The band have opened up about the reason behind their Beyoncé-style release. Frontman M. Shadows simply says on the matter, “A lot of it has to do with boredom.”
He continues to Rolling Stone, “Everyone else is dropping the breadcrumbs, having four or five singles before their record comes out. It completely takes away the mystique of the record; by the time it actually comes out, you've already done 50 interviews about what the record's about and is going to sound like. It's 2016; people's attention spans are so short at this point, who has time for three months of lead-up?”
However, unlike Beyoncé and fellow pop stars, deciding to surprise drop is riskier for a rock band. Why? Well, as Shadows explains to LA Times, rockers have lots of fans who like to buy physical copies, they pre-order—they get very into the hype.
Shadows elaborates, “But the biggest difference is that when Beyoncé comes out with something, she puts one Instagram photo out and she has 85 million people looking at that—whereas Avenged Sevenfold has 1 million.”
Avenged Sevenfold realized this risk before they made the decision to surprise drop and secretly stocked stores with The Stage.
“The compromise we made with Capitol, which has never been done before, is that we’ve actually snuck the record into stores. On Day One there’ll be a physical release as well as a digital—unlike Radiohead, where it took them six weeks, or Kanye, where he never released a physical,” Shadows explains to LA Times.
You heard that right—The Stage is available in stores right now. “The CDs are literally sitting in the back of Best Buy and other stores right now,” he says.
“You've got five guys over here who are very bored of that; so for us, it was about keeping the hype very short and sweet, and then executing on all levels. Here's the record—we spent a long time on it, and it's available for you now,” Shadows says to Rolling Stone about the decision to surprise release. “And now we can all learn about the record together, after you hear it, instead of hearing all these things about it as we're dribbling crumbs at you.
“We just said, 'No BS this time—we're just going to do everything that we want to do, from the live show to the merchandising, to how we present this thing and how we release it.'”
Here's how the surprise drop unfolded: last week, Avenged Sevenfold announced they would live-stream their Oct. 27 concert, which was to be held on a “grand stage.” At the end of that virtual reality performance, The Stage was—almost magically—unveiled.
The performance took place on top of Capitol Records' building in Hollywood, California—also marking their new deal with the record company. Previously, Avenged Sevenfold called Warner Bros. Records home.
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 was influenced by Shadows' scientific interest in artificial intelligence. In fact, world renown popular scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson makes a cameo on the track, “Exist.”
“The more I read about, the deeper down this rabbit hole I got, I thought, 'You know what? I really want to talk about this!',” Shadows says to Rolling Stone. “It's something that's going to be an issue in the future, for our kids and our kids' kids; and if we have a voice that can be screamed from the top of a mountain, I wanted this to be one of those things where we can maybe educate our fans a little bit – or maybe inspire them to educate themselves.”
He continues, “We wanted to write about artificial intelligence, not really in a sci-fi way, not in a Terminator sort of way, but in more in, like, a scientific way. The album is talking about things that are right around the corner that could potentially be changing the world.
“We have this yearning to know the answers to the big questions about space and why we're here; we can't evolve fast enough to figure these answers out on our own, but we can do it through artificial intelligence. But there's also some very scary downsides that could come if we don't put the right safety precautions in there,” Shadows concludes.
Stream The Stage here, and let us know what you think about the album, the surprise drop and the artificial intelligence influence in the comments.
Watch more: Trivium's Matt Heafy on how Avenged Sevenfold helped him get his voice back (literally)