TheMusic.com.au spoke with Synyster Gates about what Avenged Sevenfold wanted to achieve with “Hail To The King,” maturity setting in regarding their songwriting, feeling Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan’s presence while writing the new album and the gift he gave them, their brief association with Mike Portnoy before inviting Arin Ilejay to sit behind the drum kit and taking “Hail To The King” on the road.
It’s grandiosity that borders on pomposity – Gates says the band “feels the fire in our loins for these songs” – but few can deny that Avenged Sevenfold have earned the right to entertaining their feelings of grandeur. They’ve sold around 10 million records in a decade, transformed from a metalcore sensation to rock’n’roll juggernaut and brought an entire generation of kids along for the ride. Most importantly, they’ve dared to be rock stars in an age where the rock star is dead.
Case in point, Hail To The King. The ballsiest rock’n’roll record you’re likely to hear all year. …King has Avenged Sevenfold taking the direction of 2010’s Nightmare to bigger and better plateaus, even if that means scaling back on the chaotic maelstroms that endeared fans to records like 2001’s Sounding The Seventh Trumpet and 2003’s Waking The Fallen.
“It’s kind of like, ‘what would Jimmy do?’ He’s always with us, and I remember we were writing on his birthday, and we couldn’t figure out a chorus for a whole week, but we did this different version, because Jimmy was always like ‘oh yeah, just try this differently’ and it came out right away. So I’m not too much of a religious or spiritual guy, but it was a cool coincidence. That he could give us a gift on his birthday.”