Now that Avenged Sevenfold have completed the most exciting album campaign of the year, vocalist M. Shadows sat down to discuss the finer points of The Stage, which is out today via Capitol Records. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Shadows talks about working with Chris Jericho to throw everyone off, recruiting Neil deGrasse Tyson for a monologue and more.

Avenged called on Fozzy frontman and wrestling legend Chris Jericho to help throw people off. In an Instagram post which was quickly deleted, Jericho “accidentally leaked” the album title Voltaic Oceans and a Dec. 9 release date. Is it possible that even Warner Bros., Avenged’s former label, planned the release of a greatest hits record around Jericho’s post?

“I learned about the Warner album for the first time last Friday, the same as you,” says Shadows. “That was a surprise to us, but this whole thing was put into motion back in August. Chris Jericho did a fake [Instagram] post about this album coming out on December 9th, just to throw people off; he and I were laughing about it the other day, because everyone picked up on it like it was fact.”

The Stage tackles lyrical themes on artificial intelligence and outer space, so Avenged wanted to add even more depth by adding audio of late scientist Carl Sagan reading an excerpt from The Pale Blue Dot. After running into a wall with Sagan’s estate, A7X reached out to famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“We explained to him that we wanted to educate our fans,” Shadows describes, “and we wanted to a voice of science in another art form, and he was like, ‘Yep – if it's for education, let's do it!’ He asked us to read through a bunch of essays that he'd used at the Hayden Planetarium, and find any portions that we wanted him to take and expand on. We found some stuff we liked, and went back and forth on the phone with him about it to the point where we were all happy with it, and then he laid it down for us.”

Avenged Sevenfold’s The Stage album is now available at the retail outlets and streaming services listed here. Check out some exclusive photos from Avenged’s Capitol Records building performance below!

Avenged Sevenfold Give Fans One-of-a-Kind Show Atop Capitol Records Building [Photos]

10 Unforgettable Avenged Sevenfold Moments

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