George Kollias, The Enduring Player

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Drumming requires great endurance. And there are very few who have it like George Kollias. The Nile’s skin man is a true representation of what greatness looks like.

He is the longest man to enthrone the Egyptian-themed metal set. He started slow but has managed to lift himself up, persevering through “An Evening With” tour that defined the Nile‘s reputation.

The band’s songs are lengthy and filled with such demanding blast beats it can be overwhelming for some drummers to listen to. But somehow, Kollias has managed to stay on top of the drumming totem pole, releasing two “Intense Metal Drumming” Instructional videos.

Life and career

george kollias
george kollias

George Kollias was born in Corinth and started playing drums at the age of 12. He is a self-taught drummer who has progressed through different skill levels, working on a wide range of songs from renowned bans like Sepultura and Slayer. Over the years, Kollias has grown to be one of the most influential drummers in the world.

He taught drum lessons with Greek drummer Yanis Stavroulo, who was his role model. Great drummers like Lars Ulrich, Richard Christy, Paul Bostaph, and Pete Sandoval complete the list of his greatest inspiration.

Kollias has always been seen as a drummer who tries out different things. It is no wonder that every piece he has worked on has a unique feel to it. He later diverted his taste from the aforementioned drummers to different styles like Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, and Steve Gadd.

A drummer is often known by the groups he has played for. And in this case, Kollias played for groups like Sickening Horror, a death metal band, and the Greek melodic death metal band Nightfall.

Kollias is not only a drummer but an influencer too. He likes sharing his skills with others, and that is one reason he has grown into such a great drum player. He made a drumming instructional DVD called Intense Metal Drumming (2008). It is one of the most detailed instructional videos available on the market to this day. 

Playing style

sony dsc
George Kolias Drum Sets

Kollias has developed a unique playing style, a foot technique: heel up and heel down. In this approach, his heels remain close to the bases of the pedals, but it does not touch the pedalboard. All the weight on his legs falls on the ball of his feet.

When playing slower patterns, his legs do most of the “kicking” movement, shifting up as it follows the pedal. As he picks up speed, the heels of his feet start moving less and less. At the highest speed, all the movement of the pedals emerges from the ankles.

He then changes to the swivel technique, where he uses his feet in counting the beats he has hit. He moves his ankle to the right of the pedal and then swings them to the other side.

This, he says, is where the extra energy is wasted when the legs work unnecessarily hard. It is no question Kollias will remain one of the most prominent drummers in the history of metal drumming.

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