Metal is a popular genre, especially among YouTube guitarists. Maybe you’re one such guitarist, maybe you’re a bassist thinking about getting into the genre.
Regardless of intent, there is one thing we all have in common – without those heavy, aggressive, brash, hard-hitting, pounding drumbeats, our heavy riffs simply aren’t going to hit the listener as hard as they possibly could.
So, in this guide, we look at the best free metal drum sample pack and loops, along with several other free packs that should complement your workflow.
Kicks Pack by THE METAL KICK DRUM
The Kicks Pack comes with seven samples in 48 kHz and 24-bit WAVs, TCI, and GOG formats. It includes six hard hits per kick, so that means there are a total of 42 samples.
The samples are appropriately named Inferno, Darkness, Lust, Dying, Sorrow, Lethal, and Fate. This ought to give you some good variety in terms of essential metal kicks.
Download: THE METAL KICK DRUM
Snares Pack by THE METAL KICK DRUM
As with the Kicks Pack, the Snares Pack comes with 48 kHz and 24-bit WAVs, TCI, and GOG files.
SNARE01-BB14x6 features eight dynamic layers for a total of 48 samples.
SNARE02-YMCAN14x5.5 comes with eight dynamic layers plus side stick and rimshot variations for a total of 66 samples.
Finally, SNARE03-Brass 14×6 features six hard hits (six samples).
A very generous, quality offering.
Download: THE METAL KICK DRUM
Toms Pack by THE METAL KICK DRUM
THE METAL KICK DRUM’s Toms Pack also comes with samples in 48 kHz, 24-bit WAVs, TCI, and GOG formats with seven dynamic layers.
RACKTOM10 comes with 42 samples, RACKTOM12 with 42 samples, and RACKTOM16 with 42 samples, for a total of 126 samples.
Download: THE METAL KICK DRUM
252 free heavy metal drum samples by SampleRadar
SampleRadar’s 252 free heavy metal drum samples pack comes complete with acoustic and electronic beats with different tempos. A great library to help you build out your metal kits.
The royalty free samples are delivered as 24-bit WAV files in a ZIP file.
Slingerland Drum Samples by Indie Drums
Indie Drums’ Slingerland Drum Samples is a collection of 23 WAV samples using a Black Beauty snare and Sabian cymbals, recorded at 24-bit / 48 kHz.
These sounds are ideally suited to rock but are heavy enough to work for metal projects too.
Download: Indie Drums
1,000 free drum samples by SampleRadar
This collection features a variety of royalty-free files, including single hits, complete kits, and loops.
These files have been organized into three folders – Assorted Hits, Drum Kits, and Rex Loops. There are both acoustic and electronic sounds included.
All hits and kits are available in WAV format. I counted the total number of files, and it didn’t come out to over 1,000 as SampleRadar says, but rather 940. Of course, I could have made a mistake, but it’s close enough either way.
400+ FREE Acoustic Drum Samples by wavbvkery
The wavbvkery team approached Jon Sine with the idea of recording the Ludwig drum set in his office. Having gotten permission, they meticulously dragged each piece into the vocal booth and recorded multiple hits with a large-diaphragm condenser mic.
This drum kit, possibly from the 70s, offers a bit of a vintage vibe, making it ideal for rock, jazz, indie, and more.
Because the drum elements were captured with a single mono mic, the quality probably won’t compare to the most advanced drum libraries and plugins. But there are some good samples here, so these could come in very handy for beefing up your existing metal drum samples and adding another dimension to them.
The 100% royalty free collection comes with 29 kicks, 100 snares, three sticks, 29 high toms, 27 mid toms, seven low toms, 29 cowbells, 47 crashes, 105 hi-hats, and 54 rides.
There is a total of 445 44.1 kHz / 24-bit WAV files in this collection.
99 Drum Samples I by 99Sounds
99 Drum Samples I is available as a “pay what you want” product on Gumroad. This one’s got over 450,000 downloads!
This collection comes with royalty free drum sounds created from scratch. There’s a combination of sounds created from analog and digital synths, acoustic drums, drum machines, and even field recordings. The sounds were processed using effects and studio gear.
