Avenged Sevenfold is an American rock band from Huntington Beach, California, formed in 1999. The band consists of vocalist M. Shadows, lead guitarist Synyster Gates, rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance and bassist Johnny Christ.
Avenged Sevenfold emerged with a metalcore sound on their debut Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, which included primarily screamedvocals. The band changed their style on their third album and first major label release, City of Evil, which features more melodic vocals and power ballads. 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 of heart disease and combined effect of drugs and alcohol in his body in 2009. Despite his death, the band continued on with help of then Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and released their fifth albumNightmare in 2010 which debuted on the top spot of the Billboard 200, a first for the band.
To date, Avenged Sevenfold has released five studio albums, one live album/compilation/DVD, and fifteen singles. The band themselves have received much credit for their worldwide mainstream success and were most notably proclaimed as one of the leaders and key bands in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal and were featured as second place on Ultimate Guitar's Top Ten Bands of the Decade.
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 apseudonym which were already nicknames of theirs from high school. Before release their debut album, the band recorded two demos in 1999 and 2000. Avenged Sevenfold's debut 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, at the end of 1999 when he was 18 at 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. Having settled on their fourth bassist,Johnny Christ, they released 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.