AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows spoke to Pablo of the Minneapolis, Minnesota radio station 93X about the progress of the recording sessions for the band's long-awaited follow-up to 2016's "The Stage" album. He said (see video below): "We're working on stuff. We have pretty much 70 percent of the record done. We have some things we can't finish right now 'cause of COVID — string players, et cetera. We know Andy [Wallace, AVENGED SEVENFOLD's longtime mixer] doesn't wanna travel, or his management doesn't want him to travel because of COVID. So there's just a lot of things going on."
As for when fans can expect to see the new AVENGED SEVENFOLD LP released, M. Shadows said: "It doesn't make sense for us right now to put out a record and not be able to tour it. The world has changed. Putting out a record on Spotify without touring for a rock band, it just doesn't make sense to us. So we're gonna wait till everything is back, then we'll come out with the record, finish it up, and all will be good."
Earlier this month, AVENGED SEVENFOLD guitarist Zacky Vengeance told Detroit's WRIF radio station that he and his bandmates have done "lots and lots of writing — at a lot slower pacer than usual" — during the coronavirus pandemic. "Now that we are a little bit older, we move around a little bit slower, but [we've done] tons of writing," he said. "We've gone to the studio. It was kind of a weird time to do anything in 2020, but that's when we felt like it was a good time to go out there and start tracking all the stuff that we had in us.
"But, like I said, we're doing it at a slow pace, so we're still in the process of recording," he explained. "We're taking it really, really slow, making sure everything is the way we like it. We're not in a big rush to get anything out, mainly 'cause we wanna get on the road, and we wanna be able to bring it to life. We wanna tour, we wanna travel, we wanna play songs that people wanna hear; we wanna expose them to some new stuff. 'Cause I just feel like rushing to put something out right now and letting it dissipate because of the void, while people are worried about where their next meal is coming from or the paycheck, the last thing in the world on people's minds is, 'AVENGED SEVENFOLD's gonna put out a new album, and that's gonna be the saving grace for us all.' And I feel like we'll take it slow, let the world get a little bit back to normal, and when people are ready, we'll know — we have a good sense of that. We'll slowly finish it up, and then unleash it when the world's ready."
Last December, M. Shadows told Kerrang! magazine about the musical direction of the new AVENGED material: "The [new] record sounds nothing like 'The Stage' — it's a completely new direction, and it sounds nothing like anything we've done. That's all I'll say about it: it's over the top, and it's very eclectic and wild."
AVENGED SEVENFOLD kept a low profile during 2019 and will likely not return to the road until the end of this year or early 2022. A blood blister on M. Shadows's vocal cords forced the band to cancel a summer 2018 tour with PROPHETS OF RAGE and THREE DAYS GRACE.
Asked if he is fully healed up now, M. Shadows told 93X: "I feel good, man. I'm just working on a new technique so that I can make sure I don't have any problems anymore. For the last year, that's what I've been doing — is switching up a lot of things, singing from a different place, and just making sure that when I hit the stage again, I don't resort back to old bad habits."
"The Stage" was surprise-released in October 2016. The release of the disc, which was announced the night it went on sale, earned the lowest sales of an AVENGED SEVENFOLD album in 11 years. It sold 76 thousand copies in its first week, 73 thousand of which were physical.
"The Stage", AVENGED's debut for Capitol, sold less than half as many copies in its first week as the group's two previous efforts, 2010's "Nightmare" and 2013's "Hail To The King".