The sounds aren’t specific to metal – they’re mostly for electronic, dubstep, synthwave, lo-fi, and pop. That said, there was just so much love that went into these that we couldn’t help but feel they could be used for just about any genre.
While it’s no substitute for an acoustic kit, 99 Drum Samples I could be beneficial for the occasional intro or interlude section in your heavy music projects.
99 Drum Samples II by 99 Sounds
Much the same as the first, except now with 110 new royalty free drum sounds, all in a 24-bit WAV format.
Pay what you want.
Organic Drums & Foley Percussion by HelloSamples
If you think you might need something more than kick, snare, hi-hat, toms, and cymbals… If you think you might want to take your metal projects to new, experimental levels… Then we recommend checking out HelloSamples’ Organic Drums & Foley Percussion.
This collection was recorded in a small recording studio out in the woods. It includes all kinds of sounds you usually wouldn’t find in any collection – instruments, objects, and more.
There are a total of 352 sounds including a vintage custom drum kit, bay leaf sounds, broken tree branches, footstep textures, hunter gun fire (yes, real gun fire), and more.
You’ve even got vocal beatbox percussion, water drum sounds, crunchy broken glass, as well as pen and paper writing noises.
For raw, organic sounds, you’ll be hard pressed finding anything that compares in its scope, especially for free.
Organic Drums & Foley Percussion features 352 samples, 18 Ableton kits, 22 Maschine kits, and 18 MPC kits.
Drum Werks Free Drum Samples Trial Pack by Drum Werks
Drum Werks Free Drum Samples Trial Pack includes 500 MB of content – drum kits, snares, and kicks – including 730 24 / 44 stereo WAV files. The samples are royalty free.
The drum kits come from Drum Werks’ Bay Area Metal and Rock Kit 1 collection, so you know you’re in for a treat here. The streamlined kit includes kick, snare, toms, crash cymbals, hi-hats, and rides.
There are four snare drums with different tuning and recording configurations – two versions of the Ludwig Acrolite, Ludwig Supraphonic, and the Pearl Steve Ferrone maple snare.
There are also three kick drums with different tuning and recording configurations – Pearl BLX birch, Pearl MMX maple, and Pearl SMX maple.
Download: Drum Werks
Drum Samples by Judd Madden
Judd Madden offers up 118 free drum samples recorded on a well-used Dolphin kit.
The samples are all 32-bit WAVs with natural stereo mix and room reverb. You get access to kick, snare (on and off), hi-hats, three toms, three crashes, splash, China, and ride at different velocities and inflections.
The pack also comes with a convenient Alan Lee Sound Ableton Live drum rack.
The samples are royalty free, and you should be able to beef them up with processing.
Download: Judd Madden
Other Sources Of Free Drum Samples & Loops
If you’re looking for more, you might want to hit some of these sites up. Some of them offer sample packs. Many other offer individual files. Not all are metal oriented. Either way, these sources are worth adding to your bookmarks:
- Cymatics.fm: It’s unlikely you will find anything specifically metal or heavy rock oriented on Cymatics – most of it is for electronic music. That said, they are well-known for their free sample packs, and you might find some samples and loops to complement your metal projects.
- Drum Tracks: Home to over 200 full-length (three- to five-minute) drumbeats played by professional L.A. drummers including multiple sections, fills, and dynamic changes. There are no packs here, just one offs. But you can find beats for a variety of genres – pop, rock, funk, country, jazz, ballad, fusion, Latin, R&B, and of course metal.
- Free Drum Loops: There are some interesting and oddly specific odds and ends here. I don’t know how much value you’d get out of a bunch of rock drum fills (loops) in 136 BPM, for instance, but when you’re looking for something very precise, you might just find it here. There are some metal entries too (just search under the Rock category).
- Free Sample Packs: A site that curates the best sample packs available. There’s the odd chance you’ll find something here that we haven’t already dug up.
- LANDR: LANDR has got the occasional freebie (note: most of their sample packs are not free) that would be of interest to producers. They don’t have any free metal packs that we’re aware of, but as a more expansive resource, LANDR is well worth keeping an eye on.
