Avenged Sevenfold’s Life Is But A Dream… – the ultimate track by track breakdown

Avenged Sevenfold
(Image credit: Press/Brian Catelle)

Metal Hammer issue 375

(Image credit: Future)

The brand new issue of Metal Hammer features Avenged Sevenfold on the cover. Inside, the band take us inside the extraordinary creation of long-awaited new album Life Is But A Dream… – including tales of shamen, hallucinogenic toad venom and the influence of Mr Bungle.

The album is released on June 2, but here singer M Shadows, guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates and drummer Brooks Wackerman talk us through Life Is But A Dream…’s 11 boundary-busting tracks…

Metal Hammer line break

Game Over

With acoustic and noisy electric guitars, the opener moves at hyper-speed and delivers “a frantic, heightened sense of anxiety”, says Zacky Vengeance. Brooks Wackerman calls it “our most aggressive song on the record and shortest, too. We get to the point and then it’s done.”


With tough guitars balanced with jazzier effervescence, M. Shadows sings of living in an artificial world while searching for meaning. “Are videogames getting too close to real life? Or is real life emulating the games? It’s getting very hard to tell,” Shadows says. Adds Zacky: “I love the barrage of noise in the solo. It takes your mind for a complete spin.”


The lead-off single combines strings, blasts of guitar noise, jazz, vocal harmonies and an elegant rock solo into an unpredictable whole. Explains Brooks: “You can probably hear some jazz fusion influence between [Synyster Gates] and I as we take off.” Adds bassist Johnny Christ: “We kicked around the idea of it sounding like it got inspiration from Terminator 2; it sounded like the metal becoming liquid.”

We Love You

Set to a 4/4 techno beat, the song is a “cross between Mr. Bungle and R. Kelly”, says Brooks. Shadows came up with the chant in the shower: “I was like, ‘More sex, more pills, more drugs, more, more.’ It’s everything. Those are the simple little things that are like the ‘A-ha!’ moments.”


Syn says this was meant to be an “adventurous ballad” mixing Daft Punk with Elton John, and took months to piece together. Zacky says the song “makes you feel love and sadness all at once”. It was recorded on multiple drum kits, recalls Brooks. “I was tripping over snare drums because we had so many on the floor. It was a drummer’s wet dream in there.”

Beautiful Morning

With a Brian Wilson-ish wall of sound, this has screaming metal guitar and ominous vocal harmonies à la Alice In Chains. “We went so far off the rails that we were just laughing, and then we found ourselves reeling ourselves back in,” says Zacky, calling the song “a nod back to stuff that we love listening to”.


Originally an insecure love song written many years ago by Synyster: “I would sing it to [The Rev] and he’d just fucking crack up.” Musical influences are Kanye, Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin drums and Faith No More. “It’s jazzy, it’s funky, it’s progressive,” says Zacky, with new “witty lyrics that tie into this story of man and mankind and how highly we think of ourselves”.


The first in trio of tracks whose title spells out ‘G.O.D’. Inspired by Travis Scott’s complex rap hit Sicko Mode, G kicks off with a rush of prog beats and electronics, and background vocals by Taura Stinson and Brianna Mazzola. “This is Frank Zappa meets Daft Punk meets Stevie Wonder meets Sinatra meets Wizard Of Oz,” explains Shadows. 


A first for A7X, this song about a robot is built with funk guitar, closing with the threatening sound of an oncoming car engine. Says Shadows: “What would a robot want to be asking its creator? Am I conscious? Is this real? Is that love? What am I feeling?”


With music originally written by Syn for his wife as Alone Tonight, the track now has extreme shades of light and dark, with dozens of jazz chords and a Sinatra vocal by Shadows. “It’s completely depressing and absolutely glorious at the same time,” says Zacky. “It’s kind of an acceptance of the insane journey that life is and how we all end up leaving it.”

Life Is But A Dream…

Originally called ‘Il sogno del fiume’ [translation: River’s Dream], this instrumental by Syn was written for Shadows’ firstborn son, River, 10 years ago. “I spent the last two years of my life learning how to play that song. And it was the craziest undertaking I’ve ever experienced,” says Syn. Zacky calls it “a sombre and uplifting ending to a very cathartic album”.

The brand new issue of Metal Hammer is onsale now, featuring Avenged Sevenfold on the cover and coming with an exclusive Deathbat patch, A7X laptop sticker and reaper print. Order it online and have it delivered straight to your door.

Metal Hammer issue 375

(Image credit: Future)
Steve Appleford

Steve Appleford is a Los Angeles music journalist who has also written for Rolling Stone, Revolver and the Los Angeles Times. Over the years he's interviewed major artists across multiple genres - including Black Sabbath, Slayer, Queens of the Stone Age, System of a Down, KISS, Lemmy, the Who, Neil Young, Beastie Boys, Beyonce, Tom Jones, and a couple of Beatles.