Avenged Sevenfold Guitarist Names One Songwriting Practice He Hates on Band’s New Song

Avenged Sevenfold recently came out with a new episode of their TRAX podcast. In this new installment, the band’s members reflected on their brand-new song “Nobody” and the recently announced album “Life Is But a Dream.”

Guitarist Synyster Gates, also known by his real name Brian Haner Jr., discussed “Nobody” and some of its most noticeable traits. Discussing this new song, which got some attention for its somewhat unexpected style, Gates said (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“For me, it checked all the boxes. It’s a huge massive-sounding song. It kind of epitomizes… Maybe not in the exact tone and texture, but it epitomizes the new evolution of us. But it also bridges the big rock ‘n’ roll arena to stadium vibe.”

“That groove — it’s a timeless groove from [Led] Zeppelin to AC/DC to Metallica. And to kind of reinvent that groove, we felt was like pretty massive. It definitely intrigued us. From progressive types of guys, thrashier types of guys, or even like artsy avant-garde things like myself, it still satisfied those boxes.”

Discussing the song further, Gates also looked back on some of the song’s catchier elements, as well as M. Shadows’ vocal work on it. He continued:

“I also feel like the chorus is hooky. And, to be honest, it was always kind of going to be the single but it got more cemented as Matt’s [M. Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold vocalist] vocal approach kind of evolved.”

Avenged Sevenfold - Nobody (Official Video)

However, there seems to be one songwriting practice present in the song that he’s not generally fond of. Nonetheless, it seems to have worked in this case, as he explained:

“Because initially, we had the riff and I thought… [sings the main melody] And I hate writing melodies that fucking follow guitar riffs. It’s like a pet peeve of mine. But I just thought that it was baked in, I just thought it had that hookiness. But I didn’t think that Matt could sing that over and over. “

“So I thought maybe we’d try to redo… You know, make it right for a really shitty take of ‘Unbound (The Wild Ride)’ [from the 2007 self-titled album] where we end with kids singing.”


“Maybe if we tried to redo that Jay-Z ‘Hard Knock Life,’ let’s just crush it, let’s get the right kids on it, have this sort of group vocal that’s like Jay-Z ‘Hard Knock Life’ meets ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ [by Pink Floyd] or something like that.”

“And as he started singing that thing and writing lyrics and doing all that stuff, he came up with this lyric that… After so many songs, the lyrics were finished, I thought, as weird and crazy and unapologetic as the rest of the stuff was, I was a little taken aback at ‘I’m a God.’ It’s like ‘Damn, dude, that’s fucking crazy.'”

You can check out one section of the isolated vocal track in the embedded player below.

Avenged Sevenfold — "Nobody" isolated vocals part (+ Syn Gates Commentary)

Gates concluded by saying:

“It was just so massive. His voice is just such an incredible place and time right now. And it just really carried it. And then overlapping some of those things that we had the ideas for to have this kind of counterpart to it, the juxtaposition between the first chorus and the second chorus where it gets a little melodic, more emotional. And the first chorus is tough. As those things came together, it was… It just gave me chills.”

“Nobody” comes as the band’s first single from the upcoming long-awaited new album. With the single’s release earlier this month, March 14, also came the announcement that the new record will be titled “Life Is but a Dream” and that it comes out on June 2. This marks about seven years since their last album “The Stage” was released back in 2016.

Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage (Live From Hollywood)

Recently, the band has also announced the first leg of their tour in support of this new record. So far, we have only 13 dates spread throughout July and August. The shows are:

  • Jul. 18 – Camden, NJ – Freedom Mortgage Pavilion
  • Jul. 19 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
  • Jul. 21 – Québec City, QC – Videotron Centre
  • Jul. 22 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
  • Jul. 24 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Tire Centre
  • Jul. 26 – Clarkston, MI – Pine Knob Music Theatre
  • Jul. 28 – Tinley Park, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
  • Jul. 29 – Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
  • Jul. 31 – Winnipeg, MB – Canada Life Centre
  • Aug. 02 – Saskatoon, SK – SaskTel Centre
  • Aug. 04 – Edmonton, AB – Rogers Place
  • Aug. 05 – Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
  • Aug. 07 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena

After the band released “Nobody,” the reactions were mostly positive among the band’s fans. However, if you were to look at the bigger picture and see what a wider rock-loving population thinks, then you’d notice some negative reactions as well. This was mostly due to the song’s unconventional approach while some felt that M. Shadows’ vocals just weren’t good.

M.Shadows Studio Tracks

Nonetheless, whatever one may think of the piece, it’s obvious that this is a new direction for the band. Avenged Sevenfold also shared a statement not long after the song came out, explaining what we should bear in mind while having just one piece of the whole so far. They said:

“Avenged Sevenfold’s new album, ‘Life Is But A Dream’, is best served as a whole and consumed en masse to truly appreciate its musical breadth and sonic depth.

“Written and recorded over the span of 4 years, it was produced by Joe Barresi and Avenged Sevenfold in Los Angeles and mixed by Andy Wallace in the Poconos, PA. The album is a journey through an existential crisis; a very personal exploration into the meaning, purpose and value of human existence with the anxiety of death always looming.”

Photo: Altriascarlett13 (Avenged-sevenfold-synyster-gates)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.