Dave Lombardo is best known for his work with the legendary Slayer, where he reinvented heavy metal drumming, but he did much more than drive that thrash powerhouse—his resumé feels practically endless. By the time Slayer dropped their fifth album, 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss, it had become clear that Lombardo was more than just a dude who could make two bass drums go from fast to extremely fast—the man was a true-blue percussionist. He brought his lifelong love of Tito Puente to the forefront of the band’s barrage of riffs, and his lively, complex fills created hooks in and of themselves, standing out with their lively rhythms and Latin flair.
Slayer are merely the tip of the Lombardo iceberg. Over the past 40 years he’s loaned his drums to myriad projects, including straightforward bashers (Suicidal Tendencies, Testament, the reunited Misfits) and esoteric and experimental endeavors. He spent a decade in heady supergroup Fantômas, and since the late 90s he’s collaborated with avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn. Now, hesher drum freaks of the world can rejoice, because we’re finally getting the first-ever Dave Lombardo solo record, Rites of Percussion (Ipecac). Channeling the percussive mantras of Mickey Hart, it’s a 13-track document of Lombardo trapped in a room with mountains of drums, using his signature apeshit playing to build fully realized songs that move among rhythmic mayhem, spooky soundscapes, tribal pummeling, and funky pocket playing. It’s 35 incredibly satisfying minutes of one of the world’s greatest drummers going absolutely nonstop bonkers. And at the record’s end, as you flip it over to dive in once again, you’ll be wondering, “Why didn’t he do this sooner?”
Dave Lombardo’s Rites of Percussion (Napalm) is available through Bandcamp.