Avenged Sevenfold frontman M Shadows says that late drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan would have approved of their boundary-pushing new album, Life Is But A Dream….
Speaking in the brand new issue of Metal Hammer, which is onsale now, Shadows says The Rev would have been onboard with the record, which takes in everything from hardcore to lounge jazz and hip hop-inspired beats.
“He’d be stoked,” says Shadows. “Me and Brian [Haner, aka guitarist Synyster Gates] know that guy better than anyone,” says Shadows. “He was always the biggest proponent of instigation and trying new things.”
In fact the drummer, who died in 2009, is on the new album in more than spirit. The song Mattel features a bridge written by The Rev that he never found a place for, while another track, Beautiful Morning, includes a lyric the drummer and Gates wrote while in their pre-Avenged Sevenfold band Pinky Smooth.
“That’s something him and Brian came up with a long time ago: ‘It’s a beautiful morning, it’s a beautiful day, everybody is smiling, in a beautiful way,’” Shadows says of the Beautiful Morning lyrics. “That’s when it [the song] gets creepy.”
In the same interview, Shadows reveals that the album’s trippier approach was partly influenced by hallucinogenic venom from the rare Sonoran Desert toad, aka 5-MeO-DMT.
For the 5-MeO-DMT experimentation Shadows flew in a shaman, whose skills had previously been employed by engineers at SpaceX and Google.
“When we went deep into the 5-MeO-DMT stuff, it was before Covid,” explains Shadows. “But you don’t just go into that, right? [2016’s] The Stage was already starting to deal with these existential things – like, ‘Gimme all the information of what we know about why we’re here.’”
“This record [Life Is But A Dream…] dove into, ‘Now what do we do with all that information as a human that has emotions, that evolved to this spot where we have our upper brain [wired for reasoning] and lower brain [wired for primitive responses] and they’re battling each other?”
He continues: “You come to terms with how important everyone thinks everything is, and how they work themselves up,” he says. “And none of it means anything. You work your fingers to the bones and everyone tells you you’re great your whole life. And then all of a sudden, you look back on your life and you go, ‘What the fuck was that?’”
You can read the full interview with Avenged Sevenfold in the brand new issue of Metal Hammer, which comes with three exclusive A7X-related gifts, including a Deathbat patch, an Avenged laptop sticker and a reaper art print. Order it online and have it delivered straight to you door.