War Ensemble – Slayer – Drum Break


"War Ensemble" is the first track on Slayer's sixth studio album, Seasons in the Abyss (1990). Smack bang in the middle of the song (2:12), drummer Dave Lombardo plays a furious two-measure drum break leading into the bridge section (see and listen above). In this lesson, we will isolate the three phrases that comprise the drum break; analyze and practice each one slowly before putting it all together.

Below, the drum break is played at half-speed, with suggested sticking and phrase marks outlining the three phrases.


Breaking it down:

Practice each of the three distinct phrases repeatedly, focussing on staying relaxed and playing with economy of motion. Only when you can play each phrase effortlessly should you incrementally increase the speed.

Phrase 1:

Getting in the shallow end.



Phrase 2:

This one-bar exercise is designed to help you get used to the sound of the sixteenth notes grouped in threes.




Phrase 2 drill: 

This is a modified version of the previous phrase, designed to increase your speed and fluidity needed to play the most challenging part of the drum break.




Phrase 3:

This descending tom phrase completes the drum break. Notice how the left hand leads and the toms change on the ‘e’ and ‘a’ of beat 3.


Video clip cued up to the drum break:


Get the full drum sheet music for Slayer's thrash classic Raining Blood. Download and print today!

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