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Group Members: Justin Sane
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One of the more successful and accessible metalcore outfits to come out of the early 2000s, Avenged Sevenfold endured changes both stylistic and internal during their rise from teenage troublemakers to mainstream success story. The members of Avenged Sevenfold (or A7X) were still attending high school in Huntington Beach, California, when they formed their band in 1999. Nevertheless, it didn't take long for M. Shadows (vocals), Zacky Vengeance (guitar), Synyster Gates (guitar), the Reverend (drums), and Johnny Christ (bass) to make an impression with their aggressive hybrid of metal, hard rock, and punk-pop. The band made its official debut in July 2001, releasing Sounding the Seventh Trumpet on the Goodlife label before moving to the Hopeless roster for 2003's Waking the Fallen. Warner Bros. took interest in the band's aggressive sound and issued its breakthrough release, City of Evil, in June 2005. The album reached number 30 on Billboard's Top 200, propelled in part by the Top Ten success of the single "Bat Country." The accompany music video was heavily rotated on MTV and Fuse, where live appearances also helped boost Avenged's growing profile, and the band ultimately won the Best New Artist Award (though they were hardly newcomers) at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards.
As demand for their music increased, Avenged Sevenfold canceled their tour dates for fall 2006 and set to work on a fourth studio album. Boasting a grittier sound than previous releases, the self-titled/self-produced disc appeared in October 2007, debuting at number four on the Billboard Top 200 and spinning off the radio single "Almost Easy." The album also fared well in England, where three songs cracked the Top Five of the U.K. rock charts, and Avenged Sevenfold helped support the release by touring North America on the Taste of Chaos tour. Released in September 2008, the CD/DVD package Live in the LBC and Diamonds in the Rough captured the band during a tour stop in Long Beach. In 2009 the band announced plans to begin work on its third studio release. That same year, drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan passed away at the age of 28, and in 2010 the band released Nightmare with replacement drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater). In 2011, they recorded the song "Carry On" for the Call of Duty Arms: Black Ops II video game, before releasing 2013's Hail to the King, which featured new drummer Arin Ilejay of Confide and reached the number one spot on the Billboard 200.
Avenged Sevenfold (sometimes abbreviated as A7X) is an American heavy metal band from Huntington Beach, California, formed in 1999. The band's members are lead vocalist M. Shadows, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Zacky Vengeance, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Synyster Gates, bass guitarist Johnny Christ and drummer Arin Ilejay.
They are known for their diverse rock sound and dramatic imagery in album covers and merchandise. Avenged Sevenfold emerged with a metalcore sound on their debut Sounding the Seventh Trumpet but their style had evolved by their third album and first major label release, City of Evil, into a hard rock/heavy metal sound. The band continued to explore new sounds with their self-titled release and enjoyed continued mainstream success before their drummer, James "The Rev" Sullivan, died in 2009. Despite his death, the band continued on with help of now-former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and released and toured in support of their fifth album Nightmare in 2010 which debuted on the top spot of the Billboard 200, their first number one debut. Their latest record Hail to the King released in 2013 marks the album debut of new drummer Arin Ilejay. Hail to the King charted as #1 on the US Billboard 200, the UK albums chart, as well as the Finnish, Brazilian, Canadian, and Irish charts.
To date, Avenged Sevenfold has released six studio albums, one live album/compilation/DVD, and eighteen singles and have sold over 10 million albums worldwide.Harding, Cortney (July 26, 2010). "Avenged Sevenfold Returns with 'Nightmare' After Drummer's Death". Billboard.com. Retrieved November 8, 2014. Caulfield, Keith (August 4, 2010). "Avenged Sevenfold Scores First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Retrieved November 8, 2014. RIAA's Gold & Platinum Program searchable database Search Term: Avenged Sevenfold. Accessed: May 18, 2011 Total Sales figures based on Nielsen Soundscan (November 2010)
ContentsHistory1.1 Formation and Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (1999–2002)1.2 Waking the Fallen and City of Evil (2003–2006)1.3 Avenged Sevenfold, death of "The Rev" (2007–2009)1.4 Nightmare (2010–2011)1.5 Hail to the King (2012–2014)1.6 Seventh studio album (2015–present)
Formation and Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (1999–2002)
The band was formed in 1999 in Huntington Beach, California with original members M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, The Rev and Matt Wendt. M Shadows came up with the name as a reference to the story of Cain and Abel from The Bible, which can be found in Genesis 4:24, although they are not a religious band. Upon its formation, each member of the band also took on a pseudonym which were already nicknames of theirs from high school. Matt Wendt was later replaced by Justin 'Sane' Meacham who was previously the bassist for Suburban Legends.
