Avenged Sevenfold is a Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band from Huntington Beach, California. They formed in 1999 while still in high school, with singer M. Shadows, guitarist Zacky Vengeance, drummer The Revnote and bassist Matt Wendt.
The band played the underground scene in America for several years, and their first album, the low-budgetnote and very Hardcore Punk-flavored Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, got them a small but dedicated fanbase in 2001. While the album's commercial success and reception were modest, Waking the Fallen was a much more polished Metalcore album, adding melodic elements, dual harmonies and guitar solos, complex structures, and more singing. It's around that time that the lineup finally stabilized after lead guitarist Synyster Gates and bassist Johnny Christ joined the band.note
After the success of WTF, the band took a somewhat different direction with their third album City of Evil in 2005. Screamed vocals disappearednote , the riffs became faster, the melody even more prominent, the solos crazier, the storytelling more epic, and more symphonic elements were introduced. As a result, most of the album has a strong Speed Metal flavor, sometimes bordering on Thrash. While baffling many of the early fans, the album was their definitive breakthrough hit and remains their highest-selling record to date, as well as their most consistently popular.
After a Self-Titled Album in 2007 that was somewhat more pop-ish and veered into various territories, from Groove Metal to Country Music, the band was going for a darker and more progressive release with Nightmare, a concept album where all the songs were gonna tie into one story Alas, that project went down the drain when The Rev suddenly passed away on Dec. 28, 2009, just after the album's writing phase was finished, from an overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs for his enlarged heart. The lyrics were mostly rewritten after that, and the last two songs "Fiction" and "Save Me" feature The Rev's last vocal recordings. Musically, the album goes back and forth between dark Groove Metal and heart-wrenching Power Ballads − often within the same song. Mike Portnoy covered for The Rev's spot for the album's recording and the following tournote , before the band found Arin Ilejay (of disbanded Californian metalcore band Confide) who toured with them in 2011 and 2012 and became a full-fledged member in 2013.
For their sixth album Hail to the King (2013), they deliberately adopted a more straight-forward and blues-based sound, closer to Traditional Heavy Metal and reminiscent of the '90s era Metallica or classic bands from the '80s (a bit too reminiscent for some fans and non-fans). But because of Creative Differences Arin was replaced two years later by Brooks Wackerman who had just left Bad Religionnote . The following year was a bit bumpy for the band, as around the same time they left Warner Bros. for Capitol Records, resulting in a lawsuit by the former for breach of contract − they were suppose to do 5 albums under the label, they had only made 4.
After that little incident, the next album The Stage (2016) went back to a more technical and eclectic style, albeit with a different vibe from the pre-HTTK albums, borrowing more heavily from Progressive Metal and Thrash Metal, with Brooks bringing in some of his own ideas and stylistic influences. Meanwhile, Arin joined Islander.
In late 2018 they started working on a new album, but the COVID-19 Pandemic threw a wrench into the recording process and the band announced they wouldnt release new material until they felt they could safely tour again. The album is planned to be released in 2022. The band will release it under Warner Bros. once again to finish the aforementioned contract, but intend to go fully independent after that.
Avenged Sevenfold (or A7X, as they are often called) are amongst the most popular alternative/heavy bands among teens and young adults the world over, and with Waking the Fallen, were instrumental in the creation of the new wave of Metalcore, a genre that combines hardcore punk with extreme metal. The band was in a state of turmoil after the Rev passed away, but they keep moving forward; no easy task as the five had been friends for most of their lives. Their lyrics are inspired by a wide range of themes, including references to the dead/undead, biblical themes and strong themes such as assisted suicide. They are also very vocal in their support for American troops around the world (which includes playing a concert for the soldiers in Baghdad in 2010), and most of their albums feature at least one song from a soldier's point of view. Also, at least one of their songs appears to be from a vampire's point of view, whilst A Little Piece Of Heaven is the Bloody Hilarious story of a couple of murderous zombies. The Stage is the oddball in that department, as it centers on space, man's place in the universe, and the potential and risks of scientific advances like artificial intelligence.
Aside from that, the band has also contributed songs to every game in the Call of Duty: Black Ops series (M. Shadows himself is an avid gamer). Those songs were compiled in 2018 in an EP titled Black Reign.
