Orange County, California hard rockers AVENGED SEVENFOLD have tapped DREAM THEATER's Mike Portnoy to play on their forthcoming album following the recent passing of AVENGED SEVENFOLD drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan.Commented Portnoy: "Even under normal circumstances I would've been happy to help the guys out in any way I could, as I think AVENGED SEVENFOLD are a great band...but under these incredibly sad and tragic circumstances, I must say I am truly honored to have been asked to play with them... and I didn't even have to think twice about saying yes. "These guys are a true family and it is an incredibly emotional experience to be here with them for the first time without their lost brother. But they have welcomed me into the family with open arms and there's a real excitement to make the record they had set out to make... "I am treating my participation on this album with the utmost respect for Jimmy's memory and am remaining as true as possible to the drum parts that he wrote for the songs and the record he wanted to make. "I want their fans to realize that I'm not trying to step into or fill The Rev's shoes...I'm just merely lacing 'em up for him!" Sullivan was found dead at his Huntington Beach home on December 28. The Orange County coroner's office ordered "toxicology, microscopic and laboratory tests" to help determine why Sullivan died. Regarding their decision to ask Portnoy to be involved in the making of the new album, AVENGED SEVENFOLD said in a statement, "Jimmy helped leave this world an amazing gift and now it's our job to make sure to deliver that gift to our fans. "We asked Jimmy's all-time favorite drummer Mike Portnoy to record on behalf of him. Mike said it would be an honor and without question that's what Jim would have wanted. "It's comforting to us that someone like Mike, who is undoubtedly revered as one of the best drummers in the world, held such respect and adoration for the Rev's abilities. "Even though it will never be the same without our brother by our side, his essence lives in our hearts and through the music he helped create. He was a legend before any of the success or any of that bullshit and we are fucking excited to lay this down for our fans, and especially for Jimmy."