“We did a lot of f**king drugs - the good kind!": Synyster Gates on Avenged Sevenfold's new album Life Is But A Dream...

Avenged Sevenfold in 2023
(Image credit: Brian Catelle)

Synyster Gates has revealed how part of the inspiration behind Avenged Sevenfold's hugely adventurous new album Life Is But A Dream... came from the band's use of psychedelic drugs.

Interviewed for Kerrang!, Avenged's frontman M. Shadows (Matt Sanders) says that Life Is But A Dream... "goes from progressive, Zappa-esque stuff to all of a sudden funk, Daft Punk to, like, Frank Sinatra and Wizard Of Oz", as is evident with recent single We Love You. And in the same interview, guitarist Gates (aka Brian Haner, Jr.) credits the use of the psychedelic 5-MeO-DMT for putting the band in the head-space to push their art into bold new directions.

“We did a lot of fucking drugs – the good kind,” the guitarist tells Kerrang! “Don’t do drugs, kids, but if you do then do the good kind! That helped us heal and fucking connect and really have the ability to communicate and articulate what we’re feeling.”

“It wasn’t about the music, it was just simply about finding ourselves, or finding an answer,” Shadows continues. “I’m super-grateful, and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way without going through that. I don’t want to leave this life and not have that experience and see what it’s all about. I’d obviously done recreational stuff when I was younger, but nothing that was in a setting with [a shaman], like, ‘We’re going deep, it’s gonna be scary, and you’re gonna face yourself and then you’re gonna kill yourself pretty much, and what does that mean?’”

“We’re here for such a short time,” the singer added, “so make the music that you’re gonna make bold.”

“We were all pushed like crazy on this record,” adds Gates, “to where we can sit here today and genuinely say, ‘Fuck, we love art that we created.’”

On May 12, Avenged Sevenfold played their first show in five years, in Las Vegas, giving premieres to recent singles Nobody and We Love You plus one other new song from Life Is But A Dream... titled Game Over.

You can watch fan-filmed footage of Game Over below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.