Pierre van der Linden - Drum Poetry album review

Music for pleasure by Focus’ esteemed drummer. But whose pleasure?

Pierre van der Linden - Drum Poetry album artwork

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This is a damn difficult album to review, not least because it can barely be described as music.

What we have here is a supremely self-indulgent offering by Focus drummer Pierre van Linden, who freely admits it was originally conceived for the sole pleasure – and I use the word advisedly – of family and friends. Why van der Linden now believes Drum Poetry deserves a wider audience is frankly baffling; even the most avid Focus fan will struggle to get to grips with this ear-boggling display of timpanic noodling. Van der Linden’s skill as a musician is beyond doubt; his playing approach is distinctly highbrow, not to say professorial, in the manner of Rush’s Neil Peart. On tracks such as Streams And Figures and Spiritual Swing he doesn’t so much play the drums as caress them; it’s more a case of tippetty-tap-swish-rumble than manic brainless tub-thumping. Van der Linden plainly revels in exploring the outer limits of the percussion universe; watching the late Cozy Powell play along to the 1812 Overture amid a barrage of pyro would likely be his worst nightmare. But given the choice of this and an album full of yodelling by Focus bandmate Thijs van Leer, I know which one I would prefer.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.