Avenged Sevenfold's M Shadows: "we try to stay as much away from the leather pant butt-wiggle 80s ballad as we can"

M Shadows on stage in 2018
(Image credit: Getty)

Avenged Sevenfold have discussed the freewheeling and open-minded approach to songwriting that has underpinned much of their career in a new interview on their official podcast, Trax By Avenged Sevenfold.

While analysing Strength Of The World, the Western-tinged, Ennio Morricone-influenced epic from 2005 album City Of Evil, frontman M Shadows notes that the song showed the band were unafraid to pull in influences from unexpected places.

“If you take something like The Wicked End, it shows that we could write Danny Elfman-esque string arrangements. But then you go a song later and then it shows that we can write an Ennio Morricone-influenced Western," he explains. "So it wasn’t like we have one style and we kinda sit in our lane. It was like, ‘No, we really studied these musical pieces and we kind of tried to figure out the essence of them'...I feel like we’ve always been kinda chameleons, where we can take a bunch of things that we like.

"Like, Danny Elfman sounds like Danny Elfman and Ennio Morricone sounds like Ennio Morricone, but we can kinda sit there and go, like, ‘Well we can do both those, and we can make it sound cool with metal,’" he later adds. "I do highly respect these artists that master their own lane and their own craft. But I think it’s important, because when you look at those two songs, it shows that we kinda know our way around the music, and I think that’s really cool. It’s a different flavour, right? Like, you’re rolling through this record and then all of a sudden, from Beast And The Harlot to Bat Country to…this? Like, what?!"

Shadows goes on to underline Avenged's keenness to avoid writing cookie-cutter rock songs, even revealing that, despite the band clearly being pretty damn good at them, they'd also rather dodge writing too many ballads. 

"I know we fall into this sometimes with, things like, maybe So Far Away, or like, Seize The Day, but we try to stay as far away from generic rock as possible," he explains. "We try to stay as far away from, like, 80s ballads…and I know people love them, and the success of those other two songs just proves that, if you can do a good ballad, people like it, but it really isn’t what we like to do, and we try to stay as much away from the leather pant butt-wiggle 80s ballad as we can."

You can listen to the full, latest episode of Trax now via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more.

A new Avenged Sevenfold album is expected at some point this year, though exact details of its release remain unknown. When it arrives, it'll mark the band's first full studio album of new material since 2016's expansive The Stage, which was released to critical acclaim. The band return to the stage on May 19, headlining the 2023 edition of Welcome To Rockville in Daytona, Flordia.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.