Pete Sandoval, Innovation, Power and Speed in Drums

Born May 21, 1964, Pedro Rigoberto “Pete” Sandoval is an American death metal drummer from Salvador. Many know him as the father of the blast beat.

That is his signature style, and it’s something that has been with him throughout his career. When talking about Pete Sandoval, many will be quick to recognize him for his innovative approach to metal drumming.

Pete Sandoval
Pete Sandoval

A lot of metal drumming is about speed, but there are very few drummers who can achieve the highest speeds while implementing creativity within the band. Sandoval is a drummer who is known as one of the fastest drummers of all time.

Sandoval’s kit consists of Sabian cymbals, and Evans heads. He is one drummer who knows the importance of picking a suitable kit, and goes the extra mile to find a setup that blends perfectly with his playing style.

He started playing drums at an early age and grew to fame quite fast. His most significant performance as a drummer came when he was with the grindstone band Terrorizer in 1986.

During his tenure with the group, the drummer began displaying his talent and skillset. He was heavily influenced by grind-core music which was all around him. He quickly developed his skills as a drummer, although he had no formal training or musical education.

It is correct in saying Pete is a self-taught drummer who has grown to become one of the biggest stars in the drumming industry. Concurrently, his and his guitarist Jesse Pintado left to join Napalm Death.

In Morbid Angel was Sandoval’s first time to use two bass drums. But the interesting transition wasn’t too big of a problem because he was always a quick learner who took his time to learn and perfect his craft. And this go-around with Morbid Angel he spent much more time and effort in his practice so he could increase his foot and hand speed around the kit. It was because of his hard work that he was able to record the Altars of Madness album within just a few months after joining the band.

Morbid Angel guitarist Trey Azagthoth commended Sandoval for his dedication and energy. According to him, Sandoval would always exclaim, “Time to get back to work!” immediately after waking up.

Mastering the double bass drum was only the start of what he intended to do. He incorporated the style of the World Downfall album by the Terrorizer. 

Pete Sandoval Performing
pete sandoval performing

Sandoval was a gutted drummer, always looking to be the best. The band once played a trick on him by using a preprogrammed drum machine on a recorded song, pretending it was a real drummer. They told him it was a drummer who could play faster than him.

That was all the motivation Sandoval needed. He went on to practice until he could play faster than the drum machine. But that might have cost him his health as he had to undergo surgery to repair a prolapsed disc. Playing would then become so painful that he had to leave the band to be replaced by Tim Yeung.

As a drummer, Sandoval will always remain a great motivation to the world of metal music. He has continued to have a long-lasting relationship with his fellow band members.

What do you think?

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Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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