- Looperman: With over 216,000 free audio loops, WAVs, samples, and sounds, we have a feeling you’ll enjoy browsing Looperman. They don’t have any packs that we’re aware of, but for those times when you need to find individual files to help with your projects, it’s a good resource to keep on tap.
- SoundsPacks.com: Home to plenty of free sample packs, drum kits, and presets. It’s a big site, so with a bit of looking you might be able to dig up something we haven’t already.
- You: Nothing’s stopping you from renting or borrowing a kit, so let’s not completely write off the possibility that you could also create your own metal drum sample and loop pack. Sure, it will either cost a bit of time, a bit of money, or both, but it would be a lot of fun, and you’d have some unique samples to work with.
Free Drums VST Plugins
If you’re open to playing beats on your MIDI controller or drawing them in / sequencing them in your DAW, then you’ll get a kick out of free drums VST plugins.
You’ve probably noticed, by now, that most were created for electronic genres, but there are still a few great sounding organic and acoustic kits out there. Here are some of our favorites:
- LABS – Drums: You can count on Spitfire Audio to deliver quality virtual instruments, and LABS – Drums is certainly no exception. The drums sound polished, realistic, and dynamic. You can hear some awesome weight in the snare and kick. No surprise, because this is what a kit sounds like when you use quality mics to record it. Since this was obviously created as a catch-all kit, you might need to push it a bit to get metal out of it, but I don’t think it would be beyond the scope of possibilities.
- MT Power Drum Kit 2: This one has been around for a while, but it’s easily one of the best sounding free drum VST plugins out there. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, this multi-layer drum sampler was created with pop, rock, and metal genres in mind. The built-in mixer makes it easy for you to adjust the volume, pan, and add compression to each channel. MT Power Drum Kit also comes with multiple grooves and fills in multiple styles, so you never need to build from scratch if you don’t want to. These and other great features make it a no brainer.
- SM Drums: Deeply sampled drums available for Kontakt, SFZ / Sforzando, and Reaper. The Reaper version comes with dry samples you can process however you want. And when they say, “deeply sampled,” they mean it. SM Drums comes with kick, snare, snare studio ring, three toms, hi-hat (closed, foot closed, foot open, loose, open), 17 and 20” ride and ride bell, and 15 and 17” crash, with up to 127 velocity layers and four round robins. It’s well worth a try!
Tips For Mixing Metal Drums
Obviously, when it comes to achieving punchy metal drums, it’s ideal to begin with sound sources that already have the qualities and characteristics you’re looking for.
But if you’re working primarily with free tools, this isn’t always a luxury you can afford!
So, you’ve got to find ways of adding some punch to your drums using effects chains and processing. This can take some time to master, admittedly, but it’s well worth the effort. As a producer, it’s something you should learn how to do anyway.
So, here are some tips for mixing punchy metal drums:
- Use samples. Okay, so you’re probably scratching you head at this one. The truth is, in the absence of a skilled drummer, in the perfect room, with the perfect analog and digital signal chain, with the perfect producer mixing, you’re usually better off using samples as opposed to real drums. Who knew? Samples offer an excellent starting point and cut down on the necessity to EQ endlessly in search of the ideal tone.
- Find sounds that fit the project. It’s easy to pick sounds willy-nilly and hope they work out. It’s much better if you’ve already got the guitar and bass parts at a workable stage already, because you can hear how a kick or snare sounds in context. Choose sounds based on the song, not just because they sound killer on their own.
- Add effects. Use subtractive EQ to remove unwanted frequencies and end up with a tighter sound. You probably won’t need to do much fiddling with solid samples. Use compression to add punch. Use clipping and/or limiting to fatten up the drums. Add some chamber reverb on the snare and toms.
Best Free Metal Drum Loops, Final Thoughts
How do you feel now? Are you ready to make some brutally heavy metal drumbeats? You should now have everything you need to make some insane drum parts, plus a few extras to beef them up.
If, for whatever reason, 3,300+ samples and loops just isn’t enough for you, then also check out the premium options. There are some good ones out there!
Above all, have fun.