Metal fans, rockers embrace Avenged Sevenfold
Saturday, November 15, 2008
By Troy Reimink
The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- Can metal fans and 'regular' rock fans co-exist?

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That's a gamble that seems to be paying off for metal Avenged Sevenfold, sharing headlining duties on a tour with Buckcherry, perhaps a more rock-radio-friendly act.

That results in what Avenged Sevenfold drummer Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan described as an unexpected mix -- fans geeked about one of the acts and maybe tentatively into the other, but a larger crowd, regardless.

'This is an interesting lineup. There's a lot of straight-up rock fans mixed with a lot of metal fans, so it's an interesting mix,' said Sullivan, reached before a show in Milwaukee. 'Our fans all over are pretty diehard about us. I think we have one of the best fan bases in the world. That's mainly what I've noticed.'

Album recalls '80s

Avenged Sevenfold has been touring relentlessly to promote its self-titled fourth album, a stylistically ambitious collection of sprawling metal songs that recall the 1980s heyday of Iron Maiden and early Metallica.

The band -- also consisting of singer M. Shadows, guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates, and bass player Johnny Christ -- also just released a live DVD and collection of B-sides from the 'Avenged Sevenfold' recording sessions.

On the 10 songs that made the album, there are nods to country and Queen-style pomp that prompted the usual cries of 'sellout!' upon its initial release. (The band jumped to the majors on 2005's gold-selling 'City of Evil.') But Sullivan said he's seen the new record grow on fans during the past year.

'The first couple of months when you release an album, the crowds don't know the songs quite as well, so the shows get better after a few months,' he said.

On the road again

A solid year on the road can run a band ragged, but Avenged Sevenfold is known for its vigorous dedication to touring (and, according to reputation, partying).

After another six weeks or so with Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold, A7X in shorthand, will do some more touring on its own. Sullivan said once the band has hit each city twice behind a given album, enough is enough.

'Luckily, there's enough cities in the world where we get to do it for extensive amounts of time. We love being on the road. I get really bored if I'm home for too long or in one spot for too long,' he said. 'Touring is more fun, but the act of creating music that people love is also very satisfying.'

That said, the band has given some, but not too much, thought to how to properly follow up a project as ambitious as 'Avenged Sevenfold.'

'We've thought about doing a concept album,' Sullivan said. 'We've thought about shredding a little more, getting back to faster stuff. It's just going to come down to whatever we feel like writing at the time.'

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