Syn, Matt e Johnny intervistati da Press Enterprise

The Press Enterprise ha intervistato Synyster Gates, M. Shadows e Johnny Christ in vista della loro presenza sul palco del Mayhem Festival.

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Fifteen years after forming, Avenged Sevenfold is about to receive what is arguably the highest honor a heavy metal band can attain in the U.S. – a headlining spot at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.

The touring heavy metal concert, which also features Korn, Asking Alexandria, the Inland Empire’s own Suicide Silence and a dozen others, kicks off its annual national onslaught of screaming guitars at San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore on Saturday.

For Avenged Sevenfold, which includes singer M. Shadows, with bassist Johnny Christ, new drummer Arin Ilejay and guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance, the festival is a coronation on the heels of 2013’s “Hail to the King,” a heavy, hard-hitting album that is the Huntington Beach band’s biggest-sounding release yet.

Gates and Shadows spent a lot of time at each other’s homes listening to a variety of rock music, going back to the basics and artists that many of their heroes list as influences. They broke down as many tracks as they could, and Gates recalls having lengthy philosophical discussions about AC/DC and the Rolling Stones.

The idea, they say, was to strip everything back and simplify, cut out much of the dueling guitars, the Queen-style backing vocals.

“It was exciting to get back in the saddle and reassure ourselves that we could still do it,” Gates says. “We had such a clear vision of what we wanted with this record, (more) than we had on any other record before.”

“It was just all so simple,” Shadows continues. “But if you add one bad riff or just one bad little note, it just destroys everything. Those guys (AC/DC and the Stones) are geniuses at what they do because most bands can’t contain themselves – they have to (mess) it up. So we did our best not to (mess) it up.”

In Southern California, Avenged Sevenfold had been a well-known budding force since the dawn of the past decade, standing out among a slew of other Orange County-based heavy acts that are now hibernating or defunct: Atreyu, Bleeding Through, Thrice, Eighteen Visions.

“We’ve had some huge moments,” Gates says. “But we’ve always been on a steady, gentle, upward slope, and I think that keeps us grounded. There’s been no overnight success here and we haven’t dealt with a whole lot of hot and cold.”

“We’re lucky to have such great fans that have stood by us, let us be us and try new things,” Johnny Christ adds. “It’s a trip now that other bands are saying that they look up to us. In my mind I’m still 18 years old trying to emulate Pantera in my bedroom.

“But we’re starting to get to that ‘test of time’ area. Hopefully, we’ll get past that and become the band that stood the test of time. Right now we’re just cranking away while we still have youth in us.”