Dave Lombardo: 'Believe It or Not, Metal Has a Lot of Boundaries'

Metal projects feel "less exciting" for ex-Slayer drummer.

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Former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo recently talked about his musical and playing preferences, dubbing the metal genre far too limited.

Discussing "weirder" projects like Fantomas or Zorn, Dave told Cyclic Defrost, "I've always been a fan of music that is left of center. It wasn't until i started to work with [Mike] Patton that i realized i had the instinctual ability to play avant-garde style of music.

"When Patton introduced me to the first Fantomas demos I felt very comfortable and connected with the music," he continued. "When I performed 'Xu Feng' for the first time with John Zorn and his ensemble, I was comfortable and uninhibited. This is the most pure form of musical self-expression."

Touching on the matter of metal, Lombardo added, "I get the chance to play drums without limits, believe it or not metal has a lot of boundaries. When I play with these artists, the intensity and dynamics are so great because we're tapping into so many genre's. Quite honestly... most music, in comparison, feels less exciting for me."

As for Dave's relationship with Slayer, the drummer recently noted that the chances of his return are as close to zero as they can get. "I don't think that's ever gonna happen again," he briefly said.

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    believe it or not metal is a lot more conformist and restrictive than the "totally bad mainstream" that they claim to hate. metal is a very cliquey genre of music if you don't fit in you're rejected just like the mainstream. metal is for rejects but you have to be a reject in just the right way
    Metal has never claimed to hate the mainstream or to be non-conformist. We're talking about a genre whose most innovative moments were tied to the need to not suck as much as another genre. Thrash thrived as the anti-thesis to Glam, even Metallica would talk trash about those crap bands. Death Metal became popular because MTV started shelling out second-rate bands like Testament and Thrash became stale and full of posers, forcing everyone else to look for newer and more extreme music. Norwegian Black Metal kicked off because of the tension between the Norwegian music scene and the Swedish Death Metal scene. Who is actually stupid enough to have ever believed Metal was anything other than an exclusive brotherhood? At no point in Metal's history has there ever been evidence to the contrary, and at no point in Metal's history has this ever been detrimental to Metal.
    You're not referring to Metal. You're referring to elitist metalheads. Not all metalheads, not even necessarily the majority, but just the elitists... and people get like that because Metal's all they really got. The musicians don't care but the fans care a huge amount. As a musician, I don't care what you expect out of my Metal band (we're Death Metal BTW, but don't let that fool you into thinking a certain way about how we actually sound), I'm going to just make the music I enjoy. If Between the Buried and Me hasn't officially proven people wrong who say "Metal has a lot of boundaries", then that's a shame. To quote Between the Buried and Me - "we're capable of beauty through sounds which make one cringe".
    There is innovative metal out there, it's just not in the big headlining mainstream metal acts (like Slayer). In all my concert experience the big metal acts have bigger bonehead moron fans than I can tolerate. For example, I saw Protest the Hero here in goddamn Newfoundland a few years ago. The opening acts were a pop punk band, a metalcore band, and a more dramatic sort of prog metal band. I didn't hear anyone hate on anyone playing and the whole show was frickin deadly. Last year Protest the Hero came back but they were opening for Black Label Society. I have never seen so many big dudes with biker jackets in my whole life holy moly. And a guy seriously tried to argue that BLS' drummer demonstrated more technical ability than Moe from PTH. There were also folks ranting about how Protest were lame and they wanted to hear Zakk Wylde diddle his guitar more. So yeah, the big time, playing stadiums, biker dude metal has boundaries because they're just showing of their "manliness". The metal that's doing something new, cool, and different exists, they're just below the surface
    I had a similar experience myself back in 2010. I went to watch Children of Bodom when they opened for BLS in the US, and there was an endless sea of biker dudes at the venue. They talked a bunch of smack on Bodom when they came out on stage, but stopped when they started playing. Haha
    To me metal is about being open minded and willing to embrace the unknown, but to some it is to display how they're 'outcasts', and feel the need to tell everyone. If someone doesn't like his nu-metal band, but some black metal band, he's stupid. It's just not about liking what you like anymore, but choosing what type of music you want to associate your image with. Too bad, if you ask me..
    Metal has walls. You can only push the envelope so much before it's just not Metal anymore. I don't think it's so much about as image as it used to be. I mean I'm from NYC so we have a pretty big Metal scene. The "outcasts" nowadays hide in coffee shops and call someone dropping a turd on a snare drum art.
    I mean how they're all being 'outcasts' together. This huge group of people feel like they're exiled, and must show that to everyone, while they're not. And to some it's not really about the music. A band could shred the same arpeggio for 2 minutes (or drop turds on snares) and they won't notice, but 'like' it because their 'metal-way-of-life' dictates it, and greatly displays their 'exile'. They like being the victim.
    Xu Feng is one of the mightiest head**** albums of all time, sincerely recommend it. And everything else by John Zorn, all 100+ albums.
    I think metal wouldn't have had such an explosion of subgenres in the last two decades if it was that restrictive. On the other hand, has it happens with almost every other genre in existence, metal fans come to expect a certain sound from their liked bands, and do not allow for much variation before they loose their interest. But I think Mastodon, Gojira and Between the Buried and Me are good examples of bands whose sound evolved and changed (some more than others) without necessarily loosing their fans
    I saw Mastodon fans chant "you suck dick" during Between the buried and mes set because they hated their mellow parts when I saw both bands at the Starland. It was completely ridiculous.
    Maybe they hated all their parts but couldn't chant high enough during the noisy parts.
    Most of those subgenres weren't taken seriously at first though, there was always a really elitist attitude within the genre as a whole.
    There isnt even a genre called metal anymore, Its because of our own restrictions that all the sub genres were created. Because there has to be some kind of rating or division, Metal cant just be metal anymore. It has to be described into a more specific sound that way other genres can hate on one another rather than just enjoying the metal.
    I like Dave as a drummer, but this is stupid. Of course metal has boundaries, but so does every single genre. If a genre had literally no boundaries, it would encompass all of music, and therefore be redundant. I'm not saying a genre should be overly restrictive (and I absolutely disagree with him about metal being such), but some limits should exist. Also, "mixing genres" in making music can indeed be brilliant, but doing it just for the sake of doing it can have pretty catastrophic results. Case in point: Lulu.
    Speaking of Mike Patton, I'd like to point out the people who hate on FNM because of their few "rap metal" songs. Mike Patton raps in maybe 3 songs overall. Also, what's wrong with rap music? Culture yourselves, fools.