8 lesser known Avenged Sevenfold songs that everyone needs to hear
Few bands have kept a fanbase on their toes like Avenged Sevenfold. Now over 20 years into their career, in 1999 the Huntington Beach titans broke out of the California hardcore punk scene and never looked back, dipping their toes into metalcore, hard rock, and heavy metal along the way.
Various member changes – including the tragic loss of drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan in 2009 – and multiple stylistic leaps have provided the band’s audience with an unpredictable back-catalogue to dive into, and while most metalheads will be more than familiar with colossal hits like 2005’s Bat Country, 2007’s Afterlife and 2010’s Nightmare, there are countless other gems to enjoy. So, let’s dig in…
(Side note: We’ve essentially ignored anything on A7X’s debut album Sounding The Seventh Trumpet, as it was given the equivalent of a 1/5 review in a 2001 issue of Kerrang! magazine at the time of release. Er, sorry about that, guys.)
4:00am (Welcome To The Family EP, 2010)
Even a decade on, it’s hard to imagine the members of Avenged Sevenfold listening to 4:00am and thinking, ‘Nah, this isn’t good enough to put on Nightmare; let’s just make it a B‑side to one of the singles.’ In 2020 the track is getting more love thanks to its inclusion on the digital reissue of the band’s Diamonds In The Rough compilation album, but even still: Why aren’t people talking about how great 4:00am is?! From its thundering pace to Synyster Gates’ typically bombastic guitar solo to M. Shadows’ belting singalong chorus, this is basically classic Avenged Sevenfold… without actually being considered ‘classic’.
Sunny Disposition (The Stage, 2017)
Those horns! That hectic guitar solo! M. Shadows’ gripping lyrics about nuclear war (‘Dear radiation my sweet friend…’)! In an album that perfectly showcases Avenged Sevenfold’s exhilaratingly experimental tendencies, Sunny Disposition stands out for being ambitious and complex and yet ridiculously catchy and playful all at the same time. And the absolute highlight? ‘No-one likes cheap wiiiiiiiiine!’
Fiction (Nightmare, 2010)
Without even knowing the backstory, Fiction is one of Avenged Sevenfold’s most beautiful and powerful songs. Put in context, though, and its impact is all the more hard-hitting. Written just three days before his death, Fiction is the last-ever song by the much-missed The Rev, with his final lyrics being, ‘I know you’ll find your own way when I’m not with you.’ As M. Shadows later told Kerrang!, “It was as though he knew he wasn’t going to be with us much longer.”
Eternal Rest (Waking The Fallen, 2003)
The midway point through Avenged’s breakthrough album Waking The Fallen, Eternal Rest is one hell of a ride. From its mind-bogglingly speedy intro through to those grand, gothic harmonies that close it out, it’s a song that both begins and ends in a way that you simply never see coming, mixing Pantera-style riffs and The Rev’s screeching vocals en route. Somehow, it all works incredibly well.
Brompton Cocktail (Avenged Sevenfold, 2007)
It’s really no surprise that Avenged Sevenfold’s self-titled effort won the Kerrang! Award for Best Album in 2008. It simply has So. Many. Bloody. Great. Songs. And the singles are awesome, sure, but as always, it’s the band’s more unconventional leanings that really shine through. Case in point: Brompton Cocktail. Named after a pain-relieving mixture of morphine, cocaine and heroin, it opens up with M. Shadows wailing, ‘Doc, I’m dying / I’m feeling compromised…’ over dramatic string arrangements, but with an emphatic chorus – ‘I’m not running away, been fighting this so long’ – and thundering riffs, it ultimately gets the adrenaline going far more than its morbid subject matter would suggest.
Planets (Hail To The King, 2012)
Hail To The King was a truly colossal album for Avenged Sevenfold, with its touring cycle eventually granting the band the deserving status of Download Festival headliners. And it’s easy to see why: the title-track, opener Shepherd Of Fire and the Metallica-esque This Means War more than proved that the metallers had outgrown their humble beginnings, and now only the biggest of venues would do. In all of that, however, the record’s ninth song Planets seemed to get lost somewhat – which is ironic considering its huge, galactic subject matter. Describing it to Kerrang!, M. Shadows called it a “Darth Vader type thing – it’s like the Imperial March with horns and a pure metal attack.” The Force is strong with this one, that’s for sure.
Strength Of The World (City Of Evil, 2005)
Ditching metalcore completely by album number three, Avenged Sevenfold channelled their heavy metal heroes like Iron Maiden and Guns N’ Roses on City Of Evil, demonstrating a newfound sense of accessibility while still putting their own individual stamp on it. And the perfect example is the Wild West-tinged Strength Of The World, taking listeners on an epic journey across its winding nine minutes. And that’s not just within the music, either – it’s a theatrical tale of revenge by someone whose family was murdered (‘But now I leave your side to avenge my family’s pride / I’ve seen my family fade away, you’ve taken my whole life’). Cinematic in every sense.
Crossroads (Diamonds In The Rough, 2008)
Another Avenged banger that makes you wonder, ‘Huh, why didn’t they just include this on a proper album?’ Instead of finding its way onto the tracklist for 2007’s self-titled LP, Crossroads ended up on the following year’s Diamonds In The Rough, and therefore seemingly slipped through the cracks. This, despite the fact that it builds up to a joint scream between M. Shadows and The Rev at three minutes and 20 seconds that’ll make you want to run through a wall… in a good way.
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