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Avenged Sevenfold, 2017 Loudwire Music Awards Performer

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At the turn of the 21st century, the future of heavy metal was in question. There was an opportunity for a band to swoop in and change the genre’s course, and there was no band better to take the reigns than Orange County metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Formed by singer M. Shadows and drummer The Rev, the group took initial influence from their local metalcore scene while also imbuing it with the theatrical and stylistic heavy metal popularized by the likes of Metallica and other legendary acts. This cognizance of metal’s past and present allowed Avenged to build something all its own, and rise up to the top of the hard rock universe.

The band debuted with Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, setting the foundation for future music on an album recorded for just $2,000. It saw the introduction of Zacky Vengeance into the band on rhythm guitar, and Synyster Gates‘ foray into the band as its lead guitarist. Avenged found themselves moving forward, eventually resulting in their 2003 album, Waking The Fallen. Featuring their iconic death bat on the cover, it made a statement on exactly what the band could do by cultivating a tornado of riffs from Gates and Vengeance, The Rev’s triumphant drumming, Johnny Christ’s introduction to the band and Shadows becoming the charismatic frontman he was meant to be.

The underground success of Waking the Fallen built the band up enough steam, and they’d find themselves further in the minds of the masses with City of Evil, which earned them mainstream radio airplay, and later their self-titled 2007 album. Tragedy would strike the band when in 2009 when the Rev died. The band would honor his memory by forging on, releasing their 2010 album Nightmare in his honor.

Avenged Sevenfold, now with drummer Brooks Wackerman behind the kit, continue to revolutionize modern metal thanks to their most recent album, The Stage. Released in 2016 with no prior promotion, it was introduced into the world after a performance from the band playing atop the roof of Capitol Records. It shows the group’s diverse love for heavy metal, incorporating elements of thrash metal, prog and even bits of black metal and metalcore in certain places. The group has turned it into a “revolving album,” adding in new songs over time to keep it a constantly changing body of work.

It’s the band’s love of heavy metal and desire to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in the genre that has made them one of metal’s most enduring, newer acts. They will undoubtedly stand the test of time in the heavy metal pantheon thanks to their attitude and drive to blend every element together in their performance, from their names, to their stage set up all the way down to their riffs, making them a clear leader in the hard rock and metal community.

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