Delving deep into the process behind tracking, mixing, then stripping apart each piece of their song "The Stage," Avenged Sevenfold lead singer M. Shadows and guitarist Synyster Gates walk viewers through the painstaking ordeal of building a well-rounded and prolific hit. Shadows begins by explaining the band's decision to meld three songs they were writing into one for the 2016 album — also titled The Stage — then begins to play the finished product before slowly stripping away individual bits to show the specific layers that go into creating the signature A7X sound. "As you start taking stuff out," he explains while muting sections of the recording, pointing out to Gates how the absence of those sections "kind of add that buzzsaw bite."
Shadows then details and isolates drummer Brooks Wackerman's drum solo introduction and highlights how he pushed the percussionist to create more complex parts to add weight to the bottom end of the song. Recalling the moment he stepped in to request Wackerman keep a specific kick drum pattern going while maintaining a quick pattern on the top toms, Shadows recalls with a laugh, "The look he gave me on his face...you know, he nailed it."
The clip continues outlining guitar and vocal processes, including the use different microphones to achieve raspier versus smoother sounds and other programmatic intricacies that are sure to please ardent fans and music nerds in equal measure. The video ends with Shadows and Gates lightheartedly calling the song "good enough for a Grammy nomination but not quite good enough for a win," referencing the track's recognition by the music awards (the band's first nomination). Keep up with more "breakdown" episode on Avenged Sevenfold's official YouTube channel.