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Avenged Sevenfold at Comerica Park, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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It’s been an eventful year for Avenged Sevenfold.

The group surprise released its seventh studio album, “The Stage,” at the end of October, five years after its predecessor, “Hail To The King.” The southern California metal group toured overseas and is now on the road with Metallica. And last month it began rolling out additional songs -- mostly covers -- that it recorded during “The Stage” sessions and are now being used to expand the album as a kind of living entity.

And, according to frontman M. Shadows, there’s plenty more to come...

• With a brand new album to promote, Shadows (real name Matt Sanders) notes that A7X had to think for a second before agreeing to this summer’s support slot with Metallica. “Lars (Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer) called me a few times to talk about this,” Shadows, 35, says by phone. “I said, ‘Dude, we just spent, like, a million dollars on just building our stage and now we’re getting this call? We haven’t played one show yet (in the U.S.) and this is gonna have to sit in storage? But the more we thought about it, what rock bands besides AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, who gets to play in stadiums in 2017? So for me it’s one of those things where the positives outweigh the negatives so much. Why not be part of the biggest rock tour of the summer and just make it awesome for the fans, and then we can go do our thing later.”

• Now that the Metallica tour is on the road, of course, Shadows and company are having no second thoughts. “It’s been unbelievable,” he says. “Just playing all of these famous football stadiums has been a highlight for me. They’re such a powerhouse, and it’s great to watch them every night.”

• “The Stage” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 -- and No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums, Top Hard Rock Albums and Top Alternative Albums charts -- but Shadows acknowledges that the unconventional roll-out has made for something of a struggle ever since. “I think rock fans were more skeptical of the surprise release than I expected them to be,” Shadows says. “Obviously it works in the (pop) mainstream a little better than it does in rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of our fans were like, ‘Why are you doing a surprise release? Is there something wrong with the record?’ sort of thing. We go to shows and people are talking about our new record and I find out they’re talking about (2013’s) ‘Hail To The King.’ They don’t even know we have a new record. I don’t really know what to think about what we did at this point.”

• That hasn’t dampened the group’s appetite for trying things outside the box, however. “I think it was a fun experiment,” Shadows says, “and I think there are ways to experiment with releasing music. Maybe it’s EPs or releasing singles all the time or records as more of a special occasion sort of thing. But at this point I’m still trying to figure it all out myself so, yeah, I don’t really have a good answer. I think we had some fun and we took a chance on it and I don’t know how it’s going to play out to this day. But I’d do it again.”

• Among those experiments is the additional tracks A7X is releasing this summer -- so far versions of the Mexican favorite “Malaguena Salerosa” and a cover of Mr. Bungle’s “Retrovertigo,” with more slated for the coming weeks. This was all put into motion when we made the original recording for ‘The Stage,’ so it all feels cohesive,” Shadows says “We put out The Stage and let it sink in for seven months, and now we can add to that piece of work. This way, throughout the cycle you’ll be able to hear new music while going back to the original album. The idea of turning an album into a living piece of art and adding new installations is really intriguing. It expands the journey.”

If You Go

• Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat

• 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 12.

• Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

• Some tickets are available, $76.50-$160.50.

• Call 313-962-4000 or visit olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: olympiaentertainment.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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