An episode of Avenged Sevenfold's podcast Trax recently appeared on streaming services titled Important Announcement. The one-minute clip appeared to have vocalist M Shadows explaining that the band were going to be cancelling their appearances at Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple festivals later this year, due to them still needing to put the finishing touches to their new album.
But it appears to all have been fake, and the band have revealed that they believe they have been hacked.
The clip in question is no longer on Spotify, but you can read it in full, originally transcribed by Metal Injection, right here:
"Hey, Trax listeners, we're so sorry to bring bad news to you all, but I wanted you to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. We've had some unexpected delays on the new album and have decided to cancel our appearances at Welcome to Rockville and Sonic Temple to focus on finishing it up. It breaks our heart to do this, but some things have to be done.
"I understand this is disappointing news for everyone, and I want to let you know that we are truly sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Creating new music is a passion we have dedicated our lives to, and we believe our fans deserve nothing but the best from us. We put our hearts and souls into this new project to make it the best it can be.
"We've been working tirelessly on this new music and are committed to bringing it to you as soon as possible. We know that cancelling more shows is a major disappointment, and I want to assure you that this is a decision we did not make lightly. Many of you will be let down and frustrated. And for that we are deeply sorry.
"We want to thank you for your understanding and support during this time. Your dedication to our music and your unwavering enthusiasm for our shows inspire us every day. We promise to make it up to you, and we will see you soon. Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused, and we thank you for your patience and understanding."
The announcement was not made anywhere else, but the clip was posted to the band's twitter account, prompting M Shadows to quote tweet it stating, "Yikes! This is NOT TRUE. We are still playing. Getting to the bottom of this."
He then followed it up by saying, "Literally walking in the streets of Mexico and listening to this. What the actual fuck… NOT ME!"
Yikes! This is NOT TRUE. We are still playing. Getting to the bottom of this. https://t.co/dQ9yC3mc1TFebruary 26, 2023
Literally walking in the streets of Mexico and listening to this. What the actual fuck… NOT ME! https://t.co/PmCLrWX4NTFebruary 26, 2023
The consensus appears to be that whoever recorded the message was using deepfake AI voice changing technology, with the reactions ranging from, "How awful. Terrifying how much AI can be used for the wrong purposes" to, "This has to be a way to get us excited for the album."
How awful. Terrifying how much AI can be used for the wrong purposes 🥴February 26, 2023
Man this has to be a way to get us excited for the albumFebruary 26, 2023
Have the band really been hacked? Is it all a build-up to the new album rolling out? Only time will tell. But whatever is happening, the band will definitely still be playing Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple.
Avenged have been working on the follow-up to their 2016 album The Stage for quite some time now, but they have been offering updates as and when on its progress and the world they are building around it. Last year the band revealed Avenged Sevenfold: City Of Evil, a new virtual world experience created by blockchain gaming platform The Sandbox, promising users the chance to "explore, participate and socialize in an environment filled with iconic imagery, stories and music" from the world of Avenged Sevenfold.
It came alongside this tweeted statement from M Shadows: "As many of you know, we are currently finishing up our 8th studio album. We expect to be firing on all cylinders once that is ready to be released, & this social hub will play a major role in gathering info & socializing with other fans. For the ones who have been patient, thank you. We also want to thank our team at @nabiya_creative for diving into the A7X culture & really nailing the aesthetic for the fans. We have much more to build… this is just the start.”
And in conversation with Metal Hammer back in 2022, Shadows revealed this about the inspirations behind the record.
"There are so many influences… we’re very influenced by Kanye West. The thing about Kanye is that he is pulling from such great soul music. I didn’t grow up with that stuff – my dad listened to Boston and Alice Cooper, I didn’t get that taste of black music and old soul. So, diving deep into jazz musicians… we’re not trying to do a jazz record, but the chord changes and progressions are so eye-opening to us.
"The new frontier excites us; expect very wacky ideas!”