Avenged Sevenfold: 'We Want to Be a Classic Band'

Drummer talks self-titled album in new interview

Ultimate Guitar

Avenged Sevenfold drummer Arin Ilejay has been speaking to Omaha.com about the classic rock sound on the band's new album. As Ilejay notes, part of that came from Avenged Sevenfold wanting to be a classic band: "It's an evolution of what the band wants. A lot of it had to do with growing up. At a young age, they wanted to show their interest, and their interest was deeply in hard-core. They had a bit of an awakening and said, 'Let's look back at our roots. What do we want to do? We really want to be heard everywhere, and we want to play everywhere.'

"So we asked, 'What do the greats do? What are the bands that are still touring today that we loved as kids?' And those are bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden. Avenged Sevenfold wants to be a classic band, and we wanted to make a classic record that really explodes." He also noted that the band's extensive use of pyrotechnics often means that the rest of the band are scared to come near his drum kit: "In the beginning, the guys wouldn't come up near my drum set. Between me and the rest of the stage and the guys, there's these grates on the ground that has fires shooting up like 10 feet in the air. They're walls of fire. For a time, the guys didn't even feel comfortable coming up near my drum set. They didn't want to get toasted.

"We even have a red light-green light on the side of the stage. Red light means, 'Don't go up towards my kit.'"

