Why the world needs Avenged Sevenfold
by Billie Shoemate

In a time when the metal world is sounding too familiar, too rehashed, and too much like a watered down version of itself, history has shown that Metal music enters a state of natural metamorphosis. During the 1960’s, most of music spoke of peace and love until a band like none other came from the industrial town of Birmingham England by the name of Black Sabbath and created the genre single-handedly. They showed the word that not everybody was living on cloud nine. Metal grew very

organically and from it came the legendary Led Zeppelin, which would prove to be the yin to the Black Sabbath yang, the two bands paving the road to create the art form we know today. It grew in England until the 1970’s when Punk eventually delivered a knockout punch to metal, sending metal to its deathbed. That overly simple, anti-attitude towards music became the norm, requiring people not to think and just react to the music, something that caused mixed feelings with the civil unrest in England at the time. As Rob Halford, lead singer of Judas Priest said in an interview on VH1’s Heavy: The Story of Metal, “Suddenly musicians changed their thinking overnight; radio stations changed their thinking overnight, and metal suddenly became a dirty word.”
Metal was officially greeted by its first of many obstacles. Bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden returned metal to its roots, offering more of a tougher style laced with raw sex appeal and more difficult music. Their brand of music was a Godsend to metal, bringing it out of obscurity and back into the limelight as a respected form of musical art. It was heavier and instantly defined itself as something to be reckoned with. It respected people more than Punk music at the time, allowing them to travel to worlds only bands like Maiden could create and letting them spread their own wings, instead of writing songs about vomiting and hating the Queen.

The 1980s forced metal to reinvent itself again but this time, the enemy was itself. In the midst of the PMRC hearings in which the United Stated Government dubbed metal music unclean by “Reganomic” standards, metal music became a product. Metal became a muddle of young boys with appalling hairstyles writing sappy ballads. Many bands lost their integrity but cried all the way to the bank. Interns, record executives, and producers believed they had a handle on metal and knew what they were doing, ushering bands that once had a hard edge right to the unemployment line. Another uprising started in the form of thrash up-comer revolutionists Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica, and Megadeth. These bands shattered the watered down metal music throughout the 1990’s.

Since the 1980’s thrash movement, which some call the renaissance of metal; the genre has once again been choked by itself by a culture that thrives on the comfortable and familiar. Growling cookie monster vocals have replaced true talent and harmony, once beautiful and driving guitar solos are now replaced with de-tuned bar chords, and Pro Tools ensured mediocre metal singers that they could hit every note without working too hard. New metal as it’s called, was once an interesting and sometimes refreshing take on metal music but now is reminiscent of the 1980’s and 1990’s when a culture has become too comfortable with the norm and bands who once “wow’ed” us with their sheer talent are now nonexistent. Bands are now writing songs that are radio friendly, not too flashy, and stick to the cookie cutter, de-tuned formula that was old 5 years ago. In these mundane times for Metal, with too much emphasis on the popular and commercially feasible, the metal world has found its new savior in the form of Avenged Sevenfold.

Formed by a group of guys still in High School during the school year of 1999, M. Shadows (vocals), Zacky Vengeance (guitar), Synyster Gates (guitar), the Reverend (drums), and Johnny Christ (bass) created metal in its own realm. Like Iron Maiden years before (which the band says is its biggest influence), Avenged Sevenfold turned their Huntington beach, California born metal into the messiah that this music has been waiting for. Starting with unimpressive debut albums “Sounding the Seventh Trumpet” and the more influential “Waking the Fallen,” A7X toiled in the underground. Known by only hardcore fans, they broke out to the mainstream with “City of Evil”, the epitome of cookie cutter metal complete with the screams, detuned guitars, and drums that sounded like pie pans. To most, the band had talent, but to us hardcore realists in metal, the band was nothing more than the norm. It wasn’t until Avenged Sevenfold canceled their tour dates for fall of 2006 and headed to Houston, TX, where they set to work on a fourth studio album that they re-invented metal.

In October of 2007, metal got its prayers answered with the self-titled and self-produced gem entitled simply, “Avenged Sevenfold.” Boasting a sound deeply inspired by metal of the past, A7X did the noble thing and didn’t re-create the radio success that “City of Evil” had, but chose to grow and in a sense, grow up. Vocalist M. Shadows, who required surgery on his vocal cords after Waking the Fallen shows that his training with Ron Anderson (vocal coach for Axl Rose and Chris Cornell) has been for nothing but music’s greater good. Gone are the monotonous screams and songs of metal’s regurgitated simplicity, and now Avenged Sevenfold stands on top of the mountain with truly one of the best heavy metal albums ever recorded. This album not just plays; it contains intelligence, raw guttural power, and is a welcomed addition to a genre that truly needed a kick in the pants. Avenged Sevenfold is wearing the boots, leaving a death bat logo right on the rear end of the music industry, hopefully leaving it there for many years to come as this amazing band shows metal how it should be done.


You want to know what started this entire genre and what made it so great? Look for the great innovators of the past. Your search will always come up short without the likes of Avenged Sevenfold. A7X, welcome to the family.

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