ANTHRAX's Charlie Benante Says He's "Tired" of Not Being Credited As Creator of The Blast Beat
In a recently posted interview with Drumtalk (the interview was actually conducted last year, but just being posted on Youtube), Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante made the claim that he was the first to use a blast beat during his time playing with S.O.D., aka Stormtroopers of Death, namely on the track "Milk."
Here is the quote in full, as pulled by Blabbermouth:
“There’s this style of beat called ‘blast beat,’ and I will say that the first time ever that type of beat was recorded and played on a record was on this S.O.D. [Stormtroopers of Death] record that we did in 1985. And I’m tired of people not crediting that that was the first time. And, of course, people perfected it and play it way better, but that was the first time that a blast beat was on record. If you can prove me wrong, prove me wrong, but I believe that that was the first time. And, like I said, other people have mastered it and done it way better, and I never took it any further — that was it. It fit in that song ‘Milk’. Like, when we would play it live, the more I played it, the more I started to develop a different way of playing it. Because I would always play it with a single kick drum, and I would either reverse it, which I think Paul [Mazurkiewicz] from Cannibal Corpse played more of that style of blast beat. I would play it either with the ride or I would play it with the hat, reversing it. When S.O.D. would play more and more shows, I would always develop it and not just do a single kick — I would throw in a double. And then I discovered that some of the black metal bands, later on, were doing it [slightly differently]. So it was being developed even more. And then when I heard the Dimmu Borgir record Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Nick Barker’s drumming on that record was, to me, one of those moments where another door opened and he took the blast beat style to a whole other level.”
He later added “I remember when that song came out, ‘Milk,’ with the blast beat in it, and many people were saying, ‘What are you doing here? What are you doing?’ And there was a part of me that was, like, ‘I can’t really tell you what I’m doing.’ [Laughs] When we would play it, I would always see people watching me play it. And S.O.D. didn’t play many shows, of course, but when we did play, we played the whole record. And it was never at the same speed that the record was recorded — it was live and it was just fast, so it was always moving forward.”
The debate about the inventor of the blast beat has one that has gone on for decades in the metal world. Metal Injection's Frank Godla, a drummer himself, did a deep dive into the first blast beats in an article on this site a few years ago.
While many credit former Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris as the first person to perform the signature drum sound, while Frank was able to point to an earlier song, by a Billy Joel side project named Atilla (not the scene band of today) for performing the first "bomb blast."
When the story came out, Benante seemed to immediately walk back his statement, calling it click bait:
— Charlie Benante (@skisum) June 20, 2020
Doesn’t D.R.I. have one on their first record?!?😁
— CAULDRON (@Cauldronmetal) June 20, 2020
Yep, I know it well but this wasn’t a kinda blast I was referring to. I would have to say Agnostic front did it first or many of the hardcore bands back then.
— Charlie Benante (@skisum) June 21, 2020