Don’t look for any genres here. It is pretty difficult to classify Avenged Sevenfold’s hardcore guitar riffs, harmonious breakdowns, where-did-that-come-from? tempo changes, and blazing fast solos into a single type of music. Are they punk? Metal? Hardcore? Hardcorepunkmetal? A7X’s music is a big melting pot of classic metal, punk and modern hardcore that does not have a genre. Fans of the more punk-oriented Vans Warped Tour as well as the more metal-oriented Ozzfest can both equally appreciate the brilliance that is A7X.
‘We listen to so much different stuff that, like all of us we listen to everything across the whole spectrum and I think all of us have such different musical tastes,’ said guitarist Zacky Vengeance. ‘We all vary so much in what we like and I think that’s where we get our sound from.
‘We all grew up listening to punk and a bunch of heavy music too. We always loved Guns N’ Roses, we are Misfits fans, Pantera, Iron Maiden, you know we all loved Metallica, Bad Religion and NOFX,’ Vengeance said.
A7X is a five-piece band originally hailing from Orange County. They feature one of the most explosive drummers in recent memory who calls himself The Reverend. Lead guitarist Synyster Gates and second guitarist Vengeance are the masterminds behind the wicked riffs and solos that are backed up by bassist Johnny Christ. Finishing off the puzzle is versatile lead vocalist M. Shadows.
‘We were just a group of friends and I met everyone in high school and we all just hit it off and had an idea of playing heavier music that had a new twist to it,’ Vengeance said. ‘Our goal was to always be true to ourselves and try and write stuff that we love.’
A7X just released their sophomore album ‘Waking the Fallen’ on Hopeless Records. The album features everything you expect from a band that has such a wide variety of tastes. One minute Shadows is singing his heart out in a beautiful piano ballad called ‘I Won’t See You Tonight, part I,’ and the next minute Shadows is screaming and growling dark lyrics over Gates and Vengeance’s guitar riffs in songs like ‘Unholy Confessions’ and ‘Second Heartbeat.’ With ‘Waking the Fallen,’ A7X has moved toward acquiring a sound that is all their own while staying true to their long, epic-type songs that made their first album, ‘Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet,’ so unique in modern music.
‘We had no expectations for [‘Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet’], we were young and we wrote it in high school, and we definitely grew a lot and we had a ton of new ideas,’ Vengeance said. ‘We went back more to stuff we grew up loving. We started pulling out the Pantera and Metallica albums and realized that was the stuff that we really enjoyed and it would be fun to use our real influences instead of trying to be something different. [‘Waking the Fallen’] came out exactly how we wanted and we are really happy about it.’
It did not take long for A7X’s music to end up in the hands of major record labels and the band has recently made the jump into the big time, signing on with Warner Brothers.
‘It is a new opportunity for us,’ Vengeance said. ‘One of our goals is to get our music heard by as many people as possible. A lot of kids aren’t able to get the CD and they aren’t able to even know that we exist and we want people to have a chance to find out about us.’
Often with jumps from smaller, lesser-known labels to major labels, there is uproar among the fans. The concern is usually in regards to if their favorite band is ‘selling out.’
‘We aren’t worried about that in the slightest,’ Vengeance said. ‘We have already gotten a great reaction from our true fans. [Sellout] is a term thrown around loosely by younger kids that don’t really understand because I was the same way when I was that age. I felt the band was breaking away from me. But now I’m older and wiser and I realize that you are always growing.’
Because of a deal with Electronic Arts video games, Avenged Sevenfold’s track, ‘Chapter Four,’ off their ‘Waken the Fallen’ album can be heard between plays on Madden 2004.
‘We play [Madden 2004] in the van all the time,’ laughed Vengeance.
In the event that you’re trying to hustle A7X at Madden 2004, if you’re trying to win, don’t choose to play against Reverend and don’t pick their favorite team