Avenged Sevenfold Guitarist on New Record: 'It Blasts Your F--king Head Off'

"I think our songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds," says Synyster Gates.

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Avenged Sevenfold axeman Synyster Gates seemed rather excited as he recently discussed the upcoming album "Hail to the King," calling it the band's "biggest record by f--king far."

During a chat with Revolver, Gates also talked about drummer Arin Ilejay's studio debut with A7X, saying that he tore the group "a new a--hole."

"I think our songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds," he said. "Sonically, this record is our biggest record by fucking far. When you turn this fucking thing on, it blasts your fucking head off."

When asked about the drummer's input, Gates commented: "He came in f--king hot and tore us a new a--hole. It was really, really cool. He has impeccable groove, which we've always known. But what I don't think we knew is his proclivity for taste. He is one of the most tasteful drummers I've ever heard in my life. He's got that caveman, f--king barbaric huge groove philosophy that we were trying to go for on this record. He really got it in his heart and soul."

But Ilejay's playing wasn't impeccable from day one, as he initially had a few issues with fitting in. However, those proved to be nothing more but small bumps on the road.

"On the first day of recording, I think everybody was getting to him, so he started overplaying and trying to show his stuff a little bit more," Gates said. "And we said, 'Dude, you've just got to lay back and do what we've been talking about for the last f--king nine months.'"

The guitarist confessed thinking about writing the drum parts with M. Shadows at first, but added that on the second recording day, everything had changed.

"We thought that we maybe were going to have to arrange all of these songs, especially on day one. But when he came in on day two, it was just so refreshing. Everybody had goose bumps and we were just looking at each other like, 'Holy s--t, this kid's a monster.'"

As a follow-up to their 2010 chart-topper "Nightmare," "Hail to the King" is set to drop on August via Warner Bros. Records as the sixth studio effort in the group's catalogue.

