Video: Recreating Metallica's "Enter Sandman" on Drums | What's That Sound?

Lars Ulrich of Metallica (2003). Photo by Robert Mora, Getty Images

Drums in the style of Metallica's
Drums in the style of Metallica's "Enter Sandman"
By Reverb
Download for free

Today's episode of What's That Sound? tackles what is one of the biggest and most iconic drum sounds from all of rock history—Metallica's "Enter Sandman," the opening track and lead single from the the band's self-titled 1991 record. These drums were original performed by Lars Ulrich and produced by Bob Rock.

For our recreation today, we used our go-to vintage Gretsch kit outfitted with all of its toms, plus an additional SJC floor tom. Helping the toms to sound beefier, Noam and Jessica also cut up and applied a bunch of drum heads for dampening. The kit is tied together with a Mapex Black Panther snare, 14-inch Zildjian K-Sweet hi-hats, an 18-inch K-Sweet Crash, and a 19-inch Zildjian Crash.

While these drums aren't remarkable for how technical they are played as with some of our other What's That Sound? episodes, the beat is iconic because of the way that it steadily builds up into an explosive, reliable backing beat that really makes that signature "Sandman" guitar riff shine.

metallica drum bus Metallica Kick in metallica kick out metallica Overhead metallica room metallica gated room metallica Snare top metallica Snare bottom metallica toms metallica hat (unused)

One of the most important parts of nailing this drum sound is getting the reverb right—without reverb, this wouldn't sound like the huge, booming drums that we associate with "Enter Sandman."

Equally important was matching the heavy EQing that was done to these drums as much as possible, since this isn't just a case of what was heard in the room being how it sounds on the record. A lot of the mids are being scooped out and a lot of treble and bass is being added in.

Another feature of the original drum sound is likely that a sample was added to the snare. However, since that's not particularly interesting for a video, Noam cleverly recreated that effect by gating the room sound and triggering it off of the snare drum.

As always, Noam details the mics, processing gear, and mixing techniques used in the recreation of this sound in the video above. Be sure to watch the full episode to see how it was done, and download our "Enter Sandman" sample pack completely free through the listing link above.

comments powered by Disqus

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.