AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows spoke to U.K.'s Kerrang! magazine about three of the songs that will appear on the band's sixth studio album, "Hail To The King", due on August 27.
The new disc was once again produced by Mike Elizondo and is the first to be wholly written without drummer and key songwriter James "The Rev" Sullivan, who died in December 2009. Sullivan has since been replaced by Arin Ilejay, a former member of CONFIDE.
"Shepherd Of Fire"
M. Shadows: "This is the very first song. If you just listen to the music, it feels you've been taken down to Hell. From the riffs, to the bells ringing, to the horns, to the drumbeat, it feels like you've been dragged down. It's very like [THE ROLLING STONES'] 'Sympathy For The Devil', in that there's a silver-tongued Devil speaking to you. He's not all about fire and brimstone; he's luring you down and telling you he can make your life better than the guy above. There's a temptation vibe to it, with pure chaos going on behind it."
M. Shadows: "We wanted to make an evil requiem instead of all those ones about, 'Oh Lord, save me.' This one is about the dark lord coming to save you and resurrecting Hell to do it. It's a crazy, out-of-control piece of music with orchestras, strings and all sorts of madness. Then there are other experiences on the album — I take stuff that happens down at our local, Johnny's Bar, and I blow it out of proportion to make a song out of it."
M. Shadows: "This song is an intergalactic Darth Vader-type thing — it's like the Imperial March with horns and a pure metal attack. There's another song called 'Acid Rain', which follows on from 'Planets'. It's the love story of what happens after the planets collide and you get cast into space with your loved one to die. So there are a bunch of dark, crazy stories that are really all over the place, but which are definitely metal."
Asked what fans can expect from the follow-up to 2010's "Nightmare", AVENGED SEVENFOLD guitarist Synyster Gates told Revolver magazine: "I think our songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds. Sonically, this record is our biggest record by fucking far. When you turn this fucking thing on, it blasts your fucking head off."
Regarding how Arin did during the recording sessions for the new album, Gates said: "He came in fucking hot and tore us a new asshole. It was really, really cool. He has impeccable groove, which we've always known. But what I don't think we knew is his proclivity for taste. He is one of the most tasteful drummers I've ever heard in my life. He got that caveman, fucking barbaric huge groove philosophy that we were trying to go for on this record. He really got it in his heart and soul. We definitely had to work with him on it. On the first day of recording, I think everybody was getting to him, so he started overplaying and trying to show his stuff a little bit more. And we said, 'Dude, you've just got to lay back and do what we've been talking about for the last fucking nine months.' And he came in the next day and just blew everybody's mind.
"Originally, we thought that maybe we'd have to write the drum parts. M. Shadows [vocals] and I play a lot of drums. I've been playing drums since I was 16. And Jimmy had given me a fucking thousand lessons if he's given me one. We're not great or anything like that, but we definitely understand the drums and are huge fans. We thought that we maybe were going to have to arrange all of these songs, especially on day one. But when he came in on day two, it was just so refreshing. Everybody had goose bumps and we were just looking at each other like, 'Holy shit, this kid's a monster.'"
AVENGED SEVENFOLD will celebrate the album release by playing a free show at the Hollywood Palladium on August 26.