126 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Braykah
    Wow, this writer has to be really fuc king confused with the f--king censoring.
    cemerson2012
    Lets edit it in the first paragraph, but not the second, then edit it again in the third... so much for censorship
    jordo246
    So Kim Kardashian is a better person than anyone here?
    sideslick
    Why is this still funny when the previous comment was deleted? I have no idea what you're replying to, but you still win!
    DimeBatteryDrrl
    people love to give this band a bad rep. these guys are incredible musicians and make some great stuff.
    Himynameisben95
    Everyone I know loves A7X (including me) but we always kind of joked that listening to them made us feel like 15 year old girls. I was disappointed when I saw all these people being so negative on the web.
    jonathanb2
    Well said. I'm stoked for this album and I'm ready to have my f--king head blasted off.
    thf24
    Definitely incredible musicians, no doubt. I've never quite been able to get into them though. It just seems like what they're trying to do just doesn't fit together right a lot of the time, and the vocals get on my nerves.
    BwareDWare94
    False. That was the easiest True or False question I've ever seen . On a more serious note, they're not bad, but they're not a band that should be worshiped, imo. They're good, but those who listen to other metal of this time period, be it other American bands or bands from overseas, know that they aren't a top metal band of their time. Are they probably the most popular? Yeah, but I'll keep listening to stuff like Dark Tranquillity and Heaven Shall Burn and be happy. As far as American stuff goes, I'll stick with Job For a Cowboy (their newer material, ala Ruination and Demonocracy) over bands like Avenged.
    sideslick
    Something with this exact same message has been gold for last few A7X articles... I'm gonna do it next time!
    biff022
    Edited for truth content... "people love to give this band a bad rep. these guys are incredible musicians and make some great"... tweenwave. This guys can sure play, but they have no taste. Grohl said something like "the guitar players are total shredders but their songs suck"... I have to agree. It's like if you never heard Metallica before you'd think this band was heavy. Their stuff is just so hackneyed and overdone... one of the most derivative bands out there. Lame.
    brndnstffrd
    Let me guess, the only reason that you agree with this is because Dave Grohl said it
    cheesyp00fs
    I'm just hoping for another City of Evil, that's all.
    jordo246
    Yeah let's hope the band loose any progress they've made in the last 8 years
    BwareDWare94
    lose* Loose is "not tight." Why do so many people not know the difference?
    vikkyvik
    Because there uneducated.
    BwareDWare94
    they're* There is "a place." Why do so many people not know the difference?
    vikkyvik
    Sigh....the lack of joke understanding is stupendouser..... Oh well.
    BwareDWare94
    A joke is funny. (and I caught it. I just thought I'd build on it some more) That wasn't. Why do so many people not know the difference?
    henrihell
    Pretty much Srsly though, the last two albums weren't as brilliant as CoE. I hope they would do another album like CoE, but still keeping all good parts of the progress they've made.
    jared.burke4
    finally, an article about A7X that doesn't mention them being "without drummer James "the Rev" Sullivan".
    LostLegion
    I'd like another album like Waking The Fallen but it's pretty obvious that that won't happen. Still, I'm excited for this.
    Tonyborbony
    I'm actually very excited for this album. Can't wait to hear the new drummer play.
    Subatomic7
    Just as long as there's some good jams on it **** it, they're pretty cool dudes too.
    Irwin Navarro
    The guitarist confessed thinking about writing the drum parts with M. Shadows at first, but added that on the second recording day, everything had changed. M Shadows or Syn Gates dont even play drums so how are they gonna write the parts Not hatin, just sayin. Go Arin!
    brndnstffrd
    Actually they do. In an article they said that they both love to play the drums and recieved a ton of lessons from Jimmy
    n0ir
    I hope it's good, I loved city of evil and waking the fallen instantly, and their self titled album grew on me. My favourite band growing up so I can't wait *crosses fingers*
    Morphogenesis26
    Hopefully it's better than Nightmare. Also, the swearing isn't a problem since I hear people like that every day swear just as much, if not more.
    a7xrocker201
    Yeah I felt nightmare had good songs on it but like Waking The Fallen and City of Evil (and even self-titled), they really didn't have songs that stuck I thought. WTF to COE to Self-Titled you could see their style sort of evolving but keeping that A7X feel still. I felt that the music sort of stopped and became generic in Nightmare (grant it the band was going through a rough time, I don't know if that happened before or after Jimmy's death). I love A7X but the teaser they put out really didn't impress me.
    SGplayer1991
    A7X has been one of my favorite bands since I was 15. So to hear a new album especially with Arin on it I can't wait. They have always challenged themselves not to sound the same each album and give us amazing music. I await the new album from the snippet that I heard it sounds awesome.
    Nameless742
    I think every A7X fan has their fingers crossed they are gonna like this one. I'm hopeful.
    Ronald-Raygun
    I've never liked them...mediocre at best. Plus they have stupid names for themselves. END.
    sideslick
    What's wrong with stage names? -Slash -The Edge -Freddie Mercury -Gene Simmons -Meat Loaf -Mike Dirnt -Marilyn Manson -Dimebag None of those are birth-names.
    qpoitras
    man its been a while since ive even thought about these guys. as i recall though i remember seeing all of my favorite songs by them were written by the rev. hope they can top it
    MichaelScarn
    City of Evil and self titled were fantastic- Nightmare was good; hoping they return to fantastic with the next one
    danielcloud11
    Nothing will ever beat Waking the Fallen. They've gone pop and added more guitar solos. Same route as every other sellout. I won't believe this is Pantera-worthy metal until I hear it.
    zigabric
    You say sellout. I wonder if you have ever even been in a band, trying to make it out of the garage. Those who have, will understand.
    jordo246
    I've noticed that metal heads don't actually know what sellout means, they seem to think it's when a band makes a lot of money, even if said band has made the music they want to and have not pandered to a crowd then it's still selling out according to them. And this is coming from a metal head.
