Here we have a matchup with two drummers who completely own their style. Meshuggah are an incredibly complex band that pioneered polyrhythm and solely influenced the djent subgenre. The music of Meshuggah would seemingly drive most drummers to lay down the sticks forever, but Tomas Haake was up for the challenge of anchoring the madness. He manages to keep the time signatures relatively simple (though going off the handle every now and then) while constantly mixing up his playing. His approach takes on the philosophy of “it isn’t the notes you hit, it’s the ones you don’t.”

Mike Smith has been in and out of Suffocation, departing seemingly for good last year. His technical proficiency laid down the blueprint for both technical and brutal death metal. Suffocation’s winding song structures are all stitched together through Smith’s jaw-dropping showmanship, with double cymbal catches as the cherry on top. Despite not playing on the seminal ‘Pierced From Within,’ his style can still be heard as a major influence. The drummer’s style of blasting has a unique charm that nobody in the death metal realm can seem to imitate.

Tomas Haake or Mike Smith? Cast your vote for the Greatest Metal Drummer in the poll below! Voting for this round closes on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 11:59PM ET. Fans can vote once per hour, so keep coming back to make sure that your favorite metal musician wins!

Greatest Metal Drummer Skin Bashers, Round 1
Greatest Metal Drummer Technical Masters, Round 1