Catching Up With…

Chris Adler

No one came out of Lamb of God’s 2013 legal tribulations unscathed. But the band and its drummer seem hell-bent on proving their survival skills.

In July 2015, Lamb of God released its seventh full-length album, VII: Sturm und Drang. But the uncertainty that preceded regrouping to write new material could have easily led to the band’s demise.

During a much-needed respite in the wake of tragedy and very real trials, detailed in Adler’s March 2013 MD cover story, the group decided to take some time off. “Even though it had been financially difficult to get through that process—none of us were set up to take extended time off—we needed to stop for a little while to reconnect with our families and realize what’s really important in our lives,” Adler says.

When the time came to reconvene, there was an air of finality hovering, along with the fragile process of determining whether or not the band members felt they had anything left to say. “On previous albums,” Adler explains, “the thought process going in was always, ‘Let’s go for a more thrashy sound this time,’ or ‘Let’s write faster songs,’ or ‘Let’s have better production.’ This time, the question we asked ourselves was, ‘Are we still good enough to put out something relevant?’”

Sturm und Drang is an intense listening experience, the most profound musical and lyrical statement to date for Lamb of God. The emotional wear and tear the band experienced created a shared connection that translated to the music. “This album came from a totally different mindset,” Adler says. “It was the first time everyone came into the process unselfishly. It’s odd—when you stop trying so hard to do something a certain way and just approach it naturally with pure intention, the result is far more cohesive.”

Adler also recorded drums for the upcoming Megadeth album, and he’ll be touring with both bands for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016. “We’re working out our touring schedules now so that I can attempt to be full-time in both bands,” the drummer says. “Luckily everyone’s friends, and maybe we’ll do some touring together.”

Musically, the two groups are quite different in their approach. “It was important for me to know my place and not try to be a superhero on the record,” Adler says of his experience with Megadeth. “However, I think there’s a reason [leader] Dave Mustaine called me, so it would be irresponsible to try to eliminate every part of my personality on the drums. I knew my signature snare would be a little bit piercing or higher pitched compared to what they’re used to hearing, so I was willing to use deeper or bigger snares. When it came to fills, a lot of my typical tool-belt stuff is to pull out splash cymbals and little accent things. That was new to Dave, and he didn’t really know how to process it at first. In the end, Dave dug a lot of it, so it was cool to be able to throw some of my style in and add something new to Megadeth’s sound.” David Ciauro