Old-school hard rockers Avenged Sevenfold reached the top 30 of The Billboard 200 with their 2005 major-label debut, "City of Evil," and they're presently holed up in a Burbank, Calif., studio trying

Old-school hard rockers Avenged Sevenfold reached the top 30 of The Billboard 200 with their 2005 major-label debut, "City of Evil," and they're presently holed up in a Burbank, Calif., studio trying to top it. The as-yet-untitled effort is expected in October via Warner Bros.

"It's very groove-oriented," frontman M. Shadow says of the new sound. "On 'City of Evil' we had so much going on-the drums were going a million miles an hour and everything was [at level] 10 at all times with really crazy arrangements."

This time around, a greater concern was placed on creating a melody rather than ultra-heavy music that lashes out all over the place. One track that exemplifies this departure Shadow describes as a "Hotel California"-type of song layered with various guitar textures and backed by a gospel choir. Elsewhere, "Scream" is a headbanger filled with an "AC/DC swagger" and chromatic scale loops, and the working-titled "Gun Slinger" begins with an acoustic slide guitar before erupting into a heavy thrasher.

As for outside pressure to up the ante on the new album, Shadow says the band didn't feel much stress. "We write what we really feel in our hearts," he says. "The label didn't push us. We took six months to write, and we wrote every single day and just drained everything out of us. At the end of the day, we were 100 percent happy."

So far, Avenged has finished recording 13 songs, with four more tracks still in the works. Shadow says the band will be done mixing the self-produced set by Aug. 1 before embarking on a tour of Asia five days later.

He adds that the band intends on touring over the two years following the album's release, with plans to hit the U.S., Australia, Europe and South America. A number of free or small, unannounced shows will also predate the album's release.

Additionally, as previously reported, July 17 will see the release of "All Excess," a DVD that documents the band's journey since its formation in 1999. Along with live clips and behind-the-scenes footage, the DVD will include music videos and a pull-out poster. "Basically, it's everything you ever wanted to know about our band and our friendship," Shadow says.

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