The official video for the new AVENGED SEVENFOLD song "Mad Hatter" can be seen below. The track was recorded for the "Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4" video game and the clip uses game footage to present the song.
"Mad Hatter" will be included on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's upcoming EP, "Black Reign", which will be made available on September 21. The effort will contain all four songs the band has written and recorded for the "Call Of Duty: Black Ops" franchise.
"Mad Hatter" was recorded in Los Angeles this past March and co-produced by the band and Joe Barresi, who helmed AVENGED SEVENFOLD's critically acclaimed album "The Stage", including its Grammy-nominated title track.
"'Black Ops 4' looks insane and is something completely new for fans, so we felt that we should take a similar leap with the music and go for something bigger, darker and more cerebral," says AVENGED SEVENFOLD lead vocalist M. Shadows.
About the "Mad Hatter" creative process, Shadows says: "Watching the initial trailers and looking at production sketches reminded me of the 'S-Town' podcast and its main protagonist, John B. McLemore, who was rumored to have suffered from mercury poisoning, or Mad Hatter disease. The idea of Mad Hatter and what it does to the brain is as frightening as the images we were shown. So I decided that the lyrics would shadow McLemore's life. The result is a thick-grooved song that's dynamic and has a weightiness to it."
"We have a very deep relationship with the team at Treyarch," he adds. "We're proud to be part of the family and extremely excited for people to enjoy this next chapter and our contribution to it."
"As fans of the game and as world class musicians, AVENGED SEVENFOLD has demonstrated an innate ability to convey the emotion and raw power of the 'Call Of Duty' Zombies experience," said Jason Blundell, director of Zombies at Treyarch. "We're introducing fans to a new cast of characters in 'Black Ops 4' and delivering the biggest Zombies experience to date. With IX, we knew we needed something epic and A7X delivered."
"Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4" is published by Activision and developed by Treyarch with additional development support from Raven Software and PC development with Beenox.
M. Shadows told Kerrang! magazine about "Mad Hatter": "The song is dark and brooding. We wanted to capture a difference feeling than a straight-ahead 'zombie killer' track. These songs are good places for us to experiment with our sound. I would put this in the category of 'dark alternative.'"
Asked how the new song came about and whether it was written with "Call Of Duty" in mind or if it was a leftover cut from "The Stage" sessions, M. Shadows said: "I did a Twitter takeover where a fan asked me about doing music for 'Black Ops 3'. The team at [games developing company] Treyarch saw it and asked us to participate. I went into the studio and saw what they were working on. We only had a month to get them a finished product, because of our European tour. We wrote what we felt would be a departure for not only us, but Treyarch as well."
M. Shadows stated about the decision to make the tracks available on a separate EP: "We just felt these songs needed a place to live, instead of being scattered all over streaming services. We will also be releasing 'Jade Helm', which is the multiplayer score we did for 'Black Ops 3'. Until now, that has only been available on YouTube and in the game."
AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ previously told HardDrive Radio about "Mad Hatter": "It's a fun song — it's a little bit of a departure from I think what our fans would expect, but I guess that also makes sense because they expect crazy from us now."
"Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4" is scheduled to come to PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 12.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD contributed music to the previous three installments of the game series, and even appears (virtually) in the second chapter, when they can be seen performing the song "Carry On" in an epilogue after the closing credits.
"Mad Hatter" is the first original material AVENGED SEVENFOLD has released since last year's "Dose", which originally surfaced in the Gameloft mobile game "Dungeon Hunter 5". It later appeared on the "deluxe edition" 2017 reissue of the group's 2016 studio album, "The Stage".
AVENGED SEVENFOLD will probably start working on its eighth studio LP this fall for a 2019 release.
The band recently canceled its summer tour with PROPHETS OF RAGE and THREE DAYS GRACE after M. Shadows was struck by a viral infection that left him "voiceless."
Photo credit: Kameron Pollock