Avenged Sevenfold Live in Manila on April 26, 2012 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
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Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) was formed in 1999 by high school friends M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, The Rev and Matt Wendt in California. They were joined by Synyster Gates, The Rev’s friend as lead guitarist and Johnny Christ completed the line-up and replaced Matt Wendt in 2003 as the band’s bass guitar. The band’s name was in reference to the Bible story of Cain and Abel. Each of the band members adopted a pseudonym similar to the styles of early metal bands like Guns N’ Roses, U2 and the likes.
They started the band when they were just 18 years old. After the release of their debut album, they were signed on to Hopeless Records. The release of their 3rd album and first major label album “City of Evil” under Warner Music propelled them into international popularity and cemented their status in the world of metal. They cited Guns N’ Roses, Pantera, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, bands that were considered legends of Metal Rock, as some of their influences.
As a heavy metal band, A7x made the transition from “Sounding the Seventh Trumpet’s” growling to “City of Evil’s” melodic vocal lines. M. Shadows explained to producer Andrew Murdock in the band’s DVD’s All Excess, “This record [Sounding the Seventh Trumpet] 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.” M. Shadows stated that they didn’t consider the transition as “selling out”, but more of having more maturity in their musical direction and playing music that they are comfortable with. They wanted to give the audience, especially their fans something that reflects their creativity but can be relatable as well.
In 2009, the band went through a difficult time with the unexpected passing of drummer The Rev. Having been friends for more than a decade, the band took the blow real hard. It was hard for them to continue with the album Nightmare which was already in the pipeline. “We were going to see if we could write another song or two,” says Shadows of the days following the Rev’s death. “And we couldn’t. We weren’t in the mood for it. Sitting there trying to figure out chord progressions and guitar parts felt ridiculous.” But soon the band realized that it was impossible for them not to continue, that it would be almost a betrayal of the Rev’s legacy and their love for him. He’d played an integral role in writing and crafting the tracks that had been demoed for the album. And just days before he died, he’d completed his ultimate accomplishment, baring his raw emotions in the song “Fiction” that now seemed to have foretold his own death and assured his friends in no uncertain terms that they had to carry on.
The lyrics on majority of the songs in Nightmare were re-written and the band brought in The Rev’s drum idol, former Dream Theater Mike Portnoy, to finish what The Rev has started, a fitting finale for the legacy that The Rev left. The Nightmare album became a salute to their brother, using it as a means of channeling their grief and expressing their emotion and gratitude to The Rev.
Avenged Sevenfold has been known for high drama, they’re not afraid to pull out the big guns, not content in doing anything small, every song has the impact they desired. Their songs are thought provoking filled with dramatic imagery. A7x’s songs have an emotional pull amidst the screaming. Solos in their songs were phenomenal. It’s not just a combination of notes hit at lightning speed, which are commonly found in metal bands, but a symphony. Synsyter Gates tells a story, a vision that reaches out in different levels to their various listeners, while Zacky Vengeance supplied the melodic and elegantly written riffs. M. Shadows finishes it off with a clean vocal transition from growling to melodic vocal delivery. The band’s unique attributes will make you hate them or love them, nothing in between.
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