Richmond, Virginia-based metallers LAMB OF GOD will release their new, self-titled album, on May 8 via Epic Records in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Records in Europe. The follow-up to 2015's "VII: Sturm Und Drang" marks LAMB OF GOD's first recordings with Art Cruz, who joined the band last year as the replacement for the group's founding drummer, Chris Adler.
In the latest trailer for "Lamb Of God", guitarist Mark Morton spoke about how Cruz fared in his first recording session with his new bandmates. He said (see video below): "He's been with us now for almost two years. He'd been playing with us for a year, a year and a half before he was officially made a member. So in that sense, he was already here. We've all known him for years. He came in originally to fill in for Chris, who was unable to keep up with what we were doing tour-wise and with the obligations that we had. Things worked out like they did, but Art was already there, and he was doing a great job. So he became an official member. The writing process was great. He was in the band."
Mark continued: "It reminded me of how exciting what we get to do really is. To see Art have these experiences at this level for the first time and see how enthusiastic and thrilled he is about it, it kind of makes it new for me in a way too. I can see the excitement and the curiosity and just how mesmerized he is by some of the process. Not that he's completely green, but just at this level, he was really excited to be in the situations we were, so it was really fun to watch and be a part of. And, of course, he absolutely slayed it on the drums, so that was a thrill for me to watch as well."
Cruz filled in for Adler on several LAMB OF GOD tours in the past couple of years before being named Chris's official replacement last July.
When Adler's absence from LAMB OF GOD's summer 2018 tour was first announced, he released a statement saying that he had been undergoing physical and occupational therapy for injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident in late 2017. Chris later said that he was "unwilling to paint by numbers," explaining in an interview: "I had a dream when I was 14 years old, and I've been very fortunate to go around the world several times, and we've played the arenas, we've had the headline slots, we've kind of done everything there is to do, and I just don't really feel the need to continue to do it and miss time from my family."
In January 2019, Art was asked by American Musical Supply what it has been like making a transition between playing his own drum parts to reproducing somebody else's material. He responded: "Chris is my buddy, so to be sitting in his place while he situates his stuff, it's been tough, because it's my favorite band ever — that was my dream to even be up next to them. But it's been a little bit of challenge, because it's big shoes to fill. But I'm having fun with it, the band is having fun with it, and it's been great — it's been phenomenal."
Art went on to say that he didn't have to alter his playing style in order to accommodate LAMB OF GOD's music. "I've been looking up to the band, like I said, since day one, so they inspired me from the get-go," he said. "So I didn't have to change too much. I think I had to focus a little bit more. 'Cause I'm usually just kind of whaling. But I would say it's a little bit more focused and intense. Especially when there's, like, fifty thousand people staring at you, in relation to two thousand or five hundred."
Cruz made his live debut with LAMB OF GOD in July 2018 in Gilford, New Hampshire.