Re: Mike Pourtnoy
Personally I think he's a basher playing complex music. His actual physical technique is pretty shocking, and to my ears he uses that whole 2xhands/2xfeet/4xhands/2xfeet stuff far too often. I also think the size of his kit is ludicrous for the musical results he gets, he could play the same kind of stuff on a kit a third of the size and still have plenty of room to move.
For that kind of stuff I'd vastly prefer to listen to Thomas Haake with Meshuggah (start with "Destroy Erase Improve") or something like Fredrik Thordendal's "Sol Niger Within" featuring Morgen Agren on drums.
But that's just me. I just reckon Portnoy kind of fits the profile his history would suggest - somebody who went to Berklee but never went to class.
EDIT: Ouch, that was a bit harsh. I'll be nicer. I do think Portnoy gets some impressive results, and his control over time is very good. He's quite a natural when it comes to playing stuff in odd groupings. His tone is also surprisingly good considering the fact that his hand technique looks like Dave Grohl's. But then, there's plenty of drummers who look hideous when they play but sound great - like Gary Husband. So yeah. I don't like his technique, the music isn't to my taste and I don't think he's quite as good as all the hype would suggest. But he's certainly a very solid player with some flashy chops.