AVENGED SEVENFOLD frontman M. Shadows spoke to Kerrang! magazine about the status of the band's long-awaited follow-up to 2016's "The Stage" album. "We've been writing a record for a while, and most of it was already written [before the coronavirus pandemic]," he said. "But then we kinda took a break on it, and then it would be like, 'Hey, let's get together two days this week,' instead of five or six. It just started getting more casual. Then we recorded really casually, and — like I said — we're still in the middle of it: we still have all these things that we can't do. We're still trying to get string sections together, and our mixer is older and I know that they don't want him to travel right now because of COVID, so even if we got it done right now, we couldn't get it mixed. So we're just not worrying about it, you know? It's like, 'When we can, we can.' But right now, we can't. [Laughs]."
According to the singer, there are no plans for AVENGED SEVENFOLD to release new music until he and his bandmates are able to hit the road again.
"No one wants to put out the record if we can't tour it," he said. "The reality is — and no-one wants to hear this — in this day and age, rock 'n' roll just takes too long to make: you know, it's going to be a three-year record to make. And if we put that record out and then we're locked down for another year, as much as people don't want to believe this, they are not going to give a shit about a record that came out a year prior when it's time to tour. And so if it's going to take us two or three years to write a record, we're not going to put it out if we can't go play it live. We know the anticipation won't be there when the tours come around. You see it every day — if you look at iTunes or Spotify and see how quickly it all turns over, it's just weekly onto the next thing and onto the next thing again. If you just imagine putting out a record in August, and then you're not touring until next August, people don't want to hear this but they're not going to care; they're going to be like, 'What's next?' Once the GOJIRA record, or the new METALLICA record, or the new MEGADETH record comes out, they're not going to care about what came out the year prior. Our whole thing is: if it's going to take us three years to do a record, we're going to make sure we can play it live and people are going to be excited about it."
As for the musical direction of the new AVENGED material, M. Shadows said: "The [new] record sounds nothing like 'The Stage' — it's a completely new direction, and it sounds nothing like anything we've done. That's all I'll say about it: it's over the top, and it's very eclectic and wild."
AVENGED SEVENFOLD kept a low profile during 2019 and will likely not return to the road until the end of next year. A blood blister on M. Shadows's vocal cords forced the band to cancel a summer 2018 tour with PROPHETS OF RAGE and THREE DAYS GRACE.
Earlier this year, AVENGED SEVENFOLD's platinum-certified DVD/CD "Live In The LBC & Diamonds In The Rough" was released digitally for the very first time via Warner Records. "Diamonds In The Rough", originally issued in 2008 as a compilation CD that included B-sides recorded during the making of the band's self-titled debut, was made available on February 7, while "Live In The LBC", originally released as a live DVD from the band's 2008 show at Long Beach Arena, came out on March 6.
"The Stage" was surprise-released in October 2016. The release of the disc, which was announced the night it went on sale, earned the lowest sales of an AVENGED SEVENFOLD album in 11 years. It sold 76 thousand copies in its first week, 73 thousand of which were physical.
"The Stage", AVENGED's debut for Capitol, sold less than half as many copies in its first week as the group's two previous efforts, 2010's "Nightmare" and 2013's "Hail To The King".