Now this is how I like to be taught drums. Flo Mounier is of course the mindblowing crusher for Montreal's insanely technical Death/Grind band CRYPTOPSY. Everything is laid out very methodically, clearly, with easy options to review each lesson at the touch of a button. Mounier gives you warm-up exercises both off and on the kit to prepare yourself for this incredibly physical type of drumming. Exercises for those not able to access their kit often are even given to help maintain the strength to play. Although Mounier is an extremely advanced player this DVD will prove useful even to beginners if the exercises are used within their playing level; intermediate and advanced player well also find it very useful.
It is a 2 DVD set, the first disc being instructional and the second a comprehensive library of Mounier performances. Straight off Mounier breaks down his foot and hand techniques. He explains how that for slower sections, he uses the arms for motion, for faster his wrists, and for fastest he uses his fingers to propel the sticks forward. Likewise with his feet for slower part his legs are moving the pedals, and faster his ankles do the motion. He shows us his foot technique for fast double-bass drumming, in which the balls of his feet are about one inch above the pedal board and his ankles are propelling the kick pedals forward using the front of his feet, bouncing them much like basket balls off the surface. Mounier makes a strong point in mentioning that he moves his bass drums forward to create a forwards motion and that he raises his drum throne up enough so that his legs are at angles to the seat to maintain his balance.
With these basics in mind the student is able follow Mounier through a variety of hand and foot exercises, beginning with single strokes over the expanse of the kit. These are demonstrated under the beat of a metronome, beginning with 140 bpm (beats per minute) to generally to 240 bpm. Each exercise is shown from a rear with a frontal view placed in the upper left hand corner. Mounier goes into double strokes and into triplets, and for the feet starts off with some slow heels-down double bass exercises, and speeding it up, into the fast heels-up tempos. He also includes the general tempo range exercises for single strokes on the bass drums.
In "Grind Library" Mounier demonstrates Grind beats, blast beats, and the coveted "Gravity Blast" making them understandable enough to me, but perhaps could have spent a little more time on them for less experienced players. With this in mind, however, it is with the diligent practicing of the aforementioned exercises that a player will begin to grasp how these extremely rapid beats are played.
Disc 2 "Performances" show Mounier in a variety of professional situations. It is here where we get to see the rudiments demonstrated in Disc 1 put into action. We often see Mounier begin his solos with double strokes on the snare, expanding from there over the kit into all manner of crazy patterns. "Sound Check And Drum Solo" (for the "Once Was Not" video) shows great use of the double stroke and the triplet spreading expansively and musically over the entire kit. One highlight is at the Montreal Drum Fest 2003, where after a couple of instrumental CRYPTOPSY performances, Mounier pairs off with fellow drummer Ange Curelo in a drum duet. The CRYPTOPSY performances fade out the vocals and the guitars to leave attention for the drumming. One I liked is "Phobophile" which starts off as basic Grind/Thrash but then gets complex - an earlier composition perhaps? "We Bleed" has two good examples of gravity blasts, while "Slit Your Guts" has more. "Dead And Dripping" has some great blast beat examples. All the CRYPTOPSY tracks are shot with a great view from behind the kit, and all the filming is spot-on and generous with the opportunity to really see Mounier is playing. A drummer couldn't ask for more. (Online March 31, 2006)