Avenged Sevenfold have become one of modern metal’s biggest bands by forever doing things their own unique way. In a world-exclusive interview with KERRANG!, M. Shadows and guitarist Synyster Gates lift the lid on new album Life Is But A Dream… and the band’s fearless, fantastic latest chapter. Read the full interview HERE.
“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?’”
As well as regularly practicing meditation and mindfulness – on top of being “hit over the head” with psychedelics – the frontman began to feel the benefits of this ego-shattering endeavour. He doesn’t, he stresses, have it all figured out. But he’s certainly learned a few things along the way.
“The mundane things in life are actually the reward of life,” he smiles. “It’s about the journey, because we all end up in the same spot – and that spot is terrifying to most of us. But if you can just enjoy your kids watching a movie, or taking them to practice, or visiting your parents and actually being present on Thanksgiving when they’re annoying the shit out of you, these are the things that you can unlock, which make life much more enjoyable.
“Things get shitty,” he adds. “You have deaths all the time, and though you know that it’s gonna happen, there will be a point where you lose everybody you love – if you live long enough – or you’ll die yourself. There’s one of two options there. You need to be prepared for that, and you need to know what it means.”
To put all this in context with where Avenged were at by that point, they had started work on The Stage’s follow-up, and then “came back to it and dropped things that weren’t up to par, in terms of really pushing the limits”. The drugs didn’t help in the sense of magically presenting Shadows and Syn with an entire new album, or conjuring up the musical notes they should be playing. But the frontman did have a different epiphany, of similarly significant proportions.
“We’re here for such a short time,” he says, “so make the music that you’re gonna make bold.”