Chris Adler: New Rules Of Metal

Live Lamb

Out of the confines of the studio and onto the stage, of course, is when the best parts happen for Lamb Of God. “When we’re writing stuff it’s almost a scientific process, but once it becomes the live animal that it is, it’s unbelievable,” says Adler. “When we get onstage and lock into that tune, it’s really something that couldn’t be done by another group of five guys.

“The sets are absolutely physically demanding. On the stadium tour we’re doing now, the time slot is 50 minutes, and that’s not bad. But on our headliner, going 75 minutes at the speed of what we’re doing is very exhausting. When you’re playing live, it’s not like playing in the studio space: there’s a lot of adrenaline. It’s all in the method of pushing yourself: I know if I didn’t play drums, I’d be a real fat guy.”

Phat Chance

The way Lamb Of God is going, Chris Adler and his amazing services are going to be keeping him in shape for quite some time. Even as he looks out on stadiums from his drum riser, you can expect him to keep his unassuming aspirations in place. “The main thing in drumming isn’t how fast you are or the fill you can do,” he reflects. “It’s about style, making it interesting for yourself and different from what the next guy would do. I don’t want to be anyone else but me.

“In general, we’re a pretty simple band. We’re really the garage band: put the mikes on the instruments and that’s as good as we’re going to get. That, in itself, in the market is kind of refreshing. It’s been a while since five drinking buddies got together and did what we were doing without any makeup or any of that stuff. So far so good, right?”

Chris Adler Tears Apart “Laid To Rest”

Lamb Of God’s latest release, Ashes Of The Wake, has loads of slamming metal drumming courtesy of Chris Adler, who doesn’t just run a marathon on his bass drums; but plays syncopated and interactive grooves that reinforce the guitar riffs. His playing can throw you off at times, as illustrated on the song “Laid To Rest.” The transcription starts with a double bass ruff and crash cymbal accents that punctuate the guitar rhythm’s triplet feel. After the descending triplet tom fill, things get weird. It sounds like there’s a metric modulation or a tempo change, but there isn’t. It’s just Adler playing with our minds. By playing four kick notes and a snare you may be tricked into thinking the rhythm is 1 e & ah 2, but it’s actually a triplet based rhythm of 1 & ah 2 & - 3 & ah 4 &. On top of this, Adler alternately punishes his China and hi-hat. A four-note bass drum ruff kicks off the second bar of this two-measure cycle. He adds a snare downbeat every other bar just because it sounds cool. After the driving double bass pattern underpinning the spoken word section, the transcription skips further into the song to the rhythm break, which Adler tattoos on his snare. Following the 5/4 bar, Adler orchestrates a subtly different rhythm onto his kick drums, punctuated by his irregular snare hits.

DRUM! Notation Guide

Adler’s Arsenal

Drums: Mapex Orion

  • 1. 22" x 18" Bass Drum
  • 2. 12" x 5 1/2" Snare
  • 3. 10" x 9" Tom
  • 4. 12" x 9" Tom
  • 5. 16" x 16" Floor Tom
  • 6. 18" x 16" Floor Tom

Cymbals: Meinl

  • A. 14" Generation X Filter China
  • B. 8" Classics Bell Medium
  • C. 14" Byzance Medium Hi-hats
  • D. 8" Byzance Splash
  • E. 14" Soundcaster Medium Crash
  • F. 16" Amun Thin Crash
  • G. 18" Byzance Medium Crash
  • H. 22" Byzance Heavy Ride
  • I. 16" Byzance China
  • J. 18" Generation X Signal Crash

Chris Adler also uses Pro-Mark sticks, Aquarian heads, Gibraltar rack, Mapex hardware, and Axis pedals.

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