Chris Adler – “The making of Lamb of God New American
I started playing drums late in life. I played around with other instruments at an early age, to little avail. Drum tabulation instilled in me fear and incomprehension, followed by a deep desire for intoxicating liquor. The only thing I had to work with was an inescapable love of the percussive element of metal. Somehow, I just hear drums louder. Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler’s book, ‘The Making of Lamb of Gods New American Gospel’ is an insightful and humorous account of the creation of an iconic album, which addresses the limitations and struggles faced by a self-taught drummer.
‘The Making of New American Gospel’ explores the mentality of the prolific Chris Adler, known for his dexterous footwork and brutal, often experimental drumming style. He reflects on the inevitable frustrations of overcoming technique limitations and the chaotic, frenetic early days of touring and recording with Lamb of God. The book is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes narrative of the recording of New American Gospel, where the critical choices and decisions made by the band are reflected on with honesty and self-deprecating humour.
Adler describes the early days of Lamb of God; its initial formation under the name Burn the Priest, the decision to change the band name, line-up changes and the hours spent practising. He discusses the technical aspects of the music, and the intensely collaborative process of writing and producing the album. The style is clearly Adler’s, eshewing the use of a ghost writer and with the publication self-financed to ensure total quality control.
A huge difficulty for drummers, especially self-taught drummers with no music reading ability, is trying to decipher tabulation that bears no relation to the song in question. This is an inevitable result of the fact that tabs can be put on the internet without consulting the band for accuracy. ‘The Making of New American Gospel’ overcomes these problems by including notation and tabs which were self-published, written and transcribed for higher accuracy. The tab key and methodology for new players and non-music reading students is included, with the tablature transcribed by Adler himself with master technician Travis Orbin. A summary of the exact drum set up used during the recording process adds to the learning tour. Photos of Adler playing live and hanging out backstage add a level of intimacy to the book (look out for the hilarious exchange between Adler and Orbin via text message on the last page)
The songs 'Black Label,' 'A Warning,' 'In the Absence of the Sacred,' 'Letter to the Unborn,' 'the Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion' and 'the Black Dahlia' are broken down, from the
inspiration for the lyrics and concepts, to the elements of production and the eventual recording process. The real high point of the book is its accessibility to musicians and non-musicians alike. For lovers of Lamb of God or just lovers of blistering double kicks, this book is an inspired read.
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