As one-man projects and underground demos are evolving, the need for programmed drums is highly increasing, since it is actually the hardest instrument to record, while drummers are rare and sometimes incompetent for the musical visions that a rising band is aiming for. Solution: Programmed Drums. What’s really interesting about this is that no matter how much they sound realistic, an experienced listener can spot it on the fly: it has “that sound” to it and that sound often repulses most of the music fans, unless the music production is really good and the drums keep a constant rhytm going without adding any intricate drum fills (which usually exposes the ‘robot’ nature of the sound). Let’s see some examples of drum programming in the world today, and I invite you to add your own examples in your comments after you read the article.


  • Meshuggah

In March 2002, Meshuggah recorded three-track demos with programmed drums in their home studio, which were based on Haake’s sample Drumkit from Hell.

P.S: Catch Thirtythree earned the band a Swedish Grammy nomination.

Consider that as a +1 for Programmed Drums

  • Cult of Luna

“About those programmed drums like for instance in the song ‘Dark City, Dark Man’: it’s not that we programmed the basic drums, but the programmed drums should sound as programmed drums. It was our intention to create it like that. We had no boundaries, although not every idea worked out though”. – Cult of Luna in an interview

When ideas don’t work out, get a real drummer? Consider that as a -1 for Programmed Drums


  • Necrophagist

    “After recording their demo, the remainder of the band quit and Muhammed was left to record the debut album, Onset of Putrefaction, himself, with the aid of computer programmed drums.” – Band’s official biography

I believe this worked out fine for the band. +1 for Programmed Drums.

  • Ziltoid the Omniscient

Devin Townsend programmed drums on his “Ziltoid the Omniscient” album which was well received by metal fans worldwide. He stated that “Nobody was around. For four months I worked completely on my own. I recorded each instrumental track and I also programmed all the drums.”

This has some really high production quality! Programmed drums could rarely be noticed on the album. +1 for Programmed Drums.

  • Drumkit From Hell aka DFH®

“Drumkit From Hell aka DFH® was originally created to address Toontrack® Musics own needs for better and heavier drums in music production. As a result the Toontrack® productionteam decided to record a drumlibrary with the best musicians and producers available in Swedish heavy metal.” – Official site

Drumkit From Hell was awarded 5 of 5 in Sound on Sound and an EQ Magazine Exceptional Quality award.

> +1 for Programmed Drums

  • EZDrummer Drumkit From Hell and Ebow demo

This sounds monstrous! +1 for Programmed Drums.

Here you go, modern technology at its best (I rated programmed drums 4/6). The question remains though, as drum software become more intricate and sound more realistic, will there be a need for drummers whatsoever? What about guitars and other instruments? Do you imagine yourself watching a live show of a virtual band? Now really, imagine being invited to a Metal concert featuring 100% programmed music, where musicians can be judged on their ability to program music, and not to perform it. How will you react when it comes to musical ethics?!