This brings us to Avenged Sevenfold. With the success of Nightmare, Avenged Sevenfold has once again proved their market strength by debuting at number one on the Billboard Top 200. I’m just going to go ahead and say it – Avenged Sevenfold is the best hard rock act in the world bar none. I’ve been leaning in that direction ever since I saw them on their Waking the Fallen tour at the House of Blues several years ago, but after seeing them again in Chula Vista, CA on Saturday night, it’s hard to argue about their status as the king of the hill. It’s strange to think about when you consider the fact that they are on a tour where they aren’t even (technically) the top-billed band. That billing honor may have gone to Disturbed, but Avenged Sevenfold easily stole their thunder (more on that later). And this goes back to even before the release of Nightmare. A7X has just been one of those bands that have had the swagger and the talent to back it up since day one. They are the perfect example of a band that could have folded after the death of their drummer, The Rev – in fact that may have been the only thing during their rise to superstardom that has given their fans a brief moment of uncertainty about the future of the band. But with the addition of Mike Portnoy (formerly of Dream Theater) on the album and tour, they’re literally an unstoppable force. In fact, I see this particular band making a solid run of it for a lot more years to come. (Especially if they keep Portnoy…but only time will tell on that one.) For their set this night, which included all the usual highlights that you would expect from A7X, they ruled the stage.