I have been a huge Avenged Sevenfold fan since I was in middle school. I thought this list would be a fun idea, and also a way for me to let my readers know a little bit more about me. This list is purely my opinion on my top ten favorite A7X songs, and is in no way an official list.
10. I Won’t See You Tonight (parts 1 and 2) – Waking the Fallen
I know, I know. It’s literally the first item on this list and I’ve already combined two songs. But it’s for good reason! You cannot listen to I Won’t See You Tonight part 1 without immediately going into part 2. Part 1 is mostly singing, with some of the more powerful moments in a mix between singing and screaming. Part 2 is entirely screaming It is my interpretation that part 1 tells the story of someone committing suicide, while part 2 is the anger and confusion of their friends and family who don’t understand why they committed suicide. This is evident in the lyrics of the songs, with part 1 beginning with “cry alone, I’ve gone away. No more nights. No more pain. I’ve gone alone, took all my strength. I’ve made the change. I won’t see you tonight,” and part 2 opening with “come back to me, this is inconceivable, breaking apart the ones you love. Hate runs deep for what you’ve done to us, left alone through suicide.”
Part 1 opens up with a very somber, yet soothing, piano intro that gets broken up by a passionate and powerful guitar solo, right out of the gate. To me, the musicality of this just screams the kind of saddness that you just can’t get away from, which is ultimately what the song is about. M. Shadows’ vocals are powerful, but you can detect the hurt behind them. I think this is incredibly hard to achieve, especially within the rock/metal genre. This hurt you hear in his voice goes from very quiet and somber to enraged in the middle of the track. You can feel the frustration behind the words that he’s saying. The power of the song fades back into a piano interlude, showing a short respite from the emotion of the piece. But, just as with a deep saddness, it is short lived. The guitars and strings begin to slowly come back in, combined with the drums later on, which build back up to the intensity of the middle of the song. M. Shadows’ returns with a powerful bridge that never fails to bring tears to my eyes. The song fades off with the same melody repeating over and over again until eventually becoming nothing but white noise.
Part 2 opens immediately with screaming, and you can really feel the fear, anger, and frustration behind the lyrics. Most of the song carries on this way. Another lyric that I feel supports my theory of part 2 being about confused friends and family is “look at my face you pierce with a blank stare. No dream could prepare a heart for a lifeless friend. He’s gone, nothing will take back time. I need him back, but nothing will take back time.” I don’t know if this is what Avenged Sevenfold was gong for, but it’s what I’ve gotten from the song since I was in middle school.
When I first heard these songs, they gave me chills up and down my spine. I think that both of these songs are so beautifully done and were – admittedly – my go-to sad songs in middle and early high school.
Well…that was a depressing start.
9. Unholy Confessions – Waking the Fallen
When most Avenged Sevenfold fans think early A7X, they will most likely