Thursday, July 24, 2014

Synyster Gates talks with Timesleader.com

Synyster Gates spoke with Timesleader.com about Hail To The King, how Jimmy still influences them and Hail To The King: Deathbat. You can read the interview below:



It’s been a banner year thus far for festival headliners Avenged Sevenfold. In addition to the band headlining the prestigious Download Festival in the U.K., and gearing up to release the expanded reissue of fan-favorite 2003 album “Waking the Fallen” next month, Avenged’s latest studio album “Hail to the King” in late 2013 soared to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart first-week; the album’s success mirrored around the world and continues with single “This Means War” impacting rock radio. The album was also notable in that it was the band’s first recorded work without founding drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, who passed away unexpectedly in 2009.

“Hail to the King” took some flak early on from Avenged die-hards in the fact that the album was a bit of a departure from the more frenetic early days of the band’s sound; here featuring a more polished “Metallica’s ‘Black Album’” vibe, settling nicely into meaty metal grooves in place of once violent screams from vocalist M. Shadows and metronome-melting rhythms. The band brushed off such criticism, not looking back in favor of what guitarist Synyster Gates calls a “very modern, progressive philosophy.”

“The Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Zeppelin influence comes through,” said Gates of the latest album’s riff-oriented feel. “We wanted to create space rather than just fill up every song with four bridges and three choruses and vocal harmonies everywhere, with guitar duels going on. The goal was to focus on the songwriting and the arrangements.”

Gates thinks that his band’s sense of songwriting has grown tremendously with the latest album. The record owes no small debt to the second wind breathed into the band after the passing of “The Rev” by new drummer Arin llejay, of whom Gates describes as “one of the most tasteful drummers I’ve heard in my life.”

“He’s got that caveman, barbaric huge groove philosophy that we were trying to go for on this record,” Gates admitted. “He’s really got it in his heart and soul. We took the approach of wanting a hungry young kid who could suddenly come out of nowhere and play in front of 50,000 people. He really stepped up.”

Make no mistake, though, “The Rev” is forever ingrained not only in the thoughts of fans, but within the band’s psyche as well, as Gates explained there’s a little bit of Sullivan that goes into every step the band takes even some five years later.

“It’s kind of like, ‘What would Jimmy do?’” he said. “He’s always with us. I remember once we were writing on his birthday, and we couldn’t figure out a chorus for a whole week. We did this different version, because Jimmy was always like ‘Oh yeah, just try this differently,’ and it came out right away. 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.”

“The Rev” is also remembered in the upcoming Avenged Sevenfold video game, to which the band is adding the final touches as of this writing. Designed specifically for mobile devices, “Hail to the King: Deathbat” will follow the band’s mascot, Deathbat, as he reclaims the underworld from the evil Dark Andronikos.

“His (Sullivan’s) parents gave us their blessing, so we put him in the game,” Gates said. “Once you unlock his character, you can use him as your comrade to help you through the levels.”

“We did the voiceovers when we were a little drunk,” Gates said with a laugh. “And we all wanted something different as a weapon. We gave Arin a double-side sword, and I have this little demon that runs around with me. When you use my magic powers, I do these dive-bombs that were recorded just for the game. Johnny (Christ, bassist) has this ‘hell sword’ that rains blood.”

“You just have to take one look out at that crowd and see that they’re alive and breathing,” he said. “Plus, we’ve got a bunch of friends on tour with us, like the Korn guys, so that really adds to it. We’re always excited to get out there and do it; our fans are great.”