Avenged Sevenfold is a younger, hotter version of Metallica, and since they've never been tangled in a lawsuit with a file sharing company, they've got less baggage. But less baggage isn't no baggage.
The guys in Avenged Sevenfold--who bear stage monikers like M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, Synyster Gates and Johnny Christ--suffered the loss of friend and band mate James "The Rev" Sullivan.
Sullivan died unexpectedly in 2009, just as the band was preparing to record its fifth album, Nightmare. As one would expect, this changed the tone, lyrics and mood of the album, which was released in 2010. Band vocalist M. Shadows told The Los Angeles Times, "When I was writing lyrics, I didn't really care what I was saying. I just cared about what I was feeling. And I think we made the album at such a vulnerable time that it shows."
Nightmare contains intense ballads and songs that drip with the band's personal pain. In "Victim," Shadows sings, "Nothing lasts forever / for all good things it's true / I'd rather trade it all for somehow saving you."
But the band has continued on and is now on the way to Boise for the Nightmare After Christmas tour. Critics of the album and the band charge that Avenged Sevenfold has traveled too far from its metalcore roots, while others say the band has merely evolved through loss, which was bound to influence their music.
If you like your rock stars with a hint of tragedy, lots of grisly arm tats and black eyeliner, you can swoon at the boys in Avenged Sevenfold on Friday, Feb. 11, at the Taco Bell Arena.