Emperor drummer Trym Torson

Here is the best explanation of blastbeats I've ever read. It's aimed at drummers, but I'm not a drummer and I learned a lot from it. Bookmark it, study it, send it to your friends. It's good to know what one is hearing when one listens to music. These are my main takeaways from the article.

  1. There are two main kinds of blastbeats, European and American.
  2. The European one involves alternation between snare and bass drums, like a very fast thrash (polka) beat. (The "offbeat version" of the American method that the author mentions is really just a European blastbeat with snares on downbeats rather than upbeats.) The result is "washy chaos" and/or a "clattering" feel. Many black metal and grindcore bands use it.
  3. The American version involves hitting the snare and bass drums at the same time. The result sounds cleaner and more hammering. Many deathcore bands use it.
  4. The "Northern hyperblast" is probably my favorite blastbeat. Instead of the busy kicks of the European and American blasts, it has simple, four-on-the-floor kicks. This makes for a nice pumping feel. Cryptopsy's Flo Mounier is great at it.
  5. I have no idea what is going on with the "Krisiun blast."

The author of the article cites a number of songs as examples of various blastbeats. I've posted them below. I've also listed times that the blastbeats occur within songs. Any corrections are welcome, as my guitarist ears can't catch all the nuances of this stuff.

- Cosmo Lee

Blastbeats 101

1. European method

a) Standard version (hats-led blast)
Emperor - Ye Entrancepurium (0:11)

2. American method

a) Standard version (Suffocation blast)
Hate Eternal - King of All Kings (0:00)

b) Offbeat version (snare-led blast)
Morbid Angel - Heaving Earth (0:17, 0:45)

c) Double kick American blast (Cannibal blast)
Mithras - Worlds Beyond the Veil (0:00)

3. Other methods