The idea of a non-drummer reviewing an instructional drum DVD might seem a daunting task to most critics, but such thoughts evaporate into thin air upon viewing Gene Hoglan's "The Atomic Clock". While a certain familiarity with metal drumming is necessary, Hoglan makes the experience so entertaining, fun, and informative that you almost forget about the instructional aspects. "The Atomic Clock" features one of metal's gentle giants taking you through not only his drumming methods, but giving one insight into well over two decades of a man that has performed with DEATH, TESTAMENT, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DETHKLOK, ZIMMER'S HOLE, and DARK ANGEL, among others. As such, it is a treat for musicians and fans alike.
Finding out that Hoglan is a completely self-taught drummer (as in no formal training whatsoever) and began by simply air drumming to all of his favorite metal albums in the '80s to learn technique makes his contribution to metal drumming that much more amazing. Much of his demonstrations take place as he's playing along to several songs (sans vocals for better clarity) from MECHANISM's 2009 "Inspired Horrific" album. His narration through each performance is interesting, yet never distracting or verbose, and you will in fact find out what makes the big guy tick. Much of that ticking is all about feel and, as he puts it, "taste," much more than technicality, his prodigious skills notwithstanding. In fact, you'll see that Hoglan is one with his kit in a way that transcends the intricacies of snares, toms, and kicks. Speaking of kicks, one of the most interesting aspects of the DVD pertains to his preparation and technique for building endurance and strength, most notably the emphasis he puts on wearing ankle weights, which he often wears through much of his various bands' live sets, allowing him to "fly" when assaulting the kit on a particularly fast tune. In addition to fun "extras" with the likes of ZIMMER'S HOLE vocalist Chris Valagao, you'll be pleasantly surprised by his drum performances with decidedly non-metal acts, as well as his love of many forms of drumming outside of metal.
"The Atomic Clock" is a thoroughly enjoyable and wholly informative DVD that'll give you a new appreciation for the legendary and always affable drummer, as well as for the art and science of drumming, metal or otherwise. The best part about it is that you don't have to be a drummer to enjoy the hell of out it.