Avenging a Friend and a Genre Sevenfold
Heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold knows a thing or two about obstacles, loss and overcoming challenges.
After losing drummer, friend and co-founder Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, who was only 28 when he died of an overdose in 2009, the band wasn’t sure if they would be able to continue.
In the end, however, the remaining members, led by frontman Matthew Charles Sanders, better known as M. Shadows, decided to go on. They released a new album in 2010, and are now on tour in Asia. On Tuesday, they will perform at Pantai Karnaval in Ancol, North Jakarta.
In an interview with music magazine Loudwire in November, Shadows said that in the end, the band decided carry on because they felt they owed it to their friend.
“At that point, we were really questioning the future of our band. I’d say a year later it’s a story of triumph, it’s a story of just growing up,” Shadows said. “We learned a lot about life, we learned a lot about ourselves. I think we’ve become better people because of it, and because of knowing Jimmy. Because of the good qualities that he left, everyone is trying to pick up on them.”
Formed in 1999 in Huntington Beach, California, Avenged Sevenfold released its debut album, “Sounding the Seventh Trumpet,” in 2001. At the time, the members of the band were barely 18 years old and still in high school.
“Waking the Fallen” followed two years later, and thanks to heavy touring, the band earned a loyal fan base. Soon, major record labels were eyeing the band, which was eventually signed by Warner Bros. Records.
The group’s third album, “City of Evil” (2005), brought mainstream success.
At the MTV Video Music Awards in 2006, there may have been a few raised eyebrows when Avenged Sevenfold snatched the award for Best New Artist over R&B darling Rihanna and pop crooner James Blunt.
For fans of the metal genre, however, the award was proof that metal is still very much alive and kicking, despite claims that the genre is a relic of the 1980s, when it was at its peak. But then again, Avenged Sevenfold owes much of its success to the fact that they also draw on other genres like hard rock and punk.
Avenged Sevenfold followed with a self-titled fourth album in 2007, and were in the process of recording new material two years later when they lost The Rev.
The recording came to a halt, but resumed when Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy stepped in to help the band finish the album.
“Nightmare” was released in 2010, and was not surprisingly the band’s most emotional album to date. One critic wrote that Shadows was “screaming with so much rage and pure hatred that it sounds like he’s about burst into tears. … Whatever their future, though, ‘Nightmare’ marks the point at which the Huntington Beach crew put away childish things and became men,” Kerrang! Magazine wrote.
Shadows himself made it very clear that “Nightmare” should be regarded as a tribute to his lost friend.
“There was nothing else going on in our minds at the time. Even the songs that aren’t about him are about him,” he said.
It seems that the joint effort of keeping the memory of The Rev alive has made Avenged Sevenfold stronger than ever. The group played several festivals during 2011 and will continue to hit the festival circuit this year.
This is not the first time Avenged Sevenfold has played in Indonesia. In fact, they have toured Asia twice already, and still have fond memories of their shows.
“We played to some of the most amazing crowds when we toured the album there, and we can’t wait to bring our live show back to our friends in those regions,” reads a statement on the band’s website.
After performing in Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, Indonesia will be Avenged Sevenfold’s last stop in Southeast Asia.
Tuesday, May 1
Pantai Karnaval, Ancol,
For ticket information, visit rajakarcis.com