AVENGED SEVENFOLD has “surprise-released” THE STAGE, becoming the first-ever rock band to drop an unannounced album in both digital and physical form. THE STAGE, available HERE, is the band’s 7th studio album and first for Capitol Records.
The Southern California-based quintet (vocalist M. Shadows, guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer Brooks Wackerman) revealed the news at midnight eastern, surprising the millions of fans who were watching their live-streamed performance from the rooftop of the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, CA.
The groundbreaking event saw the band give a 3D/360-degree live-streamed virtual reality performance, enabling fans around the globe to view the show on Universal Music Group’s newly released VRTGO VR platform, powered by VRLIVE’s advanced technology, and experience Avenged Sevenfold’s electrifying set as if they were there for this first-of-its-kind immersive event.
HE STAGE is the follow-up to Avenged Sevenfold’s 2013 release, Hail To The King, which entered The Billboard 200 at No. 1. Co-produced by the band and Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool), THE STAGE is a work of immense scope and ambition, featuring 11 panoramic tracks tied together by an Artificial Intelligence theme. Inspired by the writings of Carl Sagan and Elon Musk, the album is the band’s first thematic release. While the term “AI” conjures up images of robots and fantasy films, the band steers clear of a science fiction storyline. Instead, the album sees them taking a futurist’s look at the accelerated rate at which technology’s intelligence is expanding and what that means—good and bad—for the future.
The album’s epic 15-minute-plus closing track, “Exist,” features a guest appearance by award-winning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson giving a spoken word performance he penned specifically for the album.
Two weeks ago, the band released a companion video for lead single/title track “The Stage.” Directed by Chris Hopewell (Radiohead, The Killers), the clip has already amassed well over six million YouTube views. The album also marks the band’s first release with acclaimed drummer Brooks Wackerman, known for his work with Bad Religion and whose discography also includes albums from Tenacious D and Suicidal Tendencies.