Avenged Sevenfold with Deftones, Ghost B.C.
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight
Where: CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St.
Tickets: $18.50 to $73 at Ticketmaster.com, the CenturyLink Center box office, Ticketmaster retail locations or by phone at 800-745-3000
Information: Centurylinkcenteromaha.com or 402-341-1500
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Avenged Sevenfold is the biggest metal band in the world right now.
“Hail to the King,” the California group's most recent record, is its second in a row to be Billboard's top album, and its new tour, which comes to CenturyLink Center Omaha tonight, “comes equipped with enough firepower to ensure that they won't be ignored,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Before the show, we spoke to drummer Arin Ilejay, who joined the band after original drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan died of an overdose in 2009.
Q. How has the tour been going?
A. The shows keep getting better and better. On the stage, it's way easier to play now. We have this new set, and we have to get comfortable with places to run. There's a lot more fire and more danger on the set.
Q. Have there been any close calls?
A. Not quite. In the beginning, the guys wouldn't come up near my drum set. Between me and the rest of the stage and the guys, there's these grates on the ground that has fires shooting up like 10 feet in the air. They're walls of fire. For a time, the guys didn't even feel comfortable coming up near my drum set. They didn't want to get toasted.
We even have a red light-green light on the side of the stage. Red light means, “Don't go up towards my kit.”
Q. Avenged Sevenfold took a year off before making “Hail to the King.” Did everyone need a break?
A. Yeah. Everybody just kinda chilled. Some guys did some surfing. Shadows just had a baby. I just got married. All of us went off to do some major personal missions and came back successful in the end. It was definitely a well-needed time off to kind of soak in what we just accomplished.
Then with the writing of the album, we put in as much work as possible. Everybody definitely had a nice breather, and then it was straight to the grinder.
Q. How do you guys write. Does it start with a riff or a beat?
A. It's really a lot of concept-type stuff. A lot of it is done by sitting in the studio. Everybody comes with their own part or their own thing, and then we bring it together. “This will go with that.” Or, “Oh, that's not what we're going for.”
Q. There's a big classic rock influence on “Hail to the King.” Where did that come from?
A. It's an evolution of what the band wants. A lot of it had to do with growing up. At a young age, they wanted to show their interest, and their interest was deeply in hard-core. They had a bit of an awakening and said, “Let's look back at our roots. What do we want to do? We really want to be heard everywhere, and we want to play everywhere.”
So we asked, “What do the greats do? What are the bands that are still touring today that we loved as kids?” And those are bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden. Avenged Sevenfold wants to be a classic band, and we wanted to make a classic record that really explodes.