Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows admitted in a new interview that the band has “mixed feelings” about the Number Four debut of its new album, The Stage, on the Billboard 200 album chart earlier this week. The surprise release of the disc, which was announced the night it went on sale, earned the lowest sales of an Avenged Sevenfold album in 11 years. It sold 76,000 copies in its first week, 73,000 of which were physical.

Shadows told Inc., “We have mixed feelings right now. We know we could have done a boring lead-up and taken the number one spot. When you do a three-month buildup, you roll pre-orders, singles, etc. into your first week. The way we did it, our numbers are just for one week. Like Kanye: his first week numbers were low compared to what they could have been had he done the traditional release.”

  • Shadows continued, “It’s mixed feelings, but I’m very excited to be doing new things. I would be depressed if we had done the old buildup process. That feels very 2009. Right now we have an album that sold less copies in its first week than the last one. And that’s okay: you can’t break the rules and expect the same result.”
  • The singer told us that the band did the surprise release partially out of a desire to let fans hear it and form their own opinions: [“It’s almost like the jury has already, you know, decided if they like a record or not before it even comes out, because there’s so many reviews and opinions. And we just wanted people to hear it for themselves and make their own opinions.”] 
  • The Stage, Avenged’s debut for Capitol Records, sold less than half as many copies in its first week as the group’s two previous efforts, 2010’s Nightmare and 2013’s Hail To The King.
  • The group made the album available at midnight on October 27th with almost no promotion beforehand, save for the arrival of a new song one week earlier.
  • Avenged Sevenfold is also locked in a legal battle with its former label, Warner Bros. Records, over what the label claims is a breach of contract. The relatively soft sales of The Stage could reduce the damages that the band may have to pay to Warner if the label wins its case.