See A7X Break Down "Nightmare": Ozzy, Pantera Influences, Singing vs. Screaming | Revolver

See A7X Break Down "Nightmare": Ozzy, Pantera Influences, Singing vs. Screaming

M. Shadows and Zacky Vengeance dissect title track from 2010 No. 1 album

In the latest edition of Avenged Sevenfold's Breakdown series, M. Shadows and Zacky Vengeance tackle the first half of the track "Nightmare," the lead cut on the band's 2010 album of the same name. 

The bells heard in the song's intro might be iconic now, but Shadows admits the initial version was done with the "glockenspiel" setting on an at-home keyboard. Playing through a quick run-down of that discarded sound, the singer quickly moves on to shouting out Ozzy Osbourne and how the track's sound was influenced by the Prince of Darkness' solo work. "Very Ozzy, dark, scary, gothic ...," he explains before Vengeance backs up the statement: "It definitely sets the tone for the entire album ... everything we had to get through to make this." 

Shadows goes on to isolate his own vocal tracks, letting an extended "nightmare" scream ring out while the spoken word lyrics come in just beneath it in the mix. The two laugh at the insane length of the note held, and Vengeance points out, "That's the fun of having a song with lots of taglines — you really have to make them perfect." 

In a candid moment, Shadows brings up A7X's former associate Craig Aaronson (who passed away in 2014) and points to an argument between the two where Aaronson wanted Shadows to sing a part rather than scream it, but the vocalist insisted he was singing. In retrospect, the band had a huge hit with the track, but admit their late colleague was right to pick that bit out and question it. 

The drum parts are later described as having a "lot of Pantera influence" and being inspired by the sounds of tap-dancing. While A7X's late drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan arranged percussion and performed on the track's demo, Mike Portnoy stepped in as a session drummer for the recording sessions and can be seen in the throwback clips woven throughout the segment.