Avenged Sevenfold is an American hard rock band formed in Huntington Beach, California. The band has achieved mainstream success with their 2005 album City of Evil, which included singles such as ” Burn It Down“, “Bat Country,” “Beast and the Harlot” and “Seize the Day.” The band’s success followed with their self-titled album, with singles such as “Critical Acclaim“, “Almost Easy“, “Afterlife“, “Scream“, and “Dear God“.
The band was formed in 1999 in Huntington Beach, California with original members M Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, The Rev. and Matt Wendt. Avenged Sevenfold’s first album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, was recorded when the band members were just eighteen years old and in high school. It was originally released on their first label, Good Life Recordings in 2001. After lead guitarist Synyster Gates joined the band, the introductory track “To End The Rapture” was re-recorded with the removal of the piano track. The album was subsequently re-released on Hopeless Records in 2002. Having settled on their fourth bassist (Johnny Christ), a follow-up album, entitled Waking the Fallen was released on the same label in 2003. Shortly after its release, Avenged Sevenfold was signed to Warner Bros. Records.
City of Evil (2005–2007)
City of Evil, the band’s third album, was released on June 7, 2005. Propelled by the success of the first single “Bat Country” and its accompanying music video, the album sold well and became Avenged Sevenfold’s first gold record. City of Evil strayed away from the band’s previous metalcore sound and M. Shadows chose to abandon the screaming vocals from the first two albums. Although Shadows acknowledges that he sustained throat and vocal cord damage after Waking the Fallen and later required surgery to help correct the problem, he states that the change in vocal style was not a result of this issue. In their DVD All Excess, Mudrock, producer of Avenged’s second and third albums, said prior to Waking the Fallen, Shadows had stated that he wanted a CD with half-screaming, then one with no screaming, which was achieved in City of Evil. Shadows maintains that he’s since been able to scream even better than before the surgery and training with vocal coach Ron Anderson.
Avenged Sevenfold (2007)
Avenged Sevenfold’s mainstream success got them an invitation to 2006’s Ozzfest tour on the main stage, alongside other well known hard rock and heavy metal acts DragonForce, Lacuna Coil, Hatebreed, Disturbed, and System of a Down. That same year they also completed a worldwide tour, including the US, England, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. After canceling Fall and Winter 2006 tour dates, the band announced that they were planning their fourth studio album, a self-titled album. M. Shadows has stated that it would not be a City of Evil Part 2 or Waking the Fallen Part 2, but he says it will attract fans of both original albums while still being a surprise. They played their first tour dates of 2007 on an Asian tour with stops in Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan. To “tide fans over” until the release of the new album, Avenged Sevenfold released their first DVD, All Excess, on July 17, 2007. All Excess debuted as the #1 DVD in the USA which included a documentary and live footage dating back to 1999 along with music videos and the making of the Seize the Day music video.
The self titled album was released out on October 30, 2007 to early success, debuting at #4 on the Billboard 200 with approximately 94,000 copies sold. Two singles, “Critical Acclaim” and “Almost Easy” along with its music video, were released prior to the album. An animated video was made for “A Little Piece of Heaven” and was going to be included on the MVI, but due to the song’s subject matter (i.e. Necrophilia), Warner Brothers released it to registered MVI users over the internet in December 2007. The third single, “Afterlife” and its video was released in January 2008. Avenged Sevenfold has confirmed that their fourth single is the country rock style song “Dear God“.
On July 16 (Issue 1219), Kerrang! released a free CD, Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden as a tribute album to heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. It features Avenged Sevenfold covering the song “Flash of the Blade”. “Maiden are by far the best live band in the world and their music is timeless,” quoted by vocalist M Shadows. “This also gives us a chance to expose this great song to some of our younger fans who maybe aren’t as familiar with Iron Maiden.” 
Avenged Sevenfold was awarded “Album of the Year” at the Kerrang! Awards. M. Shadows said this to the fans:
“Receiving such an honor in the United Kingdom means so much to us because England has become like a second home. This summer has been the best of our career. We’ve seen so many of you in so many countries and you’ve all touched us. We’re so proud of how much love our fans in the US have always shown us. And now it means the world to us to know how many of you around the globe have been touched by our music. Thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.”[cite this quote]
During a recent festival performance in Leeds & Reading, UK, of which was sold out, the band were forced to shorten the Leeds performance and canceled the Reading performance altogether due to M. Shadows being told by his doctors in Los Angeles and the UK to rest his voice due to vocal strain. A few days later, the band was forced to announce the cancellation of the remaining September shows, with the tour set to resume again on October 15.
