By Jon Wiederhorn

Who could have guessed the song and video Avenged Sevenfold released two weeks ago, “The Stage,” was the title track for their seventh album, which dropped at midnight last night (Oct. 28)? The record is the follow-up to Avenged Sevenfold’s 2013 release, Hail To The King, and was co-produced by the band and Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool).

The Stage is a concept album about artificial intelligence that features 11 songs inspired by the writings of Carl Sagan and Elon Musk. The album’s 15-minute-plus closing track, “Exist,” features a guest appearance by award-winning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson delivering a spoken word piece he wrote specifically for the album.

The campaign for the stealth arrival of The Stage began a few weeks ago with guerilla marketing efforts, in which the group’s “deathbat” symbol began appearing on landmarks around the world. Fans and media reported sightings and shared images from Paris, Sydney, London, Tokyo and Berlin and rumors about a December release began to spread.

The Stage marks the band’s first release with drummer Brooks Wackerman, who has played with Bad Religion, Tenacious D and Suicidal Tendencies.

This weekend, fans can pick up limited edition merch at pop-up shops in New York City and Los Angeles.


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