Let’s be real: if you consider yourself a metalhead but have never listened or gotten into bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, or Pantera, most people will say that something went seriously wrong with your upbringing and then proceed to throw albums at your face. With that in mind, Avenged Sevenfold’s new drummer, Arin Ilejay, apparently needed to be acquainted with such legends by his new bandmates. In a recent interview with Revolver, Frontman M. Shadows said of Ilejay:
“A lot of it’s been us refreshing him on what our influences are and where we’re coming from as a band. There’s a lot of things that he was never brought up on that we have to quickly get him acquired to such as Pantera and Metallica and Slayer and Megadeth and we’re introducing him to these records that were literally the biggest records when we were growing up. Just records that you have to know. He’s much younger and he grew up listening to Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine, ya know? So it’s a completely different generation and it makes me feel old to even talk about it.
Right now, we’re handing him [Pantera‘s] Far Beyond Driven and [Metallica‘s] Master of Puppets and saying, “Learn these albums. You need to learn these things” because when we’re talking about “groove metal,” we’re not talking about some Warped Tour band. We’re talking about fucking Pantera! We’re talking about Black Sabbath, ya know? So we’re getting him acquired to that and I think he’s learning really quickly what we’re looking for. We’re not looking for an overly technically proficient drummer. We’re looking for a guy that knows how to fit the song and be in the groove and play the right thing in the right moment. It’s been cool. It’s been good. He’s been doing really, really well.
It kind of flummoxes us how anyone in any metal band could not be familiar with the likes of Metallica or Black Sabbath, even if Master of Puppets came out two years before he was born. We know that Ilejay has some shoes to fill, and that’s always a challenge. But a metal drummer who is unfamiliar with Bill Ward, Vinnie Paul Abbott, or Dave Lombardo has some serious studying to do. Here’s to hoping that Ilejay ends up liking his “homework.”