Before the release of their debut album, the band recorded two demos in 1999 and 2000. In mid-2001, it was reported that Meacham had attempted suicide by drinking excessive amounts of cough syrup. The attempt had an impact on the band's Take Action Tour. During his hospitalization he remained in poor condition and was replaced by Dameon Ash. In an interview, lead singer M. Shadows said of Meacham that "he perma-fried his brain and was in a mental institution for a long time, and when you have someone in your band who does that, it ruins everything that's going on all around you, and it makes you want to do something to prevent it from happening to other people." Avenged Sevenfold's debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, was recorded when the band members were in their late teens and still in high school. It was originally released on their first label, Good Life Recordings in 2001. After lead guitarist Synyster Gates joined the band, at the end of 1999 when he was 18, the introductory track "To End the Rapture" was re-recorded featuring a full band element. The album was subsequently re-released on Hopeless Records in 2002. The band started to receive recognition, performing with bands such as Mushroomhead and Shadows Fall and playing on the Take Action Tour.
Waking the Fallen and City of Evil (2003–2006)
Having found a new bassist, Johnny Christ, the group released their second studio album titled Waking the Fallen on Hopeless Records in August 2003. The album featured a more refined and mature sound production in comparison to their previous album. The band received profiles in Billboard and The Boston Globe, and played in the Vans Warped Tour. In 2004, Avenged Sevenfold toured again on the Vans Warped Tour and recorded a video for their song "Unholy Confessions" which went into rotation on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball. Shortly after the release of Waking the Fallen, Avenged Sevenfold left Hopeless Records and were signed to Warner Bros. Records.
City of Evil, the band's third album and major label debut, was released on June 7, 2005 and debuted at No.30 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling over 30,000 copies in its first week of release. It utilized a more classic metal sound than Avenged Sevenfold's previous albums, which had been grouped into the metalcore genre. The album is also notable for the absence of screamed and growled vocals; M. Shadows worked with vocal coach Ron Anderson—whose clients have included Axl Rose and Chris Cornell—for months before the album's release to achieve a sound that had "grit while still having the tone". The album received positive reviews from several magazines and websites and is credited for propelling the band into international popularity.
After playing Ozzfest in 2006, Avenged Sevenfold memorably beat out R&B Singers Rihanna and Chris Brown, Panic! at the Disco, Angels & Airwaves and James Blunt for the title of Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards, thanks in part to their Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-inspired song “Bat Country.” They returned to the Vans Warped Tour, this time headlining and then continued on their own "Cities of Evil Tour." In addition, their lead single "Bat Country" reached No.2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts, No.6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts and the accompanying video made it to No.1 on MTV's Total Request Live. Propelled by this success, the album sold well and became Avenged Sevenfold's first gold record. It was later certified platinum in August 2009.
Avenged Sevenfold, death of "The Rev" (2007–2009)
Avenged Sevenfold was invited to join Ozzfest tour on the main stage, alongside other well known rock/heavy metal acts such as DragonForce, Lacuna Coil, Hatebreed, Disturbed and System of a Down for the first time in 2006. That same year they also completed a worldwide tour, including the US, The United Kingdom (as well as mainland Europe), Japan, Australia and New Zealand. After a sixteen month promotion of City of Evil, the band announced that they were cancelling their Fall 2006 tour to record new music. In the interim, the band released their first DVD titled All Excess on July 17, 2007. All Excess, which debuted as the No.1 DVD in the USA, included live performances and backstage footage that spanned the band's eight-year career. Two tribute albums, Strung Out on Avenged Sevenfold: Bat Wings and Broken Strings and Strung Out on Avenged Sevenfold: The String Tribute were also released in October 2007.
On October 26, 2007, Avenged Sevenfold released their self-titled album, the band's fourth studio album. It debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200 with over 90,000 copies sold. Two singles, "Critical Acclaim" and "Almost Easy" were released prior to the album's debut. In December 2007, an animated video was made for "A Little Piece of Heaven". Due to the song's controversial subject matter, however, Warner Brothers only released it to registered MVI users over the internet. The third single, "Afterlife" and its video was released in January 2008. Their fourth single, "Dear God", was released on June 15, 2008. Although critical reception was generally mixed the self-titled album went on to sell over 500,000 copies and was awarded "Album of the Year" at the Kerrang! Awards.
