Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows

You know you've arrived when your band is part of one of the world's most popular video games. Avenged Sevenfold was asked by the creators of the shoot-em-up extravaganza Call of Duty: Black Ops to come up with a song for an expansion map for the latest installment. The band jumped at the chance, particularly vocalist M. Shadows who is an avid gamer. We spoke to him recently to find out all about how the new song "Not Ready to Die" (available on iTunes now) came about.

antiMusic: How did you get connected with the Call of Duty game?

M. Shadows: Anyone that knows me, knows I am a big time gamer. From when I was young and got my first NES I could always be found playing video games. Once Xbox Live was created, it opened a whole new world to me. Competing online was such an awesome experience. So it turned out that our A&R guy, Craig at Warner Brothers, was friends with Mark Lamia over at Treyarch. He knew I was a big fan of the franchise and especially that game, so he made the introduction. I went down to Treyarch where they created the game and got to see all the ins and outs. Shortly after my visit, we got a call asking if we wanted to do an original song for the "Call of the Dead" zombies map pack. The rest is history.

antiMusic: Are you all fans of the game? Are the band serious gamers or just occasional players?

M. Shadows: We are all fans of the game, but not all of us play. Gates does not have a gaming console, but I see Zacky playing Black Ops a lot online. Johnny is more of a DJ Hero type of guy. The Rev used to play MW2 back in the day online. I am the most hardcore gamer in the group by far -- I put a lot of time in on Call of Duty.

antiMusic: What are your favorite parts (levels) or editions of the game?

M. Shadows: My fav part of Black Ops is the fact that they made it an extremely competitive game. I felt MW2 was too lethal, it took away the skill of a gun battle. There are people that are fans of that style of gaming, but I prefer what Black Ops did to the game. I feel they are very aware and attentive to the community as well. They listen and fix glitches immediately. Not only did they get the game to a competition level, but they added a competition Playlist, which is all I play when I'm not doing GameBattles. It's a very pure version of the game. Also, the amount of content they put out for the Zombies fans is incredible. You couldn't ask for more.

antiMusic: What was your reaction when asked to write a song?

M. Shadows: I was very excited. It's not often that you get asked to do something that you really want to do. We were just proud to be associated with the game.

antiMusic: Did you have an idea right away that you thought would fit or did you have to work it up from scratch?

M. Shadows: We worked from scratch, but I definitely knew I wanted it to have a Castlevania type vibe melodically. We threw the kitchen sink at it. Our goal was to make it pump you up while killing endless hordes of Zombies.

antiMusic: How long did the song take to come together?

M. Shadows: 1 week and 3 days to record it. We didn't have much time, since we were in between tours.

antiMusic: Did you go by the storyboards fairly closely or just go with a song that would fit the overall vibe?

M. Shadows: We went with the storyboards. It was fun. We have a lot of respect for the Zombies community and wanted it to fit in with the story so far. I did a lot of back and forth with the people at Treyarch to make sure the lyrics worked for the story, without giving away too much of the future.

antiMusic: How much input did Treyarch have with regards to the song? Any special requests?

M. Shadows: They said do whatever you want. They said it could be a ballad if that's what we wanted to do. They were happy that we wanted the lyrics to make sense with the story though.

antiMusic: Is the expansion map actually available to consumers now? If so, have you played it yet?

M. Shadows: Yes, I was actually playing "COTD" with Matt Tuck from Bullet for My Valentine yesterday backstage and we unlocked the song.

antiMusic: Would you say that "Not Ready to Die" accelerates body counts for zombies?

M. Shadows: I guarantee it.

antiMusic: What's the longest stretch you've ever gone playing Call of Duty?

M. Shadows: Probably 16 hours.

antiMusic: What other favorite video games does the band play?

M. Shadows: I play Mortal Kombat, Zelda, Mario, Halo, Golden Eye 007, Bust a Move, Street Fighter 2, Double Dragon, Robot Unicorn, and many others. I think Johnny plays a lot of DJ hero.

Morley and antiMusic thank M. Shadows for taking the time to do this interview.


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