    carlosthegr8
    Surely the sellout thing to do is remove guitar solo's ? Also nothing is pantera worthy
    LordThon
    It WAS. Now, every band has started putting them IN, because they're cool, again. Look at Staind, even. A couple of solos on Torment, and nothing for another five albums. Out comes the self-titled one, and there's a solo on just about everything. We all knew Mike could do it. Did he really need to prove it? Money said "yes".
    Guns N' Chains
    Personally, I prefer solo's in the music. That doesn't mean I don't like artists and songs that lack them, because I do. I just prefer the solos in the music even if its considered cool or not cool. To me its a art that brings more expression to a song. For awhile it was a lost art. Bands like A7X kind of brought that back. Did a lot of bands follow suit? Yeah, I guess you could say that. But solo's in rock/metal music have been around a hell of a lot longer than A7X has. Trends come and go. I know one thing, whether solo's are considered cool or not at a time period, I would still include them in my work.
    Scarface88
    For what it's worth, I reckon if a song would be enhanced by having a solo, put one in. I'd never force a solo into a track if it didn't sound right, same as I wouldn't with a verse, chorus, etc.
    wolstenholme99
    I genuinely believe their version of walk is better than panteras.
    mop10893
    Sevenfold is one of my all time favorite bands, but they did not do Walk better than Pantera.
    phantom_lord586
    It sounds EXACTLY the same.. pretty much.. but the fact they aren't Pantera and they don't have that extra intangible something on the Pantera original means it can't be as good.
    jordo246
    Shadows sounds nothing like Phil, Phil sounds like he means what he's saying, Shadows sounds exactly like what it is. Someone covering Phil.
    demonhellcat
    Waken the Fallen is very good and I'll admit quite different from their current sound but I'd argue their newer releases are more musically complex... and as the Tool lyric goes "All you know about me is what I've sold you, Dumb . I sold out long before you ever heard my name"
    kopij1989
    I personally agree with the fact that Waking The Fallen was the last album I fully enjoyed from them. I'm not taking away from them as musicians because CoE was where they showed that they all have some chops but Waking The Fallen had such a furious energy that they never matched again. But they Gates can ****ing play either way. So let him do his solos.
    miserybusiness1
    Those guys sure love some cursing for such a teen band xD
    Gainsayer
    "I think our songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds." If improving by leaps and bounds means sounding like Black Album-era Metallica, he's damn sure got that right. Came across a little mash-up that kinda drives the point home.
    For the record, I do like Avenged. Not simply bashing for the sake of it.
    Salvo416
    I would love to see James guest on an Avenged Song, and it's always possible that he could.
    Gainsayer
    Same here, seems like a good fit between the old-school and new-school. It's one of the few collaborations that I think would end well, and not in a steaming pile of dog-mess.
    brndnstffrd
    When i first heard that preview, Sad But True was instantly what it reminded me of
    jakehellspawn
    Avenged Sevenfold sucks ass.
    metaladdict123
    I will only think about buying this album if it's anywhere near as good as city of evil. Their last two albums have been pretty poor
    Jimjambanx
    I found their self titled pretty boring, but nightmare had some amazing songs on it IMO. Nightmare, Natural Born Killer, God Hates us, Buried Alive and Save Me were all killer, heavy songs. Well, buried alive was kinda soft in the verses, but still.
    HoverFan#1
    Idk, Ozzy said the new Sabbath album would be ****in awesome, but to me it was the most disappointing thing I've ever heard.
    aNOMalyband
    going to sound the exact same as all the rest of the bands in this genre.
    EndTheRapture51
    What bands are even in this genre any more?
    zigabric
    What bands even were? As far as I know, musically they're pretty unique. (though, they might just be the most recognisable and I haven't heard the underground)
    EndTheRapture51
    You could make some minor comparisons to Iron Maiden, but A7X sound nothing like their contempories in bands like Atreyu and BFMV...
    powachord
    i think thats a good thing
    zigabric
    Of course its a good thing. Not many bands achieve the stage of unique music, to be recognised right away, upon hearing new song. (aiming mainly on dual guitar melodies here)
    Zan595
    Name a band that sounds like them. Any band. Like them or not, they're pretty unique.
    megakirbyx
    They borrow heavily from Pantera and Metallica. They don't sound exactly like them, but there can be many comparisons drawn between them
    BwareDWare94
    I will correct spelling and/or grammar when the majority of our society can't figure out 4-6 letter words. It's pathetic how stupid our society is getting when it comes to language.
    GenerationKILL
    my only complaint with A7X records is that they're a mess. All over the place, no direction or consistency. If they worked with a good producer who could persuade them to just do a straight up rock record, 2 guitars, drums, bass and singing I would get behind them a little more. I think they have a lot of talent, but they compose and write songs like they have severe ADHD. I don't dig the choir, symphonic mash-ups they do. They'd sound way better if they just stripped everything down and didn't have so many overdubs... That said, I will give the next record a listen.
    theogonia777
    I'm surprised that there aren't comments making jokes about committing suicide a la Kurt Cobain due to the poor quality of the music. I was really expecting stuff like that to be here, but I guess not.
    wolstenholme99
    Dear anyone who says that a7x suck, They're rich, you are not. Case closed.
    EsotericSurgery
    Lot's of people are rich. It doesn't mean we should have to like them. I like A7X but that argument is illogical and asinine.
    LazyHardRocker
    Well, I like A7X, so don't get me wrong here but... Justin Bieber is also rich, richer than A7X... so I can't say he sucks either?
    Jimjambanx
    High class porn stars are pretty rich, but I'm pretty sure they suck a LOT. your argument is invalid.
    Guitar_Music
    The people you're with must not be that interesting if you're reading Ultimate Guitar news at a bar