Avenged Sevenfold headlined the 2008 Taste of Chaos tour with Atreyu, Bullet for My Valentine, Blessthefall and Idiot Pilot. They used the footage from their last show in Long Beach for Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough, a two-disc B-sides CD and live DVD which was released on September 16, 2008. They also recorded numerous covers, including Pantera's "Walk", Iron Maiden's "Flash of the Blade" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid".
In January 2009, M. Shadows confirmed that the band was writing the follow-up to their self-titled fourth album within the upcoming months. They also played at Rock on the Range, from May 16–17, 2009. On April 16, they performed a version of Guns N' Roses' "It's So Easy" onstage with Slash, at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. On December 28, 2009, the band's drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan was found dead at his home at the age of 28. Autopsy results were inconclusive, but on June 9, 2010, the cause of death was revealed to have been an "acute polydrug intoxication due to combined effects of Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Diazepam/Nordiazepam and ethanol". In a statement by the band, they expressed their grief over the passing of The Rev and later posted a message from Sullivan's family which expressed their gratitude to his fans for their support.
The band members admitted in a number of interviews that they considered disbanding at this point in time. However, on February 17, 2010, Avenged Sevenfold stated that they had entered the studio, along with now-former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, to drum for the album, in place of The Rev.
The single "Nightmare" was digitally released on May 18, 2010. A preview for the song was released on May 6, 2010 on Amazon.com, but was removed soon after for unknown reasons. Mixing for the album had been completed in New York City, and Nightmare was finally released worldwide on July 27, 2010. It met with mixed to positive reviews from music critics but was well received by the fans. Nightmare beat sales projections easily, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with sales of 163,000 units in its first week. After finishing recording, in December, Portnoy and the band posted simultaneous statements on their websites stating that he would not be their replacement for The Rev. However, Portnoy did travel with the band overseas in December 2010 for three shows in Iraq and Kuwait sponsored by the USO. They played for U.S. Soldiers at Camp Adder, Camp Beuhring, and Balad Air Base. On January 20, 2011, Avenged Sevenfold announced via Facebook that former Confide drummer Arin Ilejay would begin touring with them that year. He was not yet considered a full-time member at this point.
In May 2011, it was confirmed that the band had written a new song to be included in the Escalation DLC pack for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops. The song is the first time developers Treyarch have commissioned an outside band to contribute a song since the franchise began. The song, titled "Not Ready to Die", was released on iTunes on May 2, 2011.
Avenged Sevenfold performed at the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals on June 3–5, 2011 alongside other bands such as Alter Bridge, System of a Down, and In Flames. On April 2011, the band headlined the Golden God Awards held by Metal Hammer. The same night the band won three awards for "Best Vocalist" (M. Shadows), "Epiphone Best Guitarist(s)" (Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance) and "Affliction’s Album of The Year: " for Nightmare, while Mike Portnoy won the award for "Drum Workshop’s Best Drummer" for his work on the album.
Avenged Sevenfold headlined the 2011 Uproar Festival with supporting acts Three Days Grace, Seether, Bullet For My Valentine, Escape The Fate, among others. In August 2011, vocalist M. Shadows stated the band would finish the Uproar Festival, then go home to take a break for six to seven months before starting a new record. He also roughly stated that Arin Ilejay and the band were getting along well, but they had to make sure he would be comfortable writing music with them. In November and December, 2011, the band went on their "Buried Alive" tour with supporting acts Hollywood Undead, Asking Alexandria, and Black Veil Brides.
Hail to the King (2012–2014)
On April 11, 2012, Avenged Sevenfold won the award for "Best Live Band" and "Most Dedicated Fans" at the Revolver Golden Gods awards. The band toured through Asia into April and early May, and played at the Orion Music + More, Festival on June 23 and 24 in Atlantic City, New Jersey alongside Metallica and Cage the Elephant among many others.
On September 24, 2012, Avenged Sevenfold released a new song, titled "Carry On"; it was featured in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II. On November 15, 2012, vocalist M. Shadows said that the band had been working on a new album since the recording of "Carry On" in August 2012. The band began recording material for the album in January 2013. The band then started streaming snippets of the album in May 2013 on their new radio app. There, Arin Ilejay was confirmed as an official band member and replacement of deceased The Rev. M. Shadows said that the album would sound more blues rock-influenced and more like classic rock/metal like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.
