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 last Thursday (February 27) on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" show, LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe was asked how Cruz fared in his first recording session with his new bandmates. He responded: "I think he did a fucking fantastic job. Art is a really solid drummer.
"It was interesting to watch him go through it, because writing a LAMB OF GOD record, even though it was pleasant this time, is generally not a pleasant experience to undergo; it's just not, because we are so fucking brutal on ourselves," he explained. "That's why it doesn't fucking matter to us, really, if a song comes out and a few people are, 'That sucks. I wish it sounded more like 'As The Palaces Burn',' or whatever. I don't give a fuck what you think, because we have put ourselves through absolute hell already to make this. We are our own worst critics by far — it's ridiculous how hard we are on ourselves. That being said, it doesn't make for a very pleasant writing and recording experience sometimes. And watching kind of step into this world… I'm sure he was nervous, because it's your first record with a band, and we are a 25-year established band with a large fanbase. I'm sure he was nervous, but he handled it — he did a really good job. It was definitely the longest time he'd ever had to record a record, 'cause he's recorded with PRONG, he's recorded with his other band, WINDS OF PLAGUE. And I think a lot of it was get in there, get it done, 'cause the budget isn't there for you to take all day. And I think he was a bit more directed by his bandmates in those other projects: 'We want you to do this. We want you to do that.' With this, we were, like, 'Okay, kid. Let's see what you've got.' And he just did a fantastic job."
Randy added: "It has that LAMB OF GOD sound. Because we are LAMB OF GOD; we're not trying to, all of a sudden, play polka beats or something. But definitely he adds his own flavor to it; there's a lot of different things he does differently, I guess, than our former drummer did. It's just different, and drum nerds will pick that apart."
Asked how LAMB OF GOD's split with Adler has been resolved, Blythe said: "The way it's been resolved is that Chris Adler is no longer in LAMB OF GOD — that's been publicly said — and Art Cruz is our new drummer. And that's about all we have to say about that."
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.