Bart D. : Any drummer a titbit serious about exploring the vast world of interesting drummers should be quite able to single out more than one name from the following as at least sounding familiar: Gary Novak, Simon Phillips, Terry Bozzio, Jimmy Chamberlin, Taylor Hawkins. Only Hawkins' name didn't ring a bell here initially, but soon after I found out he has actually been sitting in my stereo every once in a while since he is the drumming force of the Foo Fighters. For the rest: Chick Corea, Allan Holdsworth, Toto, Planet X, Frank Zappa, Smashing Pumpkins, Sebastian Bach, Steve Vai...fit them to one of the drummers...and the list goes on. Needless to say, this DVD from Drum Channel presents an up-close view of five impressive and diverse drummers.
Now in what format is this being presented? Guitarist Gannin Arnold, with some mighty chops in his fingers, is the driving force behind this project, having asked the drummers to drop in one day and play on some of his solo compositions. This is all done and filmed live in-studio, which ensures top quality images and sound. And mainly thanks to the charisma of the drummers, the atmosphere in the studio is lively. This alone makes it a fun DVD to watch for music aficionados. But as it is published by Drum Channel, we should be expecting some up close educational material for drummers. Apart from the outstanding quality of the first disc, this is being taken care of on disc two, which shows one song played by all five drummers with overhead camera. This way the different approaches from every drummer become literally quite visible. There is also plenty of interviewing added, in which the drummers intersperse great tips with fun-fact anecdotes.
This DVD does have some possible shortcomings, though. First, you might not like the material presented by Gannin Arnold. Then, hearing it over and over again might become irritating. It has to be said that his compositional method too often consists of melodic lines that sound thin, especially against those forces of nature behind the drum kits (which by no means means that guitarists cannot have a great time figuring out these blistering licks). Also, as a first watch the mixing up of camera views as well as interviews between songs is pleasant, but as you start using this DVD as serious material to refresh your drum chops, the option to choose between angles or show the songs only is sorely missed. Yet all in all this is a fine DVD with some great dynamic performances that may entertain anyone and will certainly appeal to curious drummers. There is a lot of different material subtly touched upon from different angles that makes this an inspiring approach to educational film-making.