Dave Lombardo…yeah, yeah, Slayer and all that. But did you know that he has recorded and/or performed with Mike Patton and John Zorn? He has a penchant for the eclectic, though not everything he produces is outside. But judging from the three times I’ve seen him live with Zorn and the many albums to which he contributes, Dave Lombardo is not your typical metal drummer.
Rites of Percussion is his first solo album in a 40-year career, a recording that has been in the conceptual stages for almost a quarter century. On it, he employs kit drums, often in a markedly rock style with plenty of pounding double bass. But there are snippets of piano, some synth layers, and even a guitar chord or two.
But the drumming…while the liner notes do not go into much detail, Lombardo has an expansive kit and I would not be surprised if he was triggering electronic effects along the way rather than adding them later in the mix. With this broad palette, he stays mainly focused on rock, but branches out with a handful of Afro-Carribean and jazz-inflected rhythms.
Somehow, this all holds together over 13 tracks spanning 35 minutes. Each piece has a purpose, style, and theme. Lombardo makes a statement – usually at a rapid pace – and then moves on. As a consequence, Rites of Percussion is a powerful ride. It exhibits a few dark moments but is mostly just a blast of compelling experimental energy.
One of the better solo drum efforts of the last decade. Very well done.