It sounds like Avenged Sevenfold are working on their own beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy. In a new interview with Metal Hammer, the O.C. metal band's frontman M. Shadows revealed that their upcoming record — one of our most anticipated albums of 2022 — is going to be "very influenced by Kanye West."
Shadows has spent the last year trickling out information about A7X's follow-up to 2016's, The Stage, which has partially been taking so long to arrive due to COVID-19 and the band's steadfast refusal to drop a record until they can properly tour on it. With a few shows lined up for later this summer, the LP is finally slated to arrive in the coming months, and Shadows has now hinted that its sound is going to pull from all over the map.
"There are so many influences," he told Metal Hammer. "We're very influenced by Kanye West. The thing about Kanye is that he is pulling from such great soul music. I didn't grow up with that stuff — my dad listened to Boston and Alice Cooper, I didn't get that taste of black music and old soul. So, diving deep into jazz musicians. . .we're not trying to do a jazz record, but the chord changes and progressions are so eye-opening to us."
The shape-shifting West brought new grandiose production techniques, avant-garde vocal effects and confrontational deliveries to pop-forward hip-hop, so there's no telling what impact his catalog might have on Avenged Sevenfold — a band who, similar to Yeezy, have fearlessly reinvented themselves on each release. Shadows didn't seem to elaborate much on the nitty gritty of the forthcoming record's sound, but he did reveal that a 70-piece orchestra is going to record on it.
"In January, we're going in to finish the strings on the record," Shadows said. "The record's been recorded for a year, but we haven't been able to put the real strings on it, because we couldn't fly out to Prague. When an orchestra have to social distance and they aren't sitting next to each other, they can get out of tune, and we have just finally got to a place where we can use this 70-piece orchestra as we intended. We finish the record in February, mix it in March."
Reflecting on what he and his bandmates gleaned from The Stage, a 73-minute prog-metal concept album that they surprise-released, Shadows emphasized that it's "my favorite record of ours" and that he's "so happy we did it that way; we don't give a fuck about industry metrics." Later in the interview, he showed more disinterest in pleasing the upper echelons of the music business by noting that they won't be signed to a record label after this new record, making them free agents with full control over the music and the way they want to release it.
"This next record, I don't know exactly how it comes out, but the record after that, we have no label," Shadows said. "At that point we start implementing all the new ideas of going straight to the base of people that really care more. The new frontier excites us; expect very wacky ideas!"