Avenged Sevenfold paved new ground for hard rock bands by releasing their most recent album, The Stage, as a surprise. An increasingly common practice in the R&B and pop worlds, Avenged Sevenfold went to great lengths to tease fans with hopes of new music while simultaneously keeping the surprise album under wraps.

Now, frontman M. Shadows has opened up about how his band kept The Stage a secret—and also about their former label Warner Bros.' greatest hits album, The Best Of 2005-2013.

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“That was the difficult part. We had a bunch of smoke screen-type of scenarios that we were playing through our heads. We knew the days that certain corporate accounts were going to have to put it up on the internet, and even though we were able to take those down, we knew there would be some leakage on certain dates,” Shadows says to Forbes about setting up the surprise release.

He goes on to mention the Chris Jericho post—in which the wrestler announced a fake release date for fake album Voltaic Oceans on Instagram. Jericho took the post down, looking like the guy who blew it—when it was actually all part of the plan.

”That gave us time to take down all the real release date information, but then we also put in fake info. Like, labeling on the CD’s, and we had fake Best Buy workers posting things on Reddit that said, ‘The release came today, and it’s not out until December. Here’s a picture of the box,’” Shadows continues to Forbes. “We had all these smoke screens up that took people’s attention away from the reality that the CD was unmarked sitting in their truck, or in the back of their store. It was pretty crazy that nothing leaked earlier, but there were a lot of things going on to hide the fact that it was there.”

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In Jericho’s post, he falsely said Avenged Sevenfold's new album would release on Dec. 9. Soon after, Avenged Sevenfold’s previous label, Warner Bros., announced that the band’s greatest hits album would release on Dec. 2.

Shadows, in a new interview with 101.1 WJRR, says, “No—we’re not promoting that [Warner’s greatest hits release] at all. That has nothing to do with us. They basically saw the date that Chris put up, and, from what we understand, they were trying to undercut our new record, so they were trying to put it out the week before.

“And as childish as things can be behind the scenes with lawyers and stuff, as I’m sure you can imagine, this is childish on a whole new level,” he continues. “You’re going to try to put this record out right before our new record to undercut us and try to confuse the casual fan, like ‘is this the new record or is that the new record?’—or parents buying stuff for Christmas.”

He goes on, “It’s just really childish. It doesn’t even have a good pick of songs. It is what it is—a record label digging themselves in a deeper hole as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t look good to other bands who are potentially going to sign there and it doesn’t looks good to fans.”

Listen to the interview below.

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Avenged Sevenfold are currently in a legal battle with Warner Bros., who have accused the band of breaching their contract with the company. In return, Avenged Sevenfold are citing California's "seven-year rule," which allows a party to leave a personal service contract after seven years. The case will head to trial in 2017.

With The Stage, Avenged Sevenfold became the first band ever to surprise release an album online and in stores. It went on to chart at No. 4.

Avenged Sevenfold live-streamed their concert on top of Capitol Records' building in Hollywood on Oct. 27. At the end of the performance, Avenged Sevenfold announced The Stage. Not only is The Stage the band's first album on Capitol—but it's also their first with new drummer Brooks Wackerman.

The Stage follows-up 2013's Hail To The King, which followed-up 2010's Nightmare. Forming in 1999, Avenged Sevenfold's discography spans seven albums from 2001 to 2016. Listen to The Stage here.

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