A lesser-known part of their history is the avant-garde metal band Pinkly Smooth, which featured The Rev on vocals, Synyster Gates on guitar and bassist Justin Sane on keyboards. The band only released one EP titled Unfortunate Snort in 2001, and while the act is unlikely to be revived without The Rev, Synyster Gates has expressed interest in remastering the album someday.
- Matt Sanders - M. Shadows (vocals) (1999-present)
- Zachary Baker - Zacky Vengeance (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) (1999-present; sole guitarist from 1999 to 2001)
- Brian Haner (Jr.) - Synyster Gates (lead guitar, backing vocals) (2001-present)
- Johnny Seward - Johnny Christ (bass guitar, backing vocals) (2002-present)
- Brooks Wackerman (drums) (2015-present)
Former members and fill-ins:
- Matt Wendt (bass guitar) (1999-2000)
- Justin Meacham − Justin Sane (bass guitar) (2000-2001)
- Dameon Ash (bass guitar) (2001-2002)
- James Owen Sullivan - The Rev (drums, piano, alternate vocals) (1999-2009, died 2009)
- Mike Portnoy (drums) (2010)
- Arin Ilejay (drums) (2011-2015)
- Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (2001) note
- Waking the Fallen (2003) note
- City of Evil (2005)
- Avenged Sevenfold (2007)note
- Diamonds in the Rough (2008) note
- Nightmare (2010)
- Hail to the King (2013)
- The Stage (2016) note
- Black Reign EP (2018) note
- Aerith and Bob: M. Shadows, Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance, Johnny Christ... Arin Ilejay and... Brooks.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: "Creating God" is about how men are starting to be dominated by their own inventions.Never held a high regard for Darwin, selection takes too long.
- Album Intro Track: "To End the Rapture" and "Waking the Fallen" are only 1'30 long and open the first two albums. They stopped doing this with City of Evil for some reason.
- Album Title Drop: City of Evil is dropped in "Beast and the Harlot".
- All Drummers Are Animals: The Rev was the resident cloudcuckoolander. Watch him in any video. Arin could get pretty bestial too on stage.
- Always Identical Twins: Michelle Dibenedetto-Haner and Valary Dibenedetto-Sanders, who are Brian and Matt's respective wives.
- As the Good Book Says...:
- The band's name is lifted from Genesis 4:15, when God curses Cain not to be killed after he kills Abel by saying: "Shall Cain be killed, he shall be avenged sevenfold". The Cain and Abel story also serves as the basis for the lyrics of "Chapter Four" off Waking the Fallen.
- "Beast and the Harlot" lifts many passages from Revelations 17 and 18.
- Atomic F-Bomb: The Rev drops two massive "FUCK YOU!!!!"'s after each quick-fire speech in "Critical Acclaim".
- Awesome McCoolname: Their stage names.
- Best Friends-in-Law: M. Shadows and Synyster Gates are respectively married to Valary and Michelle DiBenedetto, who are twin sisters, thus making them both friends and in-laws.
- Bloody Hilarious: "A Little Piece of Heaven", in spades. It is basically a tale of Unholy Matrimony by way of murder, told in a totally bizarre way that would not be out of place as a Tim Burton movie.
- Book Ends: Three instances.
- Sounding the Seventh Trumpet starts and ends with the sound of rain and distant thunder.
- "Beast and the Harlot" on City of Evil opens and closes with the same slow and epic melody reminiscent of a bell ringing, in contrast with the speed of the rest of the song.
- "God Hates Us" on Nightmare does this with a quiet clean guitar melody, while the song itself is heavy and dark.
- Butt-Monkey: Johnny Christ seems to be this for the rest of the band.Zacky Vengeance: You can't spell bass without ass.
- Cain: The band took their name from the biblical story, and their song "Chapter Four" on the 2003 album Waking the Fallen is based on it.
- The video for "Nightmare" has two, both referencing "Afterlife". One has a tarantula crawling on The Rev's drum kit, a Call-Back to the tarantula on The Rev's face. The other is Zacky dancing with a skeleton, where he was dancing with his girlfriend in "Afterlife".
- The Rev wrote "Fiction", which has the line, "Promise me you'll never feel afraid." After his passing, Syn wrote "So Far Away", which has the line, "Sleep tight; I'm not afraid."
- Similarly, "Fiction" has the Rev singing "I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you." The final track "Save Me" has M. Shadows sing "Help me find my way."
