AVENGED SEVENFOLD frontman M. Shadows spoke to Revolver magazine about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's next studio album, saying that "there's about six songs, whole song ideas that I'm 100% happy with. There's a lot of other ideas and if those pieces find their place in other songs that could be… Let's just put it this way, a million ideas and six solid songs."
The new disc is the first that AVENGED is writing without drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan, who died in December 2009.
Asked what it has been like working with former CONFIDE member Arin Ilejay on the upcoming CD, Shadows said, "It's been good, man! It's been cool. A lot of it's been us refreshing him on what our influences are and where we're coming from as a band. There's a lot of things that he was never brought up on that we have to quickly get him acquired to such as PANTERA and METALLICA and SLAYER and MEGADETH and we're introducing him to these records that were literally the biggest records when we were growing up. Just records that you have to know. He's much younger and he grew up listening to AVENGED SEVENFOLD and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, ya know? So it's a completely different generation and it makes me feel old to even talk about it. Right now, we're handing him [PANTERA's] 'Far Beyond Driven' and [METALLICA's] 'Master Of Puppets' and saying, 'Learn these albums. You need to learn these things,' because when we're talking about 'groove metal,' we're not talking about some Warped Tour band. We're talking about fucking PANTERA! We're talking about BLACK SABBATH, ya know? So we're getting him acquired to that and I think he's learning really quickly what we're looking for. We're not looking for an overly technically proficient drummer. We're looking for a guy that knows how to fit the song and be in the groove and play the right thing in the right moment. It's been cool. It's been good. He's been doing really, really well."
Shadows continued, "I think [Arin] was blown away by the simplicity of 'The Black Album' and what Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] does. How it's just so catchy, but so simple. What Lars is doing in there, just even his snare hits, it's almost music in itself because it's as catchy as guitar riffs. You take a little bit of that and you take a little bit of what [PANTERA drummer] Vinnie Paul is doing in his style of kick-drum patterns and all that stuff and the groove, that he's not overplaying stuff, but when he does come out of his little pocket, it's perfect. It's things like that that you see he's kind of reacting to. He gets it. But he hasn't really acquired that because a lot of modern-age metal is a lot of double kick and a lot of aggressive, overplayed drums, and a lot of times they forget about the groove. We're trying to get him on the plain of 'Hey dude, we're not trying to impress people with our playing abilities. We're trying to write the best songs possible.' He's getting there. I think that takes a lot of maturity especially for a guy his age. When we were his age, we just wanted to shred. So he's doing well. He's growing up fast."