Avenged Sevenfold drummer Arin Ilejay has hailed his Metallica counterpart Lars Ulrich as "the Ringo of metal" – saying he's one of the most underrated musicians in the world.
And his appreciation of Ulrich’s approach served him well when he joined A7X and was asked to “dumb down” his performance for latest album Hail To The King.
Ilejay tells MusicRadar: “In so many ways Lars really is the best metal drummer. He doesn’t have the crazy chops but he has the best stage presence. He’s out of his mind, but writes incredible parts for the music.
“Ringo and Lars get the least amount of credit, but they’re absolute geniuses.”
He admits that he and A7X fans had expected to hear him go crazy on Hail To The King, following in the footsteps of late drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan and stand-in Mike Portnoy. “But the band wanted me to create my own sound and legacy,” Ilejay says. “They wanted me to dumb it down and play caveman-like. I was bummed at first – but it helped to have heard drummers like Lars.”
Sullivan was the musician who inspired Ilejay to explore metal, so he felt at home replacing him. “He’s one of my favourites so I was like, ‘I’m going to do these parts right. This is what I’m good at – this is what I do.’”
And he adds: “For the next album we’ve kicked around the idea of having some crazy fills.”
A7X recently confirmed The Rev would appear in their Deathbat video game as an unlockable character. Ulrich and Metallica headline the Glastonbury festival this weekend after years of trying to get on the bill, then headline Sonisphere alongside Iron Maiden and The Prodigy on July 4-6.