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Avenged Sevenfold Singer M. Shadows: We’re Introducing New Drummer to Pantera + Metallica

Theo Wargo, Getty Images

There’s lots of activity in the Avenged Sevenfold camp right now. The band released the new song ‘Carry On’ for ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II,’ and the boys even make an appearance in the game, post-credits, as an animated A7X, playing the song. But most recently, word has come that the band is hard at work on a new album. In a new interview, frontman M. Shadows sheds a little light on the sonic focus of the band’s new album and how their new drummer is fitting in during the recording process.

The group’s new drummer, Arin Ilejay, is manning the kit on the upcoming album, something former Dream Theater skinsman Mike Portnoy did for ‘Nightmare’ after the band’s original drummer The Rev tragically passed away. Portnoy’s exit from his post as temporary touring drummer was a bit dramatic, but the band has moved on and is enjoying its experience with Ilejay pounding skins.

“A lot of it’s been us refreshing him on what our influences are and where we’re coming from as a band,” Shadows tells Revolver about how the process is coming along. “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?”

The band remedied Ilejay’s “newness” by handing him Pantera’s ‘Far Beyond Driven and Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ as required listening and homework. Shadows said that A7X told him, “‘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 f—ing 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.”

All in all, Shadows declared, “I wanna write a classic metal record, a classic rock record in 2013. So that’s our goal.”

Meanwhile, Shadows revealed to Revolver that the satellite radio channel Ozzy’s Boneyard factored into the writing of ‘Carry On’ for inclusion on the recently released ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ video game. Shadows and guitarist Synyster Gates were listening to the channel a lot when they got the call from the video game developers to do the song.

“They asked for something uplifting and uptempo,” the singer recalled. ‘We were like, ‘Dude, let’s do a song like if a modern band was gonna do something that was gonna be played on Boneyard.’ Like, very thrash but melodic, more thrash riffs with a more Maiden-type vocal. So we just had fun with it. We only had a couple days to put the song together.”

See Avenged Sevenfold as Characters in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops II'

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