- The video for "Shepherd of Fire" can only be described as Bat Country meets the Willy Wonka demon tunnel.
- Careful with That Axe:
- "Bat Country", "A Little Piece Of Heaven", "Beast And The Harlot", "Trashed And Scattered," "Crossroads", "Almost Easy" (Especially in the CLA Mix), Most tracks on Waking the Fallen and Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, and about two-thirds of The Rev's vocals. Usually a Metal Scream, and when M. Shadows does it, expect it to be accompanied by an Evil Laugh.
- "Gunslinger" starts off as a soft country ballad, before abruptly shifting to hard rock after the first chorus.Cause with all the things we do It don't matter when I'm coming home to yoYEAAAAAAAAAAAH YEAAAAAH!!
- Celebrity Elegy: "Betrayed" from City of Evil is the band's tribute to Pantera's former lead guitarist Darrell "Dimebag Darrell" Abbott who was murdered by Nathan Gale in a Columbus night club in late 2004. The song is written from the points of view of an innocent bystander and Dimebag's assassin, Nathan Gale.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The Rev.The Rev: There's one tattoo on my body that I can't show, that...Sometimes at night I feel like demons are attacking me, and I claw at it and try to get it off me. I might get it covered up. But I don't know, I don't even know why I brought it up. Next.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Trashed and Scattered" from City Of Evil has a pretty colorful language in the chorus. It's actually censored in some copies of the album.
- Concept Album:
- Nightmare started out as one before it largely became a tribute album to The Rev. You can nevertheless make out general themes in the songs that aren't directly about him (mostly in the first half): they all feature someone dying one way or another and revolve around madness and/or retribution. Though according to M. Shadows, "Nightmare" and "Danger Line" were the only two songs left untouched.
- The Stage is one about artificial intelligence and the self-destruction of society.
- Cool Shades: M. Shadows is rarely seen on stage without them.
- Cover Version: Two major instances.
- The B-side album Diamonds in the Rough includes two straight covers of Pantera's "Walk" and Iron Maiden's "Flash of the Blade". There's also a lesser-known cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid".
- In 2017, following up on The Stage, they started to release a whole series of covers, including Chingon's "Malaguena Salerosa", a metal version of Mr. Bungle's "Retrovertigo" ,a punk-rock version of Del Shannon's "Runaway", as well as rock covers of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", The Rolling Stones' "As Tears Go By", and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". They deliberately chose non-metal songs this time to have more leeway in covering them, as they find it "boring" to cover songs that are already metal.
- Crowd Chant: The "EAT IT! EAT IT! EAT IT!" line from "A Little Piece of Heaven" definitely induces this.
- Crowd Song: Many of their singles, but "This Means War" warrants this mention as it's actually used for the music video. The entire Hail to the King album was explicitly written with this in mind.
- Darker and Edgier: Arguably with Nightmare, being an entire album about Jimmy's passing, with pretty heavy songs like "God Hates Us" and the very depressing "Victim" and "Tonight the World Dies". Similarly, Hail to the King is surprisingly grim-faced and straightforward compared to the theatrical, over-the-top productions that came before it, with only "Planets" breaking up an otherwise solid lineup of completely serious metal songs.
- The Dead Can Dance: The song "Dancing Dead", of course, on Diamonds in the Rough.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The video for "Hail to the King".
- Domestic Abuse: "Almost Easy" is from the POV of an abuser who has had an epiphany on some level regarding the nature of their conduct, but has no intention of changing because they know that all they have to do is appear to change for their partner to come crawling back to begin the cycle of abuse anew.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Sounding the Seventh Trumpet is mostly a Hardcore Punk album. Johnny isn't in the band yet, Synyster Gates' guitar solos are nowhere to be found (besides "To End The Rapture" on the re-release) since he joined the band just after finishing recording, The Rev is pretty much doing fills constantly for the whole album, M. Shadows barely sings (And when he does, well...), and "Streets" is a leftover punk song from one of M. Shadows' first bands.
- Easter Egg: Watching certain parts of All Excess, the DVD, will unlock a number of hidden videos.
- Especially "Unholy Confessions".