Avenged Sevenfold’s most recent release, Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough, a two-disc B-sides CD and live DVD, was released on September 16, 2008.
The Dear God video is now available for purchasing on itunes, it was released on 28th October, 2008.
Band name and lyrical content
The band’s name is a reference to the Book of Genesis in the Bible – specifically Genesis 4:24, where Cain is sentenced to life in exile for murdering his brother. God marked him so that none would kill him on account of his sin; the man who dared to kill Cain would suffer “vengeance seven times over” (KJV). The abbreviation for Avenged Sevenfold came from Zacky Vengeance as A7X. The title of Avenged Sevenfold’s song “Chapter Four” refers to the fourth chapter of Genesis, in which the story of Cain and Abel takes place. The song’s subject also appears to be this story. “Beast and the Harlot“, yet another song derived from the Bible, comes from the book of Revelation only it is written in the first person and refers to the punishment of Babylon the Great, world empire and seat of false religion. Another biblical reference occurs in the song “The Wicked End“. In this song, several times it is said “dust the apple off, savor each bite, and deep inside you know Adam was right.” making reference to Eve eating the forbidden fruit. Although the band’s title and members’ stage names make references to religion, Shadows stated in an interview that they are not a religious band. “Anyone that reads the lyrics and really knew anything about us, they would know we’re not promoting either,” he said. “That’s one thing about this band that I love is that we never really shove any kind of, like, political or religious beliefs on people. We just, the music’s there to entertain and maybe thought-provoking on both sides, but we don’t try to, like, really shove anything down anyone’s throat. There’s too many bands that do that nowadays, I think.” The band has a few songs that are somewhat political in nature like “Critical Acclaim”, “Gunslinger” and “Blinded In Chains”. The song “Betrayed” off of their album “City of Evil” was written about “Dimebag” Darrel’s, of Pantera and Damageplan, death.
The band sports a logo known as the “Deathbat”. It was originally designed by an artistic high school friend of Avenged Sevenfold, Micah Montague, as seen on the bands first DVD, All Excess, though Cameron Rackam has done many more pieces for the band’s albums. The Deathbat has appeared on all of the band album covers including their new CD/DVD Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough and is on the inner part of the cover with City of Evil being the exception. It is also on covers of a number of singles such as “Bat Country“, “Almost Easy” and “Critical Acclaim.”
In general, Avenged Sevenfold is classified as an important and influential band in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (NWOAHM). Their material ranges across many genres – including several crossover genres – often leaving the concept of genres altogether (especially in their most recent albums). For example, Avenged Sevenfold’s debut Sounding the Seventh Trumpet consisted almost entirely of metalcore sound, however consisted of several deviations to this genre, most notably in “Streets” which adopts a punk style, and “Warmness on the Soul,” which consists of mainly piano, and could be considered soft rock. On Waking The Fallen, the band displayed a much more refined and fluent metalcore album that was able to harness the rawness of the first album, and add more mature and intricate musical elements. On City of Evil, Avenged Sevenfold’s third album, the band has chosen to abandon the metalcore genre, developing a more punk metal/thrash style, very much like bands such as Bullet for My Valentine and Trivium. Also, the drumming on both these albums is played in a more thrash-influenced alternative metal style, similar to that of Slipknot. Avenged Sevenfold’s self-titled album, again, consists of several deviations to less consistent genres and styles from the album’s main hard rock and heavy metal songs, most notably in “Dear God“, which adopts a country style, and “A Little Piece of Heaven”, which includes elements of Broadway show tunes, using primarily brass instruments and stringed orchestra to take over most of the role of the lead and rhythm guitar. The band has changed considerably since its first album, which was characterized as a heavy band with the screams, growls, and lyrics one can expect from the metalcore genre, to being more of a fusion between punk rock, hard rock, and heavy metal.
- M. Shadows – lead vocals, piano (1999–present)
- Synyster Gates – lead guitars, keyboards, backing vocals (2001–present)
- Zacky Vengeance – rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, backing vocals (1999–present)
- Johnny Christ – bass, backing vocals (2002–present)
- The Rev – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1999–present)
- Justin Meacham – bass (1999–2001)
- Dameon Ash – bass (2001–2002)