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Avenged Sevenfold’s Arin Ilejay: Lars Ulrich Is the ‘Best Metal Drummer’

Arin Ilejay / Lars Ulrich
Warner Bros. Records / Ethan Miller, Getty Images

For the past three years, Avenged Sevenfold drummer Arin Ilejay has had some giant expectations placed squarely on his shoulders. After all, he’s the official replacement for beloved drummer James ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, who passed away in late 2009. Although nobody but Sullivan can ever be declared as ‘The Rev,’ Ilejay has held his own with A7X, and he has a plethora of influences to thank for that.

In a new piece for Music Radar, Ilejay lists his favorite drummers, including Lars Ulrich. Ilejay praises the Metallica stickman, saying, “In so many ways Lars really is the best metal drummer. He doesn’t have the crazy shredding chops that a lot of drummers have, but he has the best stage presence of any drummer. He’s out of his mind but writes incredible parts for the music. He’s the Ringo Starr of metal. Ringo and Lars get the least amount of credit, but they are absolute geniuses.”

As for Ilejay’s contributions on Avenged’s latest album, ‘Hail to the King,’ the drummer cites the influence of Ulrich, although he may have unintentionally insulted the Metallica stickman. “I thought I was going to be writing the craziest drum parts for that record, something to fill the shoes of The Rev,” says Ilejay. “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.”

Of course, high honors were also given to The Rev. “The Rev was the person that got me into metal,” Ilejay reveals. “There weren’t any metal drummers that drew me in until him. Jimmy’s parts are amazing, so [on joining the band], being already a fan of Jimmy – he’s one of my favorite drummers – I wanted to do his parts right.”

See Ilejay’s full list of favorite drummers at Music Radar.

'The Rev' To Be Featured in Avenged Sevenfold's 'Hail to the King' Game

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