We Answer the Most Searched Questions About Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold spent the last few years pretty low-profile, but now that they've dropped a new song and have an album on the way, there's quite a bit of buzz around them again.
The band's been through a lot of changes since it formed in 1999, from their music style, to band members and political opinions. So we decided to round up the most-frequently searched questions about Avenged Sevenfold, and do our best to answer them for you.
We'll save you from the obvious ones: the band is currently made up of M. Shadows, Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance, Johnny Christ and Brooks Wackerman, and yes, they are still together. They also have a couple of performances scheduled throughout the year, which you can get tickets for here.
If you already knew the answers to some or all of these, then great — you're a super fan. But for those who are needing a bit of a lesson on the band's background, or who just simply want to see what people are most curious about, then keep on scrolling.
Are Avenged Sevenfold Christian/Are Avenged Sevenfold Religious?
These were two highly-searched questions, so we decided to combine them into one category in order to address it. Because of some of the biblical themes and references throughout Avenged Sevenfold's music, it's understandable that people would question if they're a "Christian band" or if the members themselves are religious.
Their band name also refers to a passage in the biblical book of Genesis that reads, "But the Lord said to him, 'Therefore whoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.'" However, the answer to both would be no. M. Shadows has addressed the subject many times in interviews.
"Absolutely not. I don’t believe in those things. I try not to get into that because a lot of our fans are Christians and a lot aren’t," the singer told San Antonio Current a few years ago. "I have my own beliefs, but I don’t believe in any kind of religion that we have nowadays. But we’re definitely not a Christian band."
Arin Ilejay, who played drums for the band from 2013 to 2015, however, played in a Los Angeles-based Christian band prior to joining Avenged.
Are Avenged Sevenfold Veterans?
This question is likely searched a lot because Avenged Sevenfold have outwardly supported the U.S. military several times. They performed shows for U.S. troops based in Iraq and Kuwait in November of 2010, but no one in the band is actually a military veteran.
"I think everyone in the band has had someone that's served in their family. Both of my grandfathers were in the military. But I also have a lot of friends who, out of high school, went into the Navy, some went into the Marines, some went into the Army," Shadows told Revolver. "I think they appreciated just the fact that we even came over there. Everyone was really cool. I think it's very important that we support them, because I'm not putting myself in front of a bullet every day. And you're not. But they are."
In early February, the rockers also teamed up with the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally for a sweepstakes, and donations went toward the Building Homes for Heroes organization, which benefits U.S. veterans.
Are Avenged Sevenfold Conservative?
In the earlier days of the band, they were transparent about their conservative views, and some of their lyrics implied they were as well — such as in the song "Critical Acclaim," for example.
"Most people know we're kind of one of the only bands around right now that will admit that we're Republican," Shadows told Newsday back in 2006 [via Blabbermouth]. "When we went on the Warped Tour last year — all of those bands, they're not only anti-war, they're anti-everything our country stands for. We were like, '[Expletive] this.' We're going to wear our America shirts."
However, years later, the frontman admitted that the members of the band had started to shift their views a bit, and in interviews he's expressed his support for policies such as stricter gun control laws, and he wrote an open letter in June of 2020 explaining his stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I am aware that in the past Avenged has antagonized with some of our lyrics and imagery. We have also used confederate flags in our artwork while paying tribute to artists we grew up listening to or simply trying to start controversy," he wrote. "I'm sure we will be called out, and rightfully so, by people reading this. No excuses. But everyone grows up at some point, and I feel grateful that we have an audience that has allowed us to evolve with them."
Why Did Avenged Sevenfold Stop Screaming?
M. Shadows did quite a bit of screaming throughout Avenged's first two albums, 2002's Sounding the Seventh Trumpet and 2003's Waking the Fallen. However, when they unveiled their third release City of Evil two years later, the singer's vocal style was noticeably different.
In a 2006 interview with Launch Radio Network [via Blabbermouth], he said that he'd already planned on singing differently on the new album, but having a minor throat surgery to treat a blood vessel put the nail in the coffin for the screaming, per his doctor's advice.
"It’s one of those things, we don’t listen to bands that scream. I did when I was in high school and I kind of grew out of it," he told the San Antonio Current in 2013. "Maybe I’ll listen to one or two. I’d rather listen to the Iron Maidens and Metallicas of the world than the death metal bands. For me, it doesn’t make sense."
How Did The Rev Die?
The question is often phrased as, "How did the Avenged Sevenfold drummer die," and that would be referring to Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan. The Rev was one of the founding members of Avenged Sevenfold, and was their drummer from its formation in 1999 until his death 10 years later. He played on their first four studio albums, and posthumously appeared on 2010's Nightmare as well.
In December of 2009, The Rev was found dead in his California home. He was 28 years old.
“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we tell you of the passing today of Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan,” Avenged wrote in a statement. "Jimmy was not only one of the world’s best drummers, but more importantly he was our best friend and brother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy’s family and we hope that you will respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
According to Rolling Stone, his death was later ruled an accidental overdose. He had prescription drugs and alcohol in his system, and had a pre-existing heart condition called cardiomegaly, also known as an "enlarged heart." The coroner said that the "significant condition" may have played a part in his death as well.
Why Did Avenged Sevenfold Fire Arin Ilejay?
Arin Ilejay joined Avenged in 2011 and played on their 2013 album Hail to the King, but his time in the band was rather short-lived. The band issued a statement in July of 2015 saying that they were moving forward without Ilejay as their drummer, adding that they felt they needed to move in a different direction creatively.
“I was totally shocked and scared out of my mind when Synyster Gates called to let me go," Ilejay recalled to Rolling Stone [via Metal Hammer]. "I was like, ‘Oh my God – my wife is about to have a baby. How am I going to support my family now?’”
Fortunately for Ilejay, he was offered a position in the band Islander shortly after.
"Arin got more and more distanced as time went on. It's kind of like everyone goes through their honeymoon period and it's all great, but then you start realizing that we're four guys that have a way we do things and then there's someone else that just doesn't really fit into that at all," Shadows later told the That's Not Metal podcast [via Ultimate Guitar].
"And as nice of a guy as he is, there were just a bunch of things that didn't represent us at all, and you can't have that, especially when we've worked for so long and so hard at what we do. And the last thing we care about is our public perception of what we should do with our lives."
Are Avenged Sevenfold Metal?
We'll end things with this one, because it's a question that seems to be commonly asked about a lot of bands in the rock and metal world. Where exactly is the line between rock and metal? It's a polarizing topic, but we'll try to simplify this one as best as possible. They were actually considered a hardcore band early on, but disassociated themselves from the scene rather quickly because they wanted to write more melodic material.
"If someone calls us a hardcore band we’re just like, ‘Oh… whatever. Are you gonna listen to Hatebreed or are you gonna listen to us?’ Most fucking hardcore bands want to be metal bands anyway but they just can’t play well enough," Shadows told Metal Hammer.