Album: The Stage (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • Avenged Sevenfold close their The Stage album with this 15-minute musical interpretation of the Big Bang. Frontman M. Shadows explained the story behind the song to Rolling Stone:

    "The song came from the idea of wanting to replicate the Big Bang in a heavy-metal sort of way, like, 'OK, this is what it would have sounded like when this happened!' It's like a huge classical piece. We love Gustav Holst's The Planets, but no one's really hit the Big Bang, so we did it! I wanted it to be all instrumental, and then Brian [guitarist Synyster Gates] was like, 'Well, I think there should be some vocals on it.' So we ended up with a compromise where it's like, 'OK, when the vocals come in, that's Earth – that's the first time that life starts after the cooling-down period of the Big Bang."
  • The song concludes with a guest appearance by acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who delivers a spoken word piece about the plight of mankind, which he wrote specifically for the album. M. Shadows told Billboard magazine how the collaboration came about:

    "At the end of the song, we wanted to put a little cherry on the top. So we reached out to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s people, and he called us back, and he’d always claimed he was willing to do things as long as it involved education. So we kind of pitched it to him as we wanted to educate our fans; maybe they’ll want to go out and learn more about this stuff. And he actually hit us back and gave me a call and he was in.

    He wrote that essay for us, and it’s very interesting. I don’t think there are very many astrophysicists on heavy metal records these days… or ever."
  • Originally, Avenged Sevenfold wanted to use a recording of Carl Sagan reading an excerpt from his 1994 book The Pale Blue Dot, but his estate wouldn't grant permission. So the band reached out to Tyson instead.

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