Avenged Sevenfold are back! The band remained noncommittal in interviews regarding when the progress on their latest record, building up anticipation over recent weeks with sightings of the band's Deathbat mascot around the world. A possibly accidental tweet also set up the possibility of a 2016 release and now its clear the band are ready to go with the lengthy new song "The Stage" and an expertly-crafted music video which can be viewed above.

The song is a departure from the melodic, hard rock focus of Hail to the King returning a bit more to their battle-tested sound found on hit records like City of Evil and Nightmare. The video opens up circling a tent with tattered, circus-styled cloth hanging down from the entrance to a stage backed by atmospheric keyboards. A spotlight guitar lick quickly takes over with rollicking drums boiling to a head as the rest of the band come in with sustained power chords.

With some more shredding taking place, the verse finally arrives as M. Shadows exclaims, "So I arrived, naked and cold..." and its clear a detailed narrative is in play. A crowd files into the small tent and a marionette puppet show loosely follows the moods present within the lyrics, depicting violent scenes throughout history. Shadows hits on certain elements of humanity throughout the song, coupled with the soulless outlook of being a puppet onstage forced to entertain the crowd.

"The Stage" can be downloaded through iTunes or streamed through Spotify and Apple Music here.

While the title of the album will be revealed during a special live event on Oct. 27, fans have surmised it will be called Voltaic Oceans following a quickly rescinded tweet from Chris Jericho, who first leaked the news of a new A7X record arriving in December.

The band has also launched a Deathbot website where fans can type questions that are answered by the floating skull. Entering "Voltaic Oceans" yields the response, "I bet you feel like the smartest ape."

With other details unknown at this moment, one thing that can be confirmed is that this album will arrive on Capitol Records. Avenged Sevenfold managed to sever their contract with Warner Bros, citing constant staff turnover as the impetus.

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