The band was confirmed to play at the 2013 Rock in Rio festival on September 22, 2013. On May 24, 2013, the band have announced dates for their European tour with Five Finger Death Punch and Device serving as their support bands.
The album, entitled Hail to the King, was released on August 27, 2013. This is the first Avenged Sevenfold album without any musical contributions from deceased The Rev. The album's lead single and title track was released on July 15, 2013. Hail to the King charted as #1 on the US Billboard 200, the UK albums chart, as well as the Finnish, Brazilian, Canadian, and Irish charts, and was commercially and critically acclaimed. The band will headline Monster Energy's Welcome to Rockville two-day music festival in Jacksonville, FL, April 26-27, 2014, joined by more than 25 rock acts, such as Motörhead, Rob Zombie, Chevelle, Korn, Staind, Alter Bridge, The Cult, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Black Label Society, and Seether. Avenged Sevenfold headline the Mayhem Festival 2014 with Korn, Asking Alexandria, and Trivium.
Seventh studio album (2015–present)
In October 2014, M. Shadows confirmed that the band will begin writing their seventh album during the summer of 2015. The album has a tentative release date of 2016.Decker, Ashley (October 2003). "Interviews: Avenged Sevenfold". Skratch Magazine. Retrieved November 8, 2014. Interview with Jacky Bam Bam (93.3 WMMR Radio). Transcribed on a fanblog. "Avenged Sevenfold". Monsters and Critics. they released two demos in the years 1999 and 2000, entitled "1999 Demo" and "2000 Demo". Metalkingdom.net discography listing, including the two demos. Accessed November 8, 2014. "Interview with A7X". Seizethedaywitha7x.tripod.com. Retrieved 2013-02-20. "Thursday, Avenged Sevenfold, Poison the Well Take Action Against Suicide". Retrieved December 28, 2012. Fuoco, Christina Fuoco. "Avenged Sevenfold". Allmusic.com. Rovi. Retrieved November 8, 2014. Brace, Eric. "The Circuit." The Washington Post. Accessed via LexisNexis. 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Whitmire, Margo Coldplay Earns First Billboard 200 No. 1 Billboard. June 15, 2005. Avenged Sevenfold's "City of Evil" Unleashed June 7 Market Wire. June 22, 2005. Warped Tour outlasted by putting teenagers' interests first The Orange County Register. July 6, 2005. "We were lumped into metalcore, but with this record we really wanted to get out of it... We didn't even know why we were screaming. One day, we were just like, '(Bleep) this, there's no way we're gonna scream on the next record.'" "Avenged Sevenfold: City of Evil." The New Zealand Herald accessed via LexisNexis. September 11, 2005. "But City Of Evil is some of the most exciting and epic rock'n'roll around at the moment. In fact, this album is a snorting and snarling mongrel that is as much for fans of classic rock as it is for those into metal." Avenged Sevenfold Interview Blistering. Rollingstone.com Rolling Stone. Avenged Sevenfold's Cities Of Evil Tour 2005 to Begin October Market Wire through Warner Bros. Records. Sep 13, 2005. Moss, Corey Avenged Sevenfold: Appetite for Destruction MTV. "Roadrunnerrecords.com". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved September 18, 2010. Harris, Chris Avenged Sevenfold Confirmed for Ozzfest's Main Stage MTV News. May 19, 2006. Moss, Corey Avenged Sevenfold Seek Rat-Infested Garage to Record Next LP MTV News. October 4, 2006. Avenged Sevenfold Brings "All Excess" to the Big Screen Market Wire. July 11, 2007. "Eagles Fly Past Britney to Debut at No. 1", Billboard.com, November 7, 2007. Avenged Sevenfold Won Kerrang's 'Album of the Year' Award Ultimate Guitar. August 22, 2008. "Zacky Vengeance: Avenged Sevenfold Would've 'Scared the Emo Kids' on Warped Tour". Buzznet.com. September 13, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010. Kerrang! Maiden Heaven track listing revealed! Kerrang!. June 25, 2008. Avenged Sevenfold to Cover Black Sabbath Metal Hammer. January 21, 2009. We Wanted to Cover Mr. Bungle Metal Hammer. January 27, 2009. 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"There's definitely more Sabbath in what we're writing, and we're proud of 'Carry On', but this album is going to be on a whole new level. We're shooting for late January, early February [to enter the studio] and to have the album out in the summer. I'm pretty sure that we're looking to go overseas first, so you guys will be seeing it before everyone else... We're going back to Sabbath stuff. We're looking at blues chords they're playing most of their stuff in. We're listening to Zeppelin. We're going backwards with what we want this record to feel like. I wanna write a classic metal record, a classic rock record in 2013." "Rock in Rio anuncia Avenged Sevenfold no dia do Iron Maiden" (in Spanish). G1. December 7, 2012. Archived from the original on December 21, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. "Avenged Sevenfold Reveal Cover Art, Title, and Release Date of New Album". Kaufman, Spencer. "Welcome to Rockville 2014: Avenged Sevenfold, Korn + More". Loudwire. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 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Style and influences
The band has cited bands such as Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Bad Religion, Dream Theater, Motörhead, Megadeth, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones AC/DC, NOFX, Alice in Chains, Black Flag, Corrosion of Conformity, Suicidal Tendencies, Misfits, Slayer, The Vandals, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Deftones and AFI as their artistic influences.