- Emo Music: Started out as one of the first metalcore bands (or maybe metal bands in general) to take influence from emo bands like AFI and Thursday. In fact, even when they were a metalcore band on their first two records they sounded more like a heavier, more metal-influenced version of the darker emo bands at the time like Thursday, Thrice, and early My Chemical Romance rather than other metalcore contemporaries like Killswitch Engage or Shadows Fall. Even after they changed to pure heavy metal elements of emo were still clearly influential on their sound. As of "Hail to The King" these influences have been almost completely dropped (YMMV on whether this is a good thing or not).
- Epic Rocking: They are known to do this on occasion, but most notably on the album City of Evil, on which only one song is under five minutes and four are over seven, "Save Me" from Nightmare which is almost eleven minutes, and "Exist" from 2016's The Stage which is almost sixteen minutes, making it the longest A7X song to date.
- Even the Guys Want Him: M. Shadows has this reputation.
- Every Episode Ending: The closer for their sets is almost always "Unholy Confessions".
- Evil Laugh: Matt seems fond of these. Also, The Rev throws in a few during A Little Piece Of Heaven and Afterlife.
- Fading into the Next Song:
- "Beast and the Harlot" ends with a little bit of guitar violence (if it can be termed as such), which then takes a backseat for the drum opening of "Burn It Down".
- A subtle one in the self-titled album, with the end of Unbound (The Wild Ride) having a slightly-audible heartbeat sound before "Brompton Cocktail" kicks in.
- Five-Man Band:
- The Leader: M.Shadows, the voice and main businessman of the band.
- The Lancer: Synyster, the melodic heart of their music and main backing vocalist.
- The Smart Guy: Zacky, well-read and self-proclaimed "nitpicking guy" in the studio.
- The Big Guy: Brooks, the tallest member and drummer.
- The Heart: Johnny, the prankster-in-chief who's always laughing.
- Foreshadowing: A musical foreshadowing. While Waking the Fallen was mostly pure melodic metalcore, the last track "And All Things Will End" featured an intro, rhythmic parts and even some vocal parts that were already pretty close to what the next album City of Evil would sound like, especially in the first half.
- Genre Shift: Avenged Sevenfold does this thrice, with "A Little Piece Of Heaven" suddenly being composed mostly of brass and showtune instruments and is composed in a style more similar to Danny Elfman than any of their previous songs, then immediately. Another one includes "Dear God", which has more in common with a country blues song than a metal one. Then there's also "Gunslinger" — which can best be described as a blend of country, blues, and rock. They also do this a few times on the "Nightmare" album: particularly with the strictly piano-based ballad "Fiction" (which was the last song Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan wrote, and the one song on the album to feature his vocals) and the heavily blues-based "Tonight the World Dies" (with slide guitar to boot). Then, on "Hail to the King", the album ends with the blues ballad "Acid Rain".
- Greatest Hits Album: A bit of a controversial one, as Warner Brothers released the compilation in December 2016, without the band's knowledge, well after they left the label and around the same time they released their new album The Stage. Needless to say, they were not too amused and interpreted it as an act of spite from WB.
- Grief Song: So Far Away, which was written for Syn's grandfather. When Jimmy died, the lyrics changed to being about him. Fiction is also about Jimmy, despite being written and sung by him...
- It's safe to say Nightmare is all of this.
- "I Won't See You Tonight, Parts I and II", written for former bassist Justin Sane, who left the band after a failed suicide attempt (and medicines prescribed to prevent another) left him psychologically unfit to tour.
- Groove Metal: The band has described Hail to the King as such, and most of the songs fit the bill with a lot of slow and mid-tempos with simple driving beats, although the album is more melodic than most examples. Even before HTTK, though, bands like Pantera have always been one of their primary influences, which is most evident in Waking the Fallen and Nightmare, as well as some parts of Avenged Sevenfold.
- Guyliner: A few of them have used it, but especially Brian during their pre-White Album era.
- Harsh Vocals: On earlier releases, and on "God Hates Us" from Nightmare.
- He Who Fights Monsters: "Strength of the World"
- Heel Realization: After his girlfriend came back from the dead to kill him in "A Little Piece of Heaven".Now that it's done I realize the error of my ways
I must venture back to apologize from somewhere far beyond the grave.
I gotta make up for what I've done
'Cause I was all up in a piece of heaven
While you burned in hell, no peace forever!
