Unlike so many unfortunate bands and artists this year, 2020 didn’t affect Avenged Sevenfold’s plans all that much. The Huntington Beach metallers have been working on the follow-up to 2016’s The Stage for some time now, but on a fairly casual basis lately: “It’s like, ‘When we can, we can,’” frontman M. Shadows shrugs calmly to Kerrang! today, explaining how there was no scramble to finish the material that was already in place.
Nevertheless, the quintet – completed by guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer Brooks Wackerman – didn’t drop off the grid entirely over the past 12 months. They gave away free merch to fans as an incentive to quarantine when coronavirus hit, and also released awesome 2008 DVD/CD package, Live In The LBC & Diamonds In The Rough, digitally for the first time – along with five additional tracks. Most importantly, though, their vocalist took a stand in the summer and showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, writing a moving piece about what the rock and metal community should be doing in these strange and testing times.
Here, an extremely optimistic M. Shadows reflects on his 2020, and hints at what’s to come from A7X when the time is finally right…
How has your year been – have your family and friends managed to stay safe and healthy?
“Yeah, you know, the year I think has been great – I’ve been hanging out with family a lot, hanging out with the kids, hanging out with the band. We’ve had quite a few friends get coronavirus, and some of it’s been worse than others, but no deaths or anything too serious. People get it, then they get sick and quarantine – so I’m sure it’s just like for everybody else, it’s just random.”
On a personal level, how would you describe your 2020?
“It’s been positive for me, although the year started off losing my idol, Kobe Bryant; he died in a helicopter crash, and that was crazy. And then there was coronavirus and the lockdowns. But I’ve just been trying to stay positive, and be thankful for each day. The kids didn’t have school, and as insane as that was with being on Zoom calls with teachers and everything, it was actually really positive because we got to hang out a lot. Usually if you’re on the road and in hotel rooms and the kids are at school you don’t get to see them, so I’ve just been really grateful to get to spend the last couple of years with them. So for me, it’s been positive.”