The new disc is the first that AVENGED is writing without drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan, who died in December 2009.
Speaking to U.K.’s Kerrang! magazine, Shadows explained, “I would say we’re about 60 to 70 percent through with the writing now. The hardest part of it was writing without The Rev around to add in the three or four songs he could be relied upon to take to the plate. We’ve settled on a direction in which this album should go, and we now have a clear idea about what it will sound like. To have that clarity about it is liberating.”
He continued, “I don’t know if I can say too much about it just now, but I can tell you what it’s not, which is almost as important. I look around now and I see a lot of heavy rock bands and metal bands getting into dustup and electronics and incorporating this new fashionable shit into their sound. That’s not us. We’re not interested in that. If anything, we’re going almost in the opposite direction by going even more old school. I mean, we’re going way back on this, to an album BLACK SABBATH-esque bluesy type thing, with some of the heaviest sounds we’ve ever made.”
According to M. Shadows, AVENGED SEVENFOLD is planning to complete the songwriting process for the new CD before the holidays and enter the studio in January — possibly once again with producer Mike Elizondo who helmed 2010′s “Nightmare” — to begin recording the album for an early summer release.
Asked what he sees as the challenge that lies ahead for AVENGED SEVENFOLD on the upcoming record, M. Shadows said, “Well, I think we’ve always had backlash with every record we put out. Probably no more so than when we put out ‘City Of Evil’. We’re always interested in evolving our sound and challenging ourselves creatively, but not everyone has been so wiling to see us develop. I think with ‘Nightmare’, a lot of people almost gave us a free ride and we did’t have the same kind of backlash because of Jimmy and everything, so I expect that it will be back to the old pattern this time. For me, it’s about just writing the best damn record we can. The challenge is doing it without an important part of the band being there to add his thoughts and ideas, not to mention songs. People are talking about doing this or that tour, playing this venue, talking to this station, getting the covers of that magazine, doing whatever with iTunes. For me, none of that matters if you don’t write good songs so it’s about getting the best material we have inside of us onto an album and all that other stuff will take care of itself. I have the utmost, absolute confidence that we will do that. We are doing it!”
In January 2011, AVENGED SEVENFOLD named former CONFIDE member Arin Ilejay as the band’s new touring drummer, replacing Mike Portnoy (ex-DREAM THEATER).
One the topic of what Arin‘s role has been in the songwriting process for the next CD, M. Shadows said, “He has been writing little fills and adding some touches here and there. he’s done his part when he’s needed. It’s cool and a little strange, because he’s younger than us, so he comes at it from a different perspective. Instead of growing up on [PANTERA's] ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ or thrash metal, he’s been influenced by The Rev and metalcore, so it’s provided a little outsider insight almost. He’s cool, though; he’s doing his bit. He makes me feel old as shit, though!”
A new AVENGED SEVENFOLD song entitled “Carry On” is featured on the soundtrack to the video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II”, which came out on November 13.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD previously contributed a song called “Not Ready To Die” to the content pack for “Call Of Duty: Black Ops”, the wildly successful seventh installment in the “Call Of Duty” video game series developed by Treyarch Studio and published by Activision.
In addition to contributing “Carry On” to the new Call Of Duty game, AVENGED SEVENFOLD also appears in the game’s closing credits.