I discovered Avenged Sevenfold around 2005, the ‘City Of Evil’ era. ‘Bat Country’ had been played by someone else in FVK – I think it was Laurence [Beveridge] – and I thought, ‘What the hell’s that?’. I thought they’d be some super heavy band, and obviously they got a lot of criticism when they changed their sound to become less heavy – but they appealed to me instantly. They had this incredible theatrical element and these amazing melodies, and there was this whole metal undertone going on but it was melodic metal, and it was amazing.
That said, we saw them play at Download in 2014 and they absolutely owned the main stage. Hearing songs like Hail to the King live was phenomenal because they’re built for those big open-air events. I guess that was the point that I realised what they’d done and why they’d done it. And now, of course, they’re one of the biggest bands in the world and as far as modern music is concerned they contribute something that’s a little bit more ambitious than a lot of other bands. They’ve never been afraid to do things that are out of the ordinary, and I think it’s cool that they’ve been brave enough to step outside of those traditional confines that metal bands often find themselves in.
BETRAYED (City of Evil, 2005)
“They always start songs with amazingly classic riffs. No other band would do a riff like this. It’s so disjointed, but it works, and then the theatrical vocals come in and you’ve got another cracking M. Shadows chorus. A lot of people seem to hate his voice, but I love him. Especially when you see the band perform live. He nails it even better live, to be honest. He’s got a ridiculous range too, which you wouldn’t expect from such a massive bloke.”
A LITTLE PIECE OF HEAVEN (Avenged Sevenfold, 2007)
“This song is probably what made me so interested in Avenged Sevenfold. It sounds like a Tim Burton movie soundtrack with a metal backing. For a metal band to do something like that was almost unheard of at the time. It’s like a rock opera within one song, which is eight minutes long. It also turned out to be one of their more popular songs, which to me proves the fact that rock music doesn’t need to be bland to be popular. So well done Avenged Sevenfold, for writing such a bonkers, successful song and proving people wrong.”
HAIL TO THE KING (Hail to the King, 2013)
“I heard this song at Download in 2014 and I didn’t really appreciate it properly until then. When I first heard it I thought it was a bit simplistic for Avenged Sevenfold. I was used to ridiculous drumbeats and guitars, and they just kind of came in with this Metallica style classic metal track. But it’s definitely one of my favourite tracks on that album now. And it’s got a huge chorus as well, which really came alive for me at Download. I guess them going back to that more traditional metal sound opened up a bigger audience as well, and they were on a natural trajectory that continued the work that they’d done on previous records. I’d personally like them to return to the form of Avenged Sevenfold, but then maybe some people think they’re on form now. They’re only going to get bigger regardless, and that can only be a good thing for rock and metal.”