The genesis of an extraordinary drum.
What must come together for creativity to emerge? Is everything simply coincidental or predetermined, or is there a special magic in ideas and their execution? In the case of Metal Drum Power all of these were probably in play.
The main initiator of innovative and lasting products is in this particular case the engineer, Martin Piroth, the owner and manager of M&P Thermische Spritz- und Oberflächentechnik GmbH (Thermal Spray and Surface Technology), Kirchhundem (Germany). The company manufactures every conceivable machine component from stainless steel. A defining characteristic of M&P GmbH is the manufacture of barrel bands and sleeves for gasket systems. These parts are sealed with a thermal spray coating which increases their operational life 80-fold.
Martin Piroth is also a hobby percussionist und has drummed for about 25 years. At some point he saw a YouTube video of the “Groove Solo” from Zoro, who is known internationally as the “Minister of Groove”. Zoro played, among others, a relatively large floor tom of about 18”, and it pleased Martin so much that he also wanted to play such a giant tom. Martin just had a „Yamaha Recording” from the 80s, and they were no longer being manufactured. Besides that, Martin found that premium drums of that size were not affordable, and the style and colour options did not match his kit.
At that time M&P GmbH was producing large barrel bands with a diameter of 480 – 520mm and a depth of 350mm. As Martin Piroth stood before the huge barrel bands one day, the 18” floor tom came to mind and it immediately happened. He decided to manufacture the 18“ shells himself, and furthermore from a forged ring of stainless steel, just like the thousands of barrel bands that they had already manufactured.
The first brute of a drum came a short time later. Over the weekend, Martin machined and finished the shell himself. Immediately at the beginning of the week the coating was applied, and the creation was cut on the grinder. Everyone was very excited to find out how the piece sounded. Would it have a beautiful tone or would it just be revealed to have been a pipe dream? After the coating was cut, sealed and polished, the whole piece was completed by fastening the tension lugs. The drum was mounted and the drum head stretched over. And so, there it stood: big, beautifully shiny, with the black hardware matching the coating beautifully. The look of this drum really is the bomb. The employees of M&P GmbH were immediately captivated. Well then, how does it sound, this 40-odd kilogram stainless steel shell? In any case, the walls, 9mm thick and about 16.5” (425mm) long, certainly make a more than strong impression.
The mallets, 35mm in diameter and light, were not too firmly struck. Sensational sound, no-one had expected that: a warm, soft, gentle force that gave a hint of the size of the shell. The drum heads don’t vibrate too long and the sustain is nice and short.
Then again with a bit of a swing, a real smack with the mallet. Wow, the shell produces very steady sound pressure. Loud and deep, really very deep and warm and the sound dies off very quickly again. Exactly as it should be! Without long tuning and additional vibration dampers. A wave of sound that delights right to the core. Powerful, precise, not overbearing, simply beautiful. One wants to keep going back to hear and feel it again and be able to relive the touch of the sustain.
Yes, exactly as it should sound. Indeed, a complete success! Why did Martin not think of this sooner?
And so the story began to take shape. Shells of sizes 8“, 10“, 12“, 13“, 14“, 16“ and 20“ were immediately planned and manufactured. Shortly thereafter the first kit was ready and just begging to be played. Nevertheless, „correct“ holders were required, that could safely position and hold the heavyweights. Once again there was designing and planning. From that came extremely robust and vivid holder systems with unlimited set-up possibilities. Similarly, a stable rack was produced from stainless steel pipes, which could take the weight without fuss and looked great, too. Special load-bearing feet were designed, and, it is important to mention, the assembly for the foot pedals. This can be very easily attached to the shell-mount. This has the huge advantage that the foot pedals are not attached to the tensioning ring like normal. It had troubled Martin Piroth for a long time that in some cases the tensioning rings are degraded and in other cases it is just awkward to fix the pedals to the drum. Here every technically minded person is gobsmacked, something like this can’t be. The carefully pretensioned skin is then unevenly degraded and can no longer generate the correct sound. With the new design that simply cannot happen.
By the way: the tom mounts are completely encased in rubber!
Then came the next question: how do I transport this goliath? The snare drums and tom-toms can be carried without trouble as they only weigh between 8 and 17kg. But the bass drum, with its shell of up to 50kg, is obviously much heavier. For this a steady flight case is needed with wheels modelled on and built like a handcart. With that the bass drum can be easily transported anywhere, and even steps are no obstacle. For loading and unloading the drums to and from the flight case you need someone to give you a quick hand. Bassists are especially suited to this, as they are used to combos with 15” and 18” and they have a heart for the big stuff.
It is important to note that thereafter came optimisations of the prototypes which also brought simplifications. Accordingly, the shells were no longer made to be so massive. Narrower drum shells suffice. In any case, the walls must not fall under 5 to 6mm, otherwise they sound too ordinary, and there is already more than enough ordinary in the world. We shouldn’t make our spoiled ears endure that!
The new kit was then played for a group of friends, and brought the same sort of eagerness due to the special sound, the extraordinary style and the quality. Again and again, Martin was asked, indeed begged, to offer more and more kits for sale.
So, why not?! In 2017 Martin Piroth founded the company Metal Drum Power. With that we arrived in the present, which is not the end of this wonderful story, rather a new chapter.
The market launch of Metal Drum Power makes available hand-finished stainless steel drums of the highest quality and craftmanship, a unique sound characteristic, and unsurpassed durability. Accordingly, these wonderful drums have earned their model name „eternity“. They were presented to the industry and the public for the first time at the Metal Drum Power stand A65 as “Drums” in Hall 9 of the Musik Trade Fair 2018 (Musik Messe) in Frankfurt am Main from 11 April 2018 to 14 April 2018.