The death of  Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan in 2009 left many Avenged Sevenfold fans to question the band’s future. Although his charisma, technical abilities, and extraordinary talent will be remembered as remarkable assets, he (as most people are) is certainly replaceable. Arin Ilejay became the permanent guy for the job earlier this year and is without a doubt rising to the challenge. My ears are enjoying his contribution, but my eyes are not adjusting to it yet. Now, I’m not suggesting he should change his look. I listen more with my ears than my eyes – just need to get used to it. Seeing shots of the band without The Rev is just bizarre. I’m almost reminded of  Van Halen photos during the Gary Cherone era (Where did the singers with long blonde hair go?). Dare I even mention the Asian dude who joined INXS??? In A7X’s case, they are still early in a career that has every reason to be very prosperous. They have had a few hits, but may quite possibly find their best years are before them. All major business entities have to rebrand to get better, and that’s exactly what is happening in this band. Although it is indisputably different, it’s not necessarily a step backwards. I’m already sold on the guys skills and am very excited to see how it works out.

Avenged Sevenfold released the music video for So Far Away yesterday, which is said to be a tribute to The Rev. The track is described in a press statement as a “very personal goodbye” to their late drummer. It was recorded by The Rev’s idol, ex-Dream Theater drummer, Mike Portnoy who recorded all of the drum tracks on the latest A7X album “Nightmare“. Portnoy also toured with the band through 2010, but didn’t turn out to be a permanent fit. Ilejay is working out perfectly according to Guitarist, Synyster Gates who told Pulse of Radio, “He’s unbelievable. He’s 22 years old, and he’s just a sweet, young, awesome kid. He shreds, he’s amazing, and it’s really made us feel certainly very excited to give him this opportunity.” I think this kid is living the dream and will prove to be the answer the band was looking for. The “Welcome to the Family” tour goes through July, in which Ilejay will travel the world with his new band. Best of luck Arin, and welcome to the family!

Check out the new So Far Away video and more on the A7X website.

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