- Hellfire: The whole Hail to the King album has a recurring evil fire motif, be it "Shepherd of Fire", everything burning down in in "Requiem", the theme of "Heretic", or the "gates of fire" in "Coming Home"., among other things. Since the album is largely an homage to the Traditional Heavy Metal of the '70s and '80s, you could say this is par for the course.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: The group as a whole has this relationship with each other, but special mention goes to Brian, Matt, and Jimmy, and within that trio, Jimmy and Brian. They have stated that even if they stopped being a band, they would still be just as close with each other.
- I Love the Dead: "A Little Piece of Heaven"
- I Meant to Do That: For Brooks' first concert with the band in 2016, he got on stage a bit late and missed the first beats of "Nightmare", creating some confusion. M. Shadows tried to pass it as a "warmup show" and they started over.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Again, "A Little Piece of Heaven".
- Incredibly Long Note: Two notable, although reasonable examples.
- The "TOTAL NIGHTMARE" screams in "God Hates Us" are normally of moderate length, but in the Rock Am Ring 2011 performance, M. Shadows decided to combine two in one, for an eleven-second scream, his longest to date. Matt himself confided that he could barely talk the day after the concert.
- The final word of "Shepherd of Fire" is held for four full bars (eight seconds), with a gradual transition between a medium and a high note.
- Intercourse with You: "Girl I Know" on Diamonds in the Rough is about a very promiscuous girl.
- Large Ham: M. Shadows and The Rev, though with M. Shadows it's only when he's performing or singing, in person he's pretty calm, nice, and down-to-earth. The Rev, on the other hand, was just like this always.
- Last Note Nightmare:
- "And All Things Will End" ends in a solo that's increasingly off-key and slows down into a nightmarish cacophony.
- "Nightmare" seems to end in silence for a few seconds before an ominous echo fades in at the last moment and stops abruptly.
- Left-Handed Mirror: Zacky Vengeance plays left-handed, which is used for a symmetric effect when he plays next to Synyster, especially on stage.
- Long Runner Lineup: Ever since Johnny Christ joined in 2002, the band's lineup has remained exactly the same or would have if not for The Rev's untimely passing. After which Mike Portnoy temporarily filled in, Arin Ilejay took the seat for a few years before creative differences kicked in, and now they seem to have found a stable replacement with Brooks Wackerman. Time will tell.
- Loudness War: Many albums are brickwalled, though Nightmare and Waking The Fallen have the most obvious clipping. Hail to the King and The Stage inexplicably avert this.
- Meaningful Name: Justin Sane, their second bassist, who attempted suicide via drinking cough syrup, and ended up in a mental institution for a long time, with it becoming apparent that he'd suffered brain damage.
- Metalcore: Their first two albums, and along with fellow early West Coast melodic metalcore acts Bleeding Through and Atreyu, they introduced the pop-punk elements (though Bleeding Through's were much less prominent) that later came to define the genre.
- Metal Scream: Quite a few songs start with or have these. The Beast And The Harlot, Bat Country, Natural Born Killer, to name a few. He also does this quite often with the first two albums.
- Miniscule Rocking: "To End the Rapture" and "Waking the Fallen", which serve as Album Intro Tracks, are only 1'40 long. The band stopped doing those after their second album, though.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, an album with dirty heavy guitars and screamed vocals, screeches to a halt when comes "Warmness on the Soul", a sweet love ballad, before going back to the screaming. You might think a song from another band accidentally ended up on the album.
- On the contrary, God Hates Us, an angry metal song that brought back their former metalcore sound comes between So Far Away and Victim (two power ballads) on the album Nightmare.
- Buried Alive starts out as a power ballad but gets more hardcore after the guitar solo.
- Murder Ballad: Again, "A Little Piece of Heaven"
- New Sound Album: Pretty much every album adopts a different style, though some more drastically than others.
- They started as pure metalcore on Sounding the Seventh Trumpet before adding more clean vocals on their sophomore album Waking the Fallen. But their biggest change came on City of Evil which contained only clean vocals and musically mixed old school thrash metal with the melodic ferocity, breakdowns, and Pop Punk/Post-Hardcore elements of modern day metalcore.
- Their self titled album continued with this, although it was much more polished which rankled some fans, as well as having many examples of an Out-of-Genre Experience such as the Danny Elfman style "A Little Piece of Heaven" and the country ballad "Dear God".
