How Synyster Gates’ Present for M.Shadows’ First Child Made Avenged Sevenfold’s New Album
Some songs are immediately turned around for new albums, while others have a storied lifetime before making the cut, but with Avenged Sevenfold's Life Is But a Dream... album, the closing title track has an unexpected story that was never initially envisioned to be part of any record.
While speaking with Kerrang!, M. Shadows shared the tale of how a musical present gifted to he and his wife upon the birth of their first child has now turned into the Synyster Gates piano-centric instrumental that closes out their latest album.
First off, you read that right. The guitarist turns pianist for the album closer, going through years of practicing multiple hours a day in order to accomplish his performance. And given that he had learned on his one specific piano where he felt most comfortable, producer Joe Barresi was then tasked with building a studio around the piano in Gates' home to record the song, per Kerrang!.
But about that special present, “Brian wrote it on MIDI – on a programme – for my first son’s birth, so it was 10 years ago, almost 11 years ago,” M. Shadows explains. “And he sent it to me and Val [Matt’s wife], and I fucking loved it. I would listen to it – the MIDI version – every night on headphones."
The singer continued, "With this record being so weighty and emotional, for the end of it I was imagining The Shining, where Jack Nicholson’s at the bar and he’s talking to the people that had been there before him and they’re all dead. I was thinking of that scene and this one simple piano: just raw, bare piano. And I convinced him that it needed to be on the end of the record.”
When asked about the request to turn the song into an actual Avenged Sevenfold composition, Gates says, “I was both deeply honored and deeply concerned!”
“I don’t suffer from much embarrassment these days (laughs), but I had a touch of embarrassment because it’s like a ‘look at me’ moment. It kind of fucked me up," admits the guitarist. "I’m so thankful that I had the support to put a fucking meandering piano piece that I wrote and played on an Avenged Sevenfold record. I mean, who could ask for better friends and better bandmates? I can’t express how grateful I am to have that type of support.”
You'll be able to hear the "Life Is But a Dream" title track when the new album arrives on June 2. Pre-orders are available at this location, and you can look for the band out on tour now in support of the album. Get your Avenged Sevenfold tickets here.