62 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Trivium got more shit for making an album that "sounds like metallica" than these guys do for saying "we want to be metallica"
    link no1
    I still don't see so much resemblance with 'The Crusade' and Metallica, not enough to say that the album 'sounds like metallica'. On another note, speaking in terms of career and not actual sound, I don't see why wanting to be Metallica is really a bad thing for any band to want to aspire to. They are the biggest selling metal act, one of the biggest selling artists in all music, they are one of the key bands for the development of an entire genre of metal, they have influenced countless musicians and are at a stage in their career where they can do literally whatever they want without having to worry about money or losing some fans because they have more than enough of both things to not worry about either. But yet, wanting to be like that is a bad thing?
    Avenged Sevenfold is doing pretty good if that's their dream. They're just trying a little too hard, that's all, it should ideally come a little more naturally. The bands they referred to never set out trying to be a classic band--you never heard Metallica or Iron Maiden saying their goal was to be a big-name band. They just made the music they loved, and other people happened to like it. ...though, if all they really want is to be liked by metalheads, they should just keep putting out stuff along the lines of City of Evil and their self-titled record. Overall, I like what they're doing, though.
    Metallica did wanted to be the biggest band, James says some stuff like that on the Black Album videos.
    +1 for they trying too hard part. They need to stick to their own sound if they want to be known as a classic band. If they keep going in the direction of Hail to the King and try to emulate the sound of the classic bands of yesteryear then they'll just start to fade away.
    Just because you never heard them saying it, doesn't mean they didn't say it. Nearly every musician starts playing because they're influenced by another. Name me a musician who wanted to not be remembered as a musician.
    I am a huge Avenged fan, but I rarely find myself listening to the new album, and when I do it's only select tracks. It has one of the worst traits an album can have...it's just kind of boring. Coming Home is great though, love that song.
    I like how one track sounds almost exactly like Sad but True and instantly people think the entire album becomes the Black Album. They used a church bell in the opening track. Therefore, that song is definitely For Whom the Bell Tolls. It's just ridiculous. On that note, has no one ever heard of inspiration before? Clearly A7X is inspired by Metallica. There's much worse cases of "plagiarism". Godsmack essentially stole Nine Inch Nail's song Last for Time Bomb and the main riff in Keep Away is almost note-for-note Filter's Hey Man, Nice Shot.
    "and we wanted to make a classic record that really explodes." Congratulations, guys. Your new album surely blows!
    No it doesn't. The album has excellent guitar work, lyrics, and a refreshing new vibe. It is a poor metal album, but it is an excellent rock album and a very creative endeavor. Just because it isn't as "metal" as their other stuff doesn't mean it's bad. It's way better than most of the other shit that is out there today in terms of mainstream rock.
    You're probably one of those people who thinks the words 'Bad' and 'Different' mean the same thing
    Lol Natures
    Sorry, it's too late for you guys. The popular opinion is that Avenged Sevenfold suck. People never hear a single song, but someone else said they suck, so they suck. I don't like their music, but I feel bad for them. They want to be Metallica, but there's not going to be another Metallica.
    Darth Crow
    You just can't be a classic band if you write generic songs, guys. Granted, they have the potential to be unique, but the don't use it.
    I can see that the popular opinion doesn't agree with Avenged Sevenfold. I do enjoy a lot of their songs, but not the ones they want people to like. They are the biggest young band at the moment, but listening to Avenged Sevenfold does not make you a connoisseur.
    A lot of people like to throw stones at this band through their computer screens, but if anybody went to the "Hail to the King" tour that just wrapped up, you'd realize that they're undeniably one of the biggest metal acts of our generation, and that this dream of being a "classic metal band" isn't that far off. The thing that boggles my mind is how a band that puts on a bigger stage show than Maiden, packs arenas, has #1 albums, and headlines festivals can get so largely ignored and hated by the mainstream. The band has the chops, the music, and the fanbase to become the classic metal band of our generation. Every single song they play at their shows gets thousands of people night after night singing along, moshing, shedding tears, etc. Their music speaks to the fans. Songs like "Unholy Confessions" "Afterlife" and "Beast and the Harlot" are downright modern metal classics. Like them or not, I think the dreams of this band becoming irrelevant by elitist metal heads probably won't come true anytime soon, since they've only been getting bigger and bigger with every new album and tour over the last ten years. And even if you hate the new material, albums like "Waking the Fallen" and "City of Evil" are incredibly strong pieces of work. Can't hate a band for dreaming right? If you were in their shoes, you'd probably be aspiring to do the same things. They know where they want their careers to go, and they're going to try and take it there. If they achieve it, good for them. If they don't, at least the peaked with a few #1 albums and consistent arena tours.
    I completely agree. I actuall enjoyed the new album. I just saw then in Las Vegas last Saturday, and it was by far one of the best metal shows I've ever seen.
    they won't become a classic band with names like Zakky Vengeance or Synyster Gates or a name such as Avenged Sevenfold.
    I'm sure people said the same about the names "Nikki Sixx" and "Mick Mars".
    No because that was in a time when having a stupid name was cool.
    ...And A7X has said from the very beginning that they are doing it in tribute to those bands... Avenged Sevenfold is just at a stage where they want to pay even more respect to the greats than they did. I really don't see what's wrong with that. They might not be as original as in the past, but they are still damn-fine musicians who can play like few others.
    Yeah, and Motley Crue isn't a classic band either.
    Maybe not classic in the sense of Led Zeppelin or ELO, but I think they have reached a status that will have people still talking about them in 20 years.
    Sir Stoney
    I know on UG Avenged gets a lot of hate, but I still respect if you don't like their music. You still can't deny they have talent. I can't even deny that their last album was awful, being a fan since City of Evil. I think they could be a classic band if they quit trying to do what their idols did to get that honor. Originality is key when trying to take that torch. (Music and composing wise) They just need to keep doing what they were doing before HTK. Maybe they will get there.
    Didn't really enjoy the new album; a lot of what was on there has already been done and 90% of the songs sounded like the black album...fine to have big ambitions, the band always have...but...ugh cba to write anymore
    There's nothing unusual about a band doing some soul-searching, growing up, and changing their direction a little. I respect A7X for their success so far. Someone said "They are trying too hard". That's a great description of what is going on here. They should just write from the heart and from the gut, and be true to themselves. For that they can go down in history as a good band...and that is quite an accomplishment.
    I can see why people like their music, and that they genuinely have talent. That's fine. What does annoy me, though, is their constant cries for relevancy. Don't push for it, don't keep screaming "let me be a legend", but instead, let it come to you. I get that they're goal-focussed, and that's a good thing to be, and that they have the potential to be a classic band. One of the things I believe is holding them back is this sort of statement. It's one thing to have that goal as a personal thing, and another to make it your public mission statement. These guys need to take a step back and re-evaluate their PR skills, so that they don't constantly cry for attention (in an obvious way, all PR is attention grabbing, but the best PR is subtle).
    I love the hate these guys get. like it or not avenged is doing it and are falling right in line with the metal greats. I dont understand what people want from this band, because you literally get everything. all u have to do is pick the album and u get a different experience every time. Avenged Sevenfold is THE band going right now.
    Actually bands like Wintersun, Ulcerate and Fleshgod are getting very popular AND dont get hate.
    so does anyone here actually read or do they just jump on the bandwagon?
    Actually, I listen to the music, then I form my own opinion based on what I've heard, and I've heard nothing good nor creative from this band.
    Well they sure as hell didn't put out a classic album. It was just generic, boring and uninteresting. Felt like it lacked depth or soul. I don't know it was missing something, and this is coming from someone who does listen to all kinds of metal from Metalcore, to Classic Metal, to Thrash, to Death Metal. I approached the album with an open mind, but I just can't enjoy it.
    Another article containing only a quote. How significant. Did it take more than one minute to copy and paste it onto UG?
    Metallica never wanted to be anybody but themselves however poorly their decisions are received by the public. Wannabe like Metallica? Be like your ****ing self.
    Sevenfold gained respect for ditching their metalcore sound for something unique that fused old-school grooves, modern embellishments, and some kickass unique vocals. Then they ditched it because...The Rev died and they wanted to ape Metallica instead of write as themselves? Doesn't make sense. These guys and their incessant 'We want to be Metallica, good PR, good PR' is grating on me now.
    I think the problem is that they wanna be someone else, they won't be the next Metallica because there is only one Metallica, instead of that they should focus on the type of music they want to develop and set a goal to make Avenged Sevenfold the next big name, now I'm not a big fan of them or Metallica but but I acknowledge both bands for what they are and I believe this is what any band that wants to make ir big should think, just and opinion
    Avenged Sevenfold will never be a "classic" band such as Metallica or Iron Maiden. End of story.
    self made buzz. they're pushing too hard to get recognition they've yet to earn, always talking about the industry made them the torch bearers, when actually no major figure of the "industry" said that. they're trying to create that statement just by saying it.