The band has been categorized under many genres of music. Mainly considered heavy metal, hard rock and metalcore, Avenged Sevenfold's music has evolved over most of the band's career. At first, the band's debut album Sounding the Seventh Trumpet consisted almost entirely of metalcore sound; however, there were several deviations to this genre, most notably in "Streets", which shows a punk rock style, and "Warmness on the Soul", which is a piano ballad. On Waking the Fallen, the band displayed the contemporary metalcore style once more, but added more clean vocals as well as more mature and intricate musical elements. In the band's DVD All Excess, producer Andrew Murdock explained this transition: "When I met the band after Sounding the Seventh Trumpet had come out before they had recorded Waking the Fallen, M. Shadows said to me 'This record is screaming. The record we want to make is going to be half-screaming half-singing. I don't want to scream anymore. And the record after that is going to be all singing'."
On City of Evil, Avenged Sevenfold's third album, the band chose to abandon the metalcore genre, using a more hard rock style. Avenged Sevenfold's self-titled album, however, has some experiments with other music genres than that from City of Evil, most notably in "Dear God", which shows a country style and "A Little Piece of Heaven", which is circled within the influence of Broadway show tunes, using primarily brass instruments and stringed orchestra to take over most of the role of the lead and rhythm guitar. Nightmare contains further deviations, including a piano ballad called "Fiction" and a heavy metal sound with extreme vocals and a heavier sound on "God Hates Us" and "Not Ready to Die". The band has changed considerably since their first album, in which during that time they have been characterized as a heavy band with a screamed vocal style combined with a little bit of clean vocals, chugging guitar riffs and parts similar to breakdowns that one can expect from the metalcore genre. The band has also been described before as emo, post-hardcore, gothic rock, alternative metal, thrash metal, screamo and pop punk.
The band has been criticized for "not being metal enough". Vocalist M. Shadows responded to this with, "we play music for the sake of music, not so that we can be labeled a metal band. That's like telling us we aren't punk enough. Who cares?". Avenged Sevenfold is one of the notable acts for New Wave of American Heavy Metal."Avenged Sevenfold influences". MTV. Retrieved 2012-10-01. "Avenged Sevenfold Bassist Interviewed On Spokane's Rock 94 And 1/2 (Video) - Blabbermouth.net". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Fuoco, Christina. "Avenged Sevenfold". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-20. Avenged Sevenfold: Sounding the Seventh Trumpet Global Domination. December 20, 2007. Weiderhorn, Joe (June 9, 2005). "Avenged Sevenfold Salute Dimebag, Shun Metalcore On Evil". MTV. "Avenged Sevenfold Biography". Rolling Stone. Loftus, Johnny (2005-06-07). "City of Evil - Avenged Sevenfold". AllMusic. "Avenged Sevenfold drummer dies at age 28". TheVine. 31 Dec 2009. "Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare - AV Club". Avenged Sevenfold Post New Single "Nightmare" www.metality.net "CD Review: Avenged Sevenfold - City of Evil". Blog Critics. Eliscu, Jenny (2005-07-28). "City Of Evil". Rolling Stone. "Finally - Los Angeles Times - 12 Sep 2008 - Randy Lewis". Los Angeles Times. "Avenged Sevenfold - Avenged Sevenfold". About.com. Freeman, Channing (2006-08-10). "City of Evil - Avenged Sevenfold". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2012-02-26. Bowar, Chad. "Avenged Sevenfold Interview". About.com. Retrieved October 20, 2012. "'New Wave Of American Heavy Metal' Book Documents Over 600 Bands". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved April 27, 2008.