California-based heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold announced that they have parted ways with their drummer, Arin Ilejay.
Prior to joining Avenged Sevenfold in 2011 – replacing the late James “The Rev” Sullivan, who passed away in December 2009 – Ilejay was a member of Confide.
Ilejay made his Avenged Sevenfold studio-recording debut on the band’s sixth album, Hail To The King. Hail To The King sold “159,000 copies in its first week of release,” according to Blabbermouth. And, in doing so, it gave the group their “second straight chart-topper” after Nightmare, which was released in 2010.
The drummer’s contributions to the Avenged Sevenfold sound helped to steer the writing and recording process for Hail To The King.
“Being that if was a riff-oriented record, we went in for a few days and made sure we had some things that were appealing to the ear,” Avenged Sevenfold guitarist Synyster Gates told MusicRadar.com, according to Blabbermouth. “Then one of us would get behind the drums and jam it out. All of us can play drums a little bit, but we’re certainly not on Arin’s level, so he’d come in to show us what a real drummer can do and how the things would sound when played all-out. Hearing him made us either say, ‘Hmm, that riff can be a little better,’ or, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. We’ll definitely base a song around that.'”
And, what did the drummer think of his own playing and overall approach to the drum parts that appear on Hail To The King?
Well, Blabbermouth reported that in an interview with MusicRadar.com, Ilejay stated: “’On ‘Hail To The King‘, along with all of our fans, I thought I was going to be writing the craziest drum parts for that record, something to fill the shoes of The Rev. But the band wanted me to create my own sound and legacy. They wanted me to dumb it down and play caveman-like and spaced out, with big fills that support the music. I was bummed out about that at first, but it helped to have heard drummers like Lars [Ulrich of Metallica]. For the next album, we have kicked around the idea of having some crazy fills.’”
The band posted the following statement on their official website, which addressed Ilejay’s departure, and included the members of Avenged Sevenfold speaking highly of Ilejay’s contributions to the band. Additionally, the post revealed that the band members felt that they needed to move “in a different direction” creatively.
In full, it reads:
“Hello Everyone –
We are writing this to inform you all that we will be moving forward without Arin Ilejay as our drummer. Arin has been nothing but a positive energy and monster drummer for us over the past 4 years. We love the guy and always will. We are and will always be grateful to him for helping us to move forward through some very dark times. Creatively though, we felt we needed to move in a different direction. While we can’t say more at this time, we are excited for the future and looking forward to sharing our plans soon with the greatest fans in the world. As always we appreciate your understanding and unwavering support.
With Love –
Matt, Zack, Brian, Johnny”
At this time, Avenged Sevenfold has not named a replacement for Ilejay.