The “drums” are an acoustic set of instruments, one of the most overlooked fact today. The thing with acoustic instruments is that the harder you hit the more tone and meat you get out of the set. This makes you sound completely different than the drummer that just played before you and works especially well when the sound guy has compressors enabled through his mixer/units on the kit. That is something which isn’t in our hands … especially when we do live gigs and shows. What we could do is to inculcate certain skills which make us more vibrant.
An added bonus that comes with putting some muscle in those hits when playing live is that with an increased output from the drums, the volumes of all the other instruments has to be raised, giving your band a larger overall sound and thus, more jerking heads/moshes/horrified females in the crowd.
Another thing i would like to talk about is building on the intensity of kicks. The ankle technique is primarily used for very high tempos and thus lacks intensity. On the other hand, the calf muscle technique (I have no idea what it’s called…Basically using the entire leg) is what one should use for moderate tempos (anywhere from 140 to 170). Starting out, one should only focus on building the calf rather than speed. A very common affair with speed crazy drummers is that in order to play faster, they start off with the ankle technique without building on the calf muscle. So even though they pull off beats with continuous kicks at 200bpm, when it comes to moderate tempos their kicks are weak and inconsistent because they stick to the ankle technique. It is all in short the implication of the famous proverb,” slow and steady wins the race”.
All things apart, what matters most in drumming is confidence. Know that the kit is your baby and the stage is your playground. It is your job to drive the band, and to bring it together when the guitar player fucks up. A confident drummer is a confident band. So hit those skins hard.
[P.S. my views apply only to metal. I play for a Delhi based metal band called Jehovah.]