unadulterated speed, especially when the performer is making use of the whole kit at a blazing pace.

Mercurio is one of those drummers who leaves my mouth hanging open, drooling slightly, with a cretinous glazed look in my eyes. I got that gap-mouthed, glazed look this morning when I saw a video that Mercurio put up on YouTube yesterday. It shows him laying down the drum track — in one take — for the title song on that Eyeconoclast EP. According to Mercurio’s note accompanying the video, the tempo of the whole song is 300 beats per minute (bpm). If my math is right, that’s 5 beats per second. This seems very fast to me. The normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Can the human heart beat at 300 bpm without exploding?

Mercurio also notes that in this recording, there were no triggers on the snares or toms and no studio editing on the drum track. Watch this shit after the jump, and in case you missed the song itself when we reviewed the EP a few days ago, you can hear that after the jump, too.

Now, here’s the complete song, “Sharpening Our Blades On the Mainstream”. As you’ll hear, the rest of the guys in this band are pretty damned fast, too.


  30 Responses to “MAURO MERCURIO AT WORK”

  1. Better than porn on any given day, no questions. WHOAH!

  2. As a fellow drum aficionado, who knows little more than “if it goes fast I like it”, this isn’t half bad but I have to say that I need more speed than this for it to truly reach orgasmic proportions. And not to turn this thread into “namedrop fast drummers”, but youtube a few videos of Absu or 1349 to get a truly orgasmic fill of unadulterated speed.

    • Funny you should mention Absu — BadWolf’s review of the new album will be up here tomorrow. I don’t think I had heard more than a stray song from them in the past, but I’ve started listening to “Abzu” and am really liking it. And yes . . . FAST.

      • Very much looking forward to that. I cannot recommend their “Tara” album enough, if you want to hear double bas that will blow you away check out “She Cries a Quiet Lake” from that album.

        • I just got “Tara” from Amazon and saw all the album covers there — what wonderful cover art! The art for the new one is amazing, too. And the song titles are wonderful on “Tara” — and on “Abzu”. Definitely a band I need to get into seriously. Now to go listen to “She Cries A Quiet Lake” . . .

          • Not only is the artwork amazing, but the whole booklet is great. Full lyrics, storylines, a dictionary of the various weirder terms they use, and then a whole paragraph at the end of the booklet about how the it’s made from some special paper and how it relates to the theme of the album. Very cool.

            • Now doubly glad I ordered the CD. I just listened to “She Cries The Quiet Lake” on YouTube. Awesome. Funny comment below the video from someone who had just heard it for the first time: “Now I understand why there are no drum covers of this on YouTube.”

              • Did you get the shiny double-cd version with the black cover? I like that. Simple but striking black-on-black. Though the original art is also great.

                • I got the one with the original art. I saw the black cover version. Maybe i should have investigated it further. I may have to add all this album art below BadWolf’s review of the new one. Surely he won’t mind . . .

                • The double version being the one that includes the “In the Eyes of Ioldánach” EP? cover looks very nice, love the minimalistic look and I love the Absu logo. The original art is amazing though.

                  • That’s the one. It’s a really cool little package. Very tactile.

                    • If you want to see Mauro at his “orgasm-inducing best”, really just listen to anything off of Paradogma. His drumming for both Hour of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse is much more interesting than for this band, both fit his style better.

                    • Paradogma was one of the best albums of 2010 in my book, and Oracles is a massive ass-kicker, too, and the drumming was a huge part of both records.

      • Git that Absu review online!!1!!eleven!! Can’t wait to read it, as I’m currently rolling through the album myself for review purposes. For me, album of the year, not a shred of doubt about that!

    • Oh, and to your original point, what amazes me about Mauro Mercurio is not just his rampant speed but what he’s doing with all the drums and cymbals while going flat out. The rhythms and combinations are so cool. Oh, and I nearly fell out of my chair at 2:10 when he fired the double-kicks into hyperdrive.

  3. Watching metal drummers play is like watching a bizarre space animal play some strange instrument from beyond the edge of time.

    • It does seem otherworldly. In the case of the really good ones, they have to keep a a complex pattern of actions in their minds, and executing the pattern requires all four limbs doing different things at the same time, often at high speed, while maintaining the underlying tempo(s) and rhythm(s) of the song, or sometimes going off at a different tempo than the main one being followed by the other instrumentalists. And think what must be required when a drummer is also doing the vocals!

  4. The guy is like a machine gun with balls and a pony tail.

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