- Nightmare was released after the death of their drummer "The Rev" and so was more sad and reflective, as well as featuring a piano ballad called "Fiction" and full on return to pure Metalcore (screamed lyrics and all) on "God Hates Us".
- Then there's Hail to the King - which has been described by lead singer M. Shadows as "more blues rock-influenced and more like classic rock and classic metal in the vein of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin".
- Finally, The Stage is a Concept Album that takes a more progressive approach, with more elaborate drums, a somewhat "colder" atmosphere than HTTK, a more extensive use of violins, horns and synthesizers, lyrics about space and technology, and a 70% instrumental, 15 minute long closing track ("Exist") that's probably their most experimental song to date.
- The Nicknamer: When the band formed, Matt, Brian, Zack, and Justin all had to come up with cheesy stage names that they thought would piss people off. The Rev was already just "The Rev." Or Fiction, or Rat Head, or The Reverend Tholomue Plague,
- Nightmare Face: Made by multiple people in the video for "Bat Country". Also, when the girl comes back as a zombie and that...one face in the background of hell in "A Little Piece of Heaven".
- Not to mention the videos for "Almost Easy" and "Nightmare". Hell, you can just about expect every other video to have at least one of these.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Nobody's sure how Arin Ilejay's last name is supposed to be pronounced. Syn pronounces it the Spanish way in an interview ('Ee-leh-high') but can also hear 'Eel-jay' or 'Ile-jay' depending on the person.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: The band torments Johnny over this all the time (all in good fun, of course), but averted by the fandom for the most part.
- Non-Appearing Title: It was the standard for their first two albums, where the titles never appeared in the lyrics ("I won't See You Tonight part 1" and "Eternal Rest" being the only exceptions), and most of the third. This changed in later albums, when the band became more popular and the songs more chorus-driven.
- Power Ballad: Every album features at least one, though the love song "Warmness on the Soul" is notable for seeming completely out of place in the middle of Sounding the Seventh Trumpet. Nightmare, being a Tribute Album, is the most ballad-oriented album with "Buried Alive" (first half), "So Far Away", "Victim", "Tonight the World Dies" and "Fiction".
- Precision F-Strike: Shadows sneaks in a "Come here, you fuckin' bitch!" in the background during the early parts of "A Little Piece of Heaven".
- Progressive Instrumentation: They're quite fond of this technique for their intros. The most notable examples being "Hail to the King" and "The Stage", which both start with a lead guitar riff, then the drums, then a simple rhythm guitar and bass lick, and then it all segues into a more dynamic part with different lead and rhythm riffs, before the verse starts.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From as far back as Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, all the way to Nightmare.ART! OF! ILLUSION! - "The Art of Subconscious Illusion"LIAR! RAPE! KILL! LOVE! HATE! FEAR! - "God Hates Us All"This! Is now! Your life! Die! Buried! Alive! - "Buried Alive"
- The Quiet One: Compared to The Rev and his goofy antics, Brooks is more the composed and no-nonsense type. Even on stage, he's much less of a showman than The Rev or Arin.
- Rated M for Manly: Surprisingly averted, given the style of music they play. Which is probably why the band has an unusually large female fanbase.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Critical Acclaim" is basically a 5-minute rant about people who blame the US Army and the US's foreign policy a bit too much for their tastes. Needless to say, it rubbed some people the wrong way.
- Refuge in Audacity: "A Little Piece of Heaven".
- Revenge Ballad: "Strength of the World" reads like the story of someone whose family was killed by outlaws.I want it. I need it! Revenge is dripping from my teeth!
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "Strength of the World"
- Sanity Slippage Song: "A Little Piece of Heaven" kind of counts to the perspective of the male character of the song, as exemplified by these lines:Before the possibilities came true / I took all possibility from you
- Sequel Song: Two instances.
- "I won't see you tonight" part 1 and part 2 on Waking the Fallen (see Shout-Out below).
- More subtly on Hail to the King, "Acid Rain" is from the point of view of humans facing the destruction of Earth described in "Planets".
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: They gave this vibe during their City of Evil and White Album period (though it was pretty tongue-in-cheek), especially in the music videos. Full with scantily clad ladies dancing on the stage in the 2008 LBC concert. From Nightmare on though, they adopted a more serious tone, both in their albums and in concerts, partly due to the Rev's death.
- Soprano and Gravel: They tend to work with female guest singers to achieve this effect.
- Subverted in The Art of Subconscious Illusion, which has Matt's wife Valary doing screaming vocals.
- Shout-Out: Many:
- The idea of a two-part suicide song with the first part being told in a soft, ballad-like song followed by an intensely heavy part 2 told from the point of view of a surviving friend should sound a bit familiar to any 90's thrash metal fan.
- The music video for Nightmare is told from the point of view of an amnesiac person being strapped in to a hospital bed and carried through the halls of a hospital with nightmarish things happening around him.
- The song and video for "Bat Country" are both confirmed to be based on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This should be obvious to anyone who's seen the movie, read the book, or both, even if the title of the song didn't give it away.
- The Show Must Go On: After touring for almost two straight years and headlining several festivals in a row in 2018, Matt suddenly lost his voice in the middle of their Hellfest 2018 show. So to sing "Nightmare", they pulled a (probably not entirely sober) fan from the crowd who proceeded to butcher the song. They laughed it off, and then Matt sang the rest of the show with help from Audience Participation, backing vocals and, ironically enough, a return to his old style of screaming, which he had abandoned precisely to preserve his voice.
- Snakes Are Sinister: "Sidewinder" from City of Evil is written from the point of view of a poisonous snake hunting its prey.
- Suddenly Shouting: Done twice in the self-titled album:
- Shadows hits a Big "YES!" right in the middle of "Gunslinger" (see Careful with That Axe entry)
- The Rev delivers one (combined with Precision F-Strike) after Matt's slow buildup, by way of the first refrain in "A Little Piece of Heaven":MUST HAVE STABBED HER/HIM FIFTY FUCKIN' TIMES! I can't believe it!RIPPED HER/HIS HEART OUT RIGHT BEFORE HER/HIS EYES!!! Eyes over easy!
- Sunglasses at Night: Even in a pitch-black concert hall at night, M. Shadows won't let go of his sunglasses.
- Superpowered Evil Side: "The Art Of Subconscious Illusion"
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "So Far Away", written in memory of The Rev.
- Symphonic Metal: Not their main characteristic by any means, but a number of their songs use violins, pianos, horns or choirs. The middle part of "The Wicked End" and some parts of "Strength of the World" (on City of Evil), "Afterlife" and "A Little Piece of Heaven" (on Avenged Sevenfold), "Acid Rain" (on Hail to the King) and "Roman Sky" (on The Stage) are the most notable examples.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Quite a few. "To End The Rapture", "The Wicked End", and "Acid Rain" to name a few.
- Title Drop: "The Beast and the Harlot" features this as well as an Album Title Drop. And that's just one example.
- Together in Death: "A Little Piece Of Heaven". Kind Of. The guy kills the girl at the beginning and does things with her corpse. She then comes back as a zombie and murders the living hell out of him, after which they are both in hell, and he begs her to forgive him. She does, and they come back as zombies. Then they decide to murder an entire church full of people with chainsaws and whatnot during a REAL wedding and force the priest to wed them. They then live happily ever after as a murderous evil zombie couple.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Beast and the Harlot", of all songs, has a pitch rise in the last chorus.
- Unholy Matrimony: The couple in "A Little Piece of Heaven" who, upon both turning into zombies, ravage an actual wedding and get themselves married.
- Vocal Evolution: M.Shadow's screams and singing sound differently from album to album. Just compare Art of Subconscious Illusion to Chapter Four. And listen to his singing on their first album to their fifth album.
- Vocal Tag Team:
- M. Shadows and The Rev on the Self-Titled Album, and on "Fiction."
- The cover of Rolling Stones' "As Tears Go By" is sung in a duet by M. Shadows and Synyster Gates.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Both The Rev and Arin usually performed shirtless. Brooks, on the other hand, sticks with a plain t-shirt.
- War Is Hell: Several of their songs are about soldiers experiencing the horrors of the battlefield. "M.I.A" on City of Evil, "Gunslinger" on Avenged Sevenfold, "Danger Line" on Nightmare, and "Angels" on The Stage.
- Witch Hunt: "Heretic".
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Synyster Gates
- Yandere: The guy in "A Little Piece of Heaven" brutally murders his girlfriend and keeps her corpse to be sure they'd never break up.Our love had been so strong for far too long.
I was weak with the fear that something would go wrong.
Before the possibilities came true...
I took all possibility from you.