Avenged Sevenfold singer M Shadows has discussed the ways in which he feels technology is having a negative impact on the way modern rock and metal is made. Speaking to Doc Coyle on the Bad Wolves guitarist's podcast The Ex Man, Shadows opens up on the myriad influences that helped shape Avenged's radical new album Life Is But A Dream..., pointing out that despite some fans' assumptions, the album's lead single, Nobody, didn't feature any samples. Shadows then goes on to lament the way that technology has impacted heavy music in recent years.
"There's a lot of vocoder and things we're doing on this record," he explains. "But we're not using ProTools vocoder, right? We brought out the keyboards, we're singing into stuff, we're talking [through] the talk box...but I think as you do that stuff and you do all those new, forward-thinking things in an organic way, I think it just has a knack to it that's very cool.
"One thing that I think," he continues, "and I've said this on Twitter and you get 'Old man yelling at the clouds', I think technology overuse is killing metal and killing rock. Everyone's using the same samples, they're using the same tools to fill out the speakers, they're brickwalling their mixes, the vocals pop and it's way on top...the normal person that listens to that, they're like, 'This just sounds like one straight line of something, but it's not appealing to me because there's no dynamic, there's no this or that, it all sounds the same.' I think that's why bands like Tool, bands like System, they really stand out because there's so much dynamic, there's so much realness happening.
"I think there's a reason why rock has a hard time translating," he later adds. "Some of these songs...I think, like, what would Master Of Puppets sound like if the drums were quantized, everything was filled out on the speakers, everything was perfectly tuned...it just wouldn't have that same thing that it makes you feel."
Avenged's wild direction on Life Is But A Dream... has drawn extreme reactions from their fanbase, many hailing its ambition, others shocked by how far the band have strayed from their original sound. Speaking to Metal Hammer earlier this year, Shadows revealed that the band found some of the more intense negative reactions to new material hilarious. "We were just laughing," the frontman admitted. "That was more fun to us than someone saying, ‘Oh, this is great.’ We always gear towards a little bit of ruffling feathers.”
Listen to Shadows' appearance on The Ex-Man Podcast below.