Avenged Sevenfold are back with The Stage, an album that has music fans buzzing. The disc delves into themes of artificial intelligence and includes a number of epic tracks that have expanded the band's sound even further. It's definitely a different and more nuanced album than Hail to the King, and there likely won't be as many comparisons to Metallica, like there were with their last disc.

The band has long been fans of Metallica, but took some criticism in 2013 when Hail to the King drew a number of comparisons to the legendary metal band, especially from Machine Head's Robb Flynn, who bashed Avenged Sevenfold openly. During our recent chat with Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows, the singer admitted that Hail to the King was "a little too close to Metallica," but he's happy to be back with a new disc near the same time that Metallica are releasing their album Hardwired .. To Self-Destruct, saying this time that Avenged sound "completely different" than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame metal act.

"I'm glad that we can add something new to the fold that Metallica's not going to bring to the table, and they're going to do what they do. Instead of last time where our record was a little too close to Metallica, I'm glad that people are going to have a huge spectrum of music to listen to, and all of it sounds completely different from each other," says the vocalist.

As far as the two huge bands releasing new albums around the same time, Shadows adds, "I think that there's something really cool about that. You know, a newer band pushing to some new boundaries, Metallica is just a classic legendary band who's obviously going to put out a great record. So to me, it's just awesome. I think it's great for metal fans and I wish I was 15 again to enjoy it." Shadows also cited Korn's recently released The Serenity of Suffering album as another big new disc for fans to check out.

And speaking of enjoying music, Avenged Sevenfold have been pulling out all the stops for their fans with The Stage. They recently played a streaming 3D, 360-degree concert for fans from the top of the Capitol Records building and have been turning up at pop-up stores and working to create unique merchandising to support the new disc.

Stay tuned for our in-depth interview with Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows about The Stage album, its surprise release and the band's plans for upcoming promotion of the disc.

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