As a guest on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast, Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows had a wide-ranging conversation about music industry tactics and strategy. It included some commentary on the metal scene on the whole, which the singer is still confident in and supports, but understands there are things that can be done to improve its overall standing in the world.

"I think the purely metal scene is always going to be there," affirmed Shadows (transcription via Metal Injection), "It's always got a pulse."

"I don't think the innovation is there, and I don't think the ability for fans to have an open mind for when something is innovative, something is different. I think the great songwriting has kind of been lost a little bit," he offered, levying fair criticism, the latter part of which echoed Arch Enemy frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz's recent comments on the quality (or lack of quality) of songwriting in metal today.

One common question uttered by metal fans is, "Where is the next Metallica?" While this anecdote wasn't directly cited, Shadows acknowledged this loose fallacy when he said, "When Metallica came out there was nothing like that. It seems like a lot of bands in my generation are just treading the same waters of what Metallica has already done."

With no shortage of superstar musical talent out in the world, the frontman, asserted, "I think when you see great artists, a lot of them aren't in the metal scene. There's a lot of great art out there, and I would argue there are some amazing pop, some amazing hip-hop, some amazing R&B, and some artists that are doing truly eccentric stuff."

"You don't see it as much in metal, and I know there will be a bunch of metalheads that send me 50 things on Twitter after they hear this and you'll listen to it and you'll just kind of roll your eyes," he continued, "It's the same stuff and they're doing the same sort of vibe and I think that hurts metal in a way, because I think a lot of times it's just this regurgitated sound that people will praise, and then it goes away, because if you're not in the scene, you don't care and if it's something way outside the box it just gets the thumbs down right away and the gatekeepers kind of keep it behind closed doors and say, 'Well, we're going to forget about that. That's not metal,' and I think that hurts the scene."

Citing artist in the heavy music space that he feels are making innovative distinctions with their work, Shadows exclaimed, "I think nowadays though there's bands like System of a Down — obviously, they're not making music. They are truly a great band to me where they're making a different sound — there's band's like the Deftones, there's Ghost who are doing their own thing. There are these shining, bright moments, but overall as a scene you don't see the experimentation that I would love to see."

For years, Avenged Sevenfold have sought to find new ways to break traditional molds, at least within the realm of rock and metal, and they're continuing to trailblaze with their own exclusive NFT club and even pulling in influences from far outside the framework of metal for their next album, which finds inspiration in Kanye West and jazz music.

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