Avenged Sevenfold played a pivotal role in waking metal from its slumber at the beginning of the new millennium. The band was also one of the few groups that was largely influential in shaping the sound of nu metal, and is also one of the only bands to go from metalcore to a more classic metal sound, instead of the other way around. Despite the death of drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, his legacy will live on in the songs he wrote for his final album, Nightmare. After playing 2011 tour dates on the Welcome to the Family tour, Avenged Sevenfold is taking their concert dates overseas to Europe and Australia.
Avenged Sevenfold was formed in 1999 by high school friends Matthew Sanders (M. Shadows), Zachary Baker (Zacky Vengeance), The Rev (Jimmy Sullivan), and Matt Wendt. The group recorded two demos in 1999 and 2000 before releasing their debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, in early 2001. Lead guitarist Brian Haner, Jr. (Synyster Gates) joined shortly after the album's release and John Seward (Johnny Christ) replaced Matt Wendt in 2003. The band soon released their second album, Waking the Fallen, in the same year. Higher production values better showcased Avenged Sevenfold's musical talents and gained attention on Warped Tour dates, as well as the reincarnation of Headbanger's Ball.
The group's major label debut, City of Evil, in 2005, marked a shift from metalcore to a more contemporary metal sound. Avenged Sevenfold spent sixteen continuous months playing concert dates in promotion of the album, eventually canceling tour dates in 2006 so that they could head back into the studio. After a year of tireless recording, the band's self-titled album debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 in late 2007. "Dear God" has country music undertones, while "A Little Piece of Heaven" is essentially a metal show tune; these experimental songs received mixed reviews from critics, but fans ate them up.
After numerous tour dates in promotion of the album, Avenged Sevenfold again became eager to get back into the studio. The songs were written and recording set to commence in late December, just days before James "The Rev" Sullivan was found dead in his Huntington Beach home at the age of 28. While drum tracks on the album, Nightmare, were recorded by The Rev's favorite drummer, Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, he did record vocals for a few tracks as well as turning in the music for the track "Fiction" just three days before his death. The Rev must have been smiling down on the band because the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and become a huge success with fans and critics.
Fresh off 2011 tour dates for their Welcome to the Family tour, Avenged Sevenfold has more concert dates lined up in Europe and Australia. Avenged Sevenfold will spend June playing tour dates in Western Europe, including stops at Rock Im Park and Rock am Ring in Germany, the PinkPop festival in the Netherlands, and Graspop in Belgium. July 15 and 16 will see Avenged Sevenfold playing concert dates in Wisconsin before heading out on 2011 tour dates in Australia beginning July 28. Australian tour dates will end in Perth on August 6, so European and Australian fans should check Eventful for tickets soon.