With the recent release of their new single, “Nobody”, and their new upcoming album Life Is But A Dream…; Avenged Sevenfold seems like the proper place to pick up my series on the bands that are going to be playing at this year’s Sonic Temple Music Festival. A7X is no stranger to Columbus’ Historic Crew Stadium, they’ve played this event under its former moniker, Rock on the Range, in 2009, 2011, 2014, and 2018. They headlined a night of the festival during those three most recent appearances. This will be their first time back since the name changed to Sonic Temple, but they will once again be headlining the evening. They’ll likely also be supporting the new album when they take the main stage in May. With the record set to come out in early June, Sonic Temple seems like a logical time to try out the new tunes on the 40,000 plus that will be in attendance.

Avenged Sevenfold has always held a special place to me, as they are one of the metal bands that I grew up with. I was still pretty new in the world of metal as a 17 year old kid when I first heard “Chapter Four” while playing Madden NFL 2004 on my PlayStation 2. I remember thinking that they sounded unlike anything that anybody else was doing at the time. Two years later, when they once again appeared on Madden NFL 2006 with “Bat Country”, I was hooked. After hearing “Bat Country”, I decided to start going back into their catalog and discovering their earlier work. I’ve always enjoyed whenever I’ve been able to find an up and coming band before they break through into the main stream. Of course, a few years later, they would absolutely explode and crossover from metalcore favorites to mainstream giants with the release of Nightmare in 2010.

Similar to Metallica and the grief they get about the “black” album, A7X had a noticeable change of sound as well as the tragic death of one of their bandmates. I tend to disagree with those that disparage either band. Yes, their sound changed with the “black” album and Nightmare, but both records flat out rock. They are still heavy. I often try to rationalize with the detractors by telling them that musicians are artists first. An artist doesn’t make a living by painting the same picture over and over. As a band ages and their experiences change, it is natural for their sound to change. That has nothing to do with “selling out” and everything to do with life’s greatest truth: growing up. If KISS wrote “Christine Sixteen” at this point in their life; that’d be pretty weird. Likewise, why should we expect a band like Avenged to write a song like “A Little Piece of Heaven” in their forties?

While Nightmare broke them into the mainstream, it also put them under the intense microscope of heavy metal fandom. In the world of heavy metal, there are only two bands currently that are bigger draws than Avenged. Iron Maiden and Metallica. And like those two bands, every song and album that Avenged releases will be endlessly scrutinized. For Hail To The King, a record that paid homage to their influences, they would hear criticism of ripping off of those bands. When they released The Stage they suddenly were too progressive for some. As expected, there were plenty of mixed reviews and opinions on “Nobody” upon its release last week. At first listen, it’s a far cry from their metalcore days. However, it has grown on me with each subsequent listen. I enjoy the progression of most of the bands that I listen to. At some point, bands have to decide whether they are content playing their greatest hits night after night like Journey; or do they want to continue to create and evolve. Some bands change their sound and it isn’t always for the better. I don’t believe that is the case most of the time, however. Some fans might fall off along the way, as has happened to all of the modern metal giants; but they’ve also gained more fans along the way. You can bemoan an album like Nightmare for marking a change in sound; or you can appreciate that an album of its stature opened up the band to millions of other people whom would have never heard them and then go back and discover their back catalog.

I leave you with my Top 15 Avenged Sevenfold tracks of all time! I’ve also linked them for your listening pleasure!

  1. Bat Country
  2. Beast And The Harlot
  3. Nightmare
  4. Seize The Day
  5. Hail To The King
  6. Danger Line
  7. Afterlife
  8. Almost Easy
  9. Shepherd Of Fire
  10. Chapter Four
  11. Buried Alive
  12. This Means War
  13. Welcome To The Family
  14. So Far Away
  15. The Stage

Did I get it right? Make sure to vote for your favorite in the poll above or sound off in the comments!


2 thoughts on “Ranking: Avenged Sevenfold

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