Avenged Sevenfold has been a mainstay of popular hard rock and metal for a decade and a half now, which tracks like "Bat Country," "Almost Easy," and "Beast and the Harlot" appearing in every facet of pop culture including video games. During E3 2015, I spoke with Avenged Sevenfold's frontman M. Shadows about the band's involvement in the then-upcoming Guitar Hero Live. While I broke out his comments on Guitar Hero into a story on our main feed, we also spun off the discussion to chat about his band's ever-changing music and what it's like to try and appeal to fans who started listening during different eras of the band. That discussion never appeared anywhere until now. Check out the resulting discussion, which took place on June 16, 2015 below.

When I was in college, your self-titled album came out and I remember just hearing "Critical Acclaim" constantly. Songs like "Afterlife" and "Almost Easy" are just embedded in my brain forever.
Sorry about that! [Laughs]

Do you look back at that and feel like songs like those are from a lifetime ago? Your newer stuff is a different sound altogether, while retaining that Avenged Sevenfold flair to it.
Yeah, it's just different. If you look at that White Album compared to City of Evil, those were completely different albums. If you look before that, Waking the Fallen was completely different from City of Evil. So we've always done that. What we've noticed is that we have fans who are hardcore and they love it all, then we have fans who are all about one certain album and they hate everything else, then we have fans where they came in the beginning and then they come back a couple albums later. It's a really interesting career. It doesn't feel like that long ago, but at the same time, I look back on it and we just had the 10-year anniversary for City of Evil, and it's crazy to think that 10 years ago I was living in my parents' house writing records in a garage on Warped Tour. It's weird looking back on it because I try not to think about it too much because we still try to be creative and write records, and if you think about that stuff it just gets in your head.

It's always kind of crazy to think about how – as you pointed out – different each album has been. You guys have definitely had your early sound, your middle sound, and now your current sound. It's kind of tricky when you think of it from a fan-base perspective because fans can grow attached to one particular sound, and then you change up your sound a go in a little bit different direction.
We've always just done what we want to do. Some people will never understand that, but if we're writing music for the fans, then we're not doing ourselves justice. We want to write what we want to write. We're artists, and we play music. We want to love the music we're playing. We're not trying to recreate something that's already there. Why write the same record twice? That would just suck. That record will always be there! You can always put it on and enjoy it. So for us, it's just always evolving, and it's a weird thing because as the band gets bigger, the band is bigger because of the new records, but the old records are always going to have that fan-base going "Why can't you just go do that again?" It would just be like, "Well, this not only is working, but we don't want to." [Laughs] It's a weird thing, but that's with anything; you talk to a painter and someone's going to want them to replicate that. 

Guitar Hero Live takes a streaming approach to delivering new tracks to its players. How do you feel about the streaming phenomenon we're seeing in the music industry?
Streaming means that new things are going to be put in front of people. Right now – and you can argue this until the cows come home – music is not as important to people nowadays as it used to be. You know, when I was growing up it was really important, when my dad was growing up it was very important. Music defined generations, and now music is kind of an afterthought. People are doing a lot of different things. Any way that we can get in front of new people and any way we can get people to focus on music is good for us. 


For other music coverage on this blog, check out Luke Spiller of The Struts' thoughts on bringing rock music back to Top 40.