Avenged Sevenfold

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Who Sounds like Avenged Sevenfold?

Avenged Sevenfold, abbreviated A7X, began as a fringe music act and eventually found their way into the mainstream, producing gold records and world-famous hit singles.

The metal group from Orange County, CA, has overcome both tragedy and doubt to become leaders in the mainstream hard rock/heavy metal genre. With two of their latest albums topping music charts all over the world, A7X continues to write and perform for highly devoted fans.

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Taking after a seasoned tradition of rock and roll, Avenged Sevenfold invites comparison to artists in the hard rock and heavy metal genres. Generally, the band uses heavily distorted guitar tones and fast, driving drum beats.

Typical of these genres, lyrics are often aggressive and centered on dark themes, sometimes with references to biblical motifs. Other lyrical patterns focus on personal afflictions, which may include substance abuse, relationships, and struggles to fit in.

The popular hard rock/heavy metal act famously takes cues from favorite bands Pantera and Guns N’ Roses. Additional influences include classic heavy metal acts such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Led Zeppelin. Bands like Avenged Sevenfold typically share the same popular hard rock sound with clean vocals and appealing choruses. Avenged Sevenfold sounds like:

  • Five Finger Death Punch
  • Bullet for My Valentine
  • Killswitch Engage
  • Metallica
  • Three Days Grace

Further comparisons can be made between A7X’s earlier sound and metalcore bands similar to Atreyu, As I Lay Dying, and Darkest Hour. An early side project, Pinkly Smooth features A7X band members Synyster Gates, The Rev, and Justin Sane.

Biography

The band consists of longtime members M. Shadows (lead vocals), Zacky Vengeance (guitar), Synyster Gates (guitar), and Johnny Christ (bass). Avenged Sevenfold has had problems finding a drummer in recent years following the untimely death of original drummer The Rev in 2010.

Formed in 1999, the band, which also has a history of bassist problems, featured three bassists before finding current member Johnny Christ. Once a metalcore act, the band slowly gained favor with mainstream audiences, culminating in a 2005 gold-certified album. Despite their personal struggles, A7X endures as one of the most popular and successful hard rock/heavy metal acts of the decade.

History

Avenged Sevenfold began in the high school hallways of Huntington Beach, CA. Original members Shadows, Vengeance, The Rev, and former bassist Matt Wendt produced two demos and the band’s first album by 2001. Receiving just $2,500 from Good Life Recordings for the making of the album, the members of A7X worked menial jobs to finish the record and fund the ensuing tour.

By this time, Justin Sane had replaced a college-bound Wendt and the band saw the addition of Synyster Gates on guitar. Relentless touring and self-promotion gained the band a small, underground fan base. Halfway through 2001, Dameon Ash replaced Sane on bass after Sane’s failed suicide attempt. Hopeless Records, an independent Los Angeles-based label, signed the group in 2002.

Their sophomore effort Waking the Fallen was released in 2003, featuring current bassist Johnny Christ. The band began playing the Hopeless Records Take Action Tour before making a live video for the track “Unholy Confessions” during the Warped Tour.

Garnering play on MTV’s Headbangers Ball, the video would expose Avenged Sevenfold to a broader audience, attracting larger crowds and interest from major recording labels. The popular act eventually made a deal with Warner Bros. Records.

A7X dropped their first gold-certified album, City of Evil, in 2005. The band then embarked on the Ozzfest 2006 tour as a main stage act alongside System of a Down, Disturbed, and Hatebreed. Avenged Sevenfold canceled a planned fall tour and began recording their self-titled album released in 2007. The record sold more than 90,000 copies and won the “Kerrang!” album of the year award.

In late 2009, drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan suffered a fatal overdose. Grieving the loss of their bandmate, the group admitted to considering calling it quits. After much deliberation, they decided to carry on and hired now-former Dream Theatre drummer Mike Portnoy.

The album that followed remains a tribute to their fallen bandmate and represented their best debut to that point. Titled Nightmare, the record sold over 160,000 units and nabbed the number one spot on the Billboard 200.After performing on one album and playing just three shows, Mike Portney was replaced with former Confide drummer Arin Ilijay.

The band went on to record Hail to the King, which garnered another number one debut for A7X. Successfully touring in support of the latest album, the group decided to return to the studio in 2015. Soon after, the heavy metal act released a statement informing the public of Ilijay’s departure due to creative differences. Their next record is set to drop sometime in 2016.

Music

Early A7X songs can be classified as metalcore, a fusion of metal and hardcore punk. The band’s first two albums featured heavy guitars and breakdowns mixed with traditional hardcore time signatures and a mix between screaming and clean vocals.

As the band progressed, a refinement of sound crafted their music into heavy metal/hard rock, which led to commercial success. Screamed and death growl vocals were left behind alongside extreme metal techniques. The most recent songs are fit for radio play featuring catchy choruses, hooks, and intricate guitar solos typical of heavy rock music.

Discography

  • Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (2001) – The debut album brings listeners screamed vocals over a metalcore sound.
  • Waking the Fallen (2003) – A more mature sound than the previous album but still classified as metalcore. Features the popular single “Unholy Confessions.” This marks the first album with guitarist Synyster Gates.
  • City of Evil (2005) – Certified platinum, this album marks a turn from metalcore to heavy metal/hard rock. The single “Bat Country” peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, while “Beast and the Harlot” made its way onto Guitar Hero II.
  • Avenged Sevenfold (2007) – Earned the number four spot on the Billboard 200. Notable singles include “Critical Acclaim” and “Almost Easy.” This would be the last recorded performance from drummer The Rev before his death.
  • Nightmare (2010) – Reached the top of the charts after selling 163,000 copies in the first week. Features drummer Mike Portnoy as well as the singles “Welcome to the Family” and “Buried Alive.”
  • Hail to the King (2013) – Similar to Metallica’s black album. Debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, with notable singles including “Shepherd of Fire” and “This Means War.”

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