Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows on “Mad Hatter”, Vocal Recovery and New Album Plans

"I just got the OK to start light singing again"

Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold, photo by Kameron Pollock

    After some online teases, Avenged Sevenfold released the new song “Mad Hatter” earlier this week as their contribution to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, marking the fourth time the band has contributed a track the video game series.

    The new song will be released this Friday as part of the Black Reign EP, which compiles all of the band’s Call of Duty: Black Ops tracks: “Mad Hatter”, “Not Ready To Die” (Black Ops I). “Carry On” (Black Ops II) and “Jade Helm” (Black Ops III).

    Earlier this summer, Avenged Sevenfold were forced to cancel their tour with Prophets of Rage and Three Days Grace after it was revealed that a viral infection had damaged M. Shadows’ vocal cords and rendered him unable to sing,


    Still on vocal rest, Shadows took the time to answer a few of our questions via email, touching on the new song, his vocal recovery, progress on a new Avenged album, and more. See his answers below:

    “Mad Hatter” is the fourth song Avenged Sevenfold has provided to the Call of Duty: Black Ops video game series. What is it about A7X’s music and the Black Ops video game series that make it such a great marriage?

    The only thing I can think of is that we’re all fans of each other’s work. They know we’re huge fans of their games and that we put a lot of work and time into making sure that the music kicks ass. We want the game to succeed so there’s a lot of passion that goes into these songs.

    Can you talk specifically about the inspiration behind the song “Mad Hatter” and how it relates to Black Ops 4?

    We took inspiration from John B. McLemore’s story in the ‘S-Town’ podcast. It seemed to fit and create an image of hallucinating and mercury poison. The images we were shown made me contemplate what it would feel like to go insane. Very scary stuff and I thought it fit well.


    It’s been nearly two years since the release of Avenged Sevenfold’s last album The Stage. Did recording “Mad Hatter” get the wheels turning on more new music for the next album?

    The wheels are always turning. I love the relationship we have with Joe Barresi. He makes it so easy to go in and record stuff quickly. We’re in the earliest stages of writing now. I have no clue when we will be finished.

    How are you recovering after vocal cord issues forced the band to cancel its summer tour? And are there plans to make up the dates in 2019?

    I’m doing good. I just got the OK to start light singing again. I’m excited to get the cords back in shape. We’ll be going back to those cities at some point but they won’t be a part of “The Stage” tour.


    2019 will mark the 20th anniversary of Avenged Sevenfold. First, did you imagine you’d be where you are now when you first started? And second, if there’s one career highlight in those 20 years, what would it be?

    We were young kids. I don’t think we were imagining much then other than getting enough money to buy gas to get to the next Warped Tour show. It’s pretty surreal. The career highlight for me is headlining Download Festival in the UK. Beautiful festival and beautiful fans.


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