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.
During an appearance on Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton spoke about how Cruz fared in his first recording session with his new bandmates. He responded: "It's been a really awesome experience bringing Art into the fold and watching him find his place in all of this.
"We've done a lot of albums as LAMB OF GOD, we've been around for a number of years, and it's not that it becomes something you take for granted necessarily, but you become accustomed to the process and you become accustomed to the scope of things of working within a band like LAMB OF GOD," he continued. "For Art to come in and have it all be very fresh and very new and some of the experiences be sort of first-time things, at least on a level that he hasn't really operated at before, it's kind of a thrill to see him take that on and see him rise to the occasion and see him deliver like he has.
"He's such a phenomenal drummer," Mark added. "So that's been a real joy. And it's just been kind of a relief, I think, for us to get settled back in and kind of re-solidify where we are and what we're doing and start writing and feel really great about what we're doing creatively and really excited about throwing it out into the world."
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.
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.