All appearances aside, we DRUM! staffers take each issue of the magazine very seriously. Slaves to the almighty Deadline, we plan, shape, sculpt, and schedule. And then we fret, scramble, scream, and point fingers — all just to make each piece as perfect as possible and then get the whole thing out the door and into your hands on time. We’re professionals, damn it.

So it was with this issue. But just days before each polished page should have been printed, the new Tool single landed on our doorstep, still hot and smoky, faintly sulfuric. What to do? The release of any Tool tune is enough to make us take pause. But after giving a listen to “Vicarious,” we shouted the sentence you only hear in movies:

“Stop the presses!”

First off, if you’re only interested in cribbing some fancy licks, the song has plenty to send you sweating to the woodshed. Check out the typically harrowing, thirty-second-note Carey combination. And double kickers especially, where you’ll see a frenzied odd-time workout. We’ve notated the passage as played on one bass drum so that you can decide for yourself how best to break it up between your feet.


Besides the expected display of chops, Carey carries the song with a clever 5/4 groove. The main pulse is subtly spiced up with variations on an opening and closing hi-hat. And Carey easily slides into a 6/4 extension of the original 5/4 beat and back again. Throughout each meter change, Carey maintains the original 5/4 motif, even when shifting to a relatively standard-old bar of 4/4 every now and then. Powerful and musical, this is richly orchestrated drumming that drives a thinking-man’s metal. And we’re impressed.

Here’s one final tidbit for you advanced kiddies. Everyone from Bonham to Gadd has whipped out a similar run, so it’s worth breaking some wood over. Once you have it down, keep it in the toolbox for your own next great tune.

Because, hey, you never know. One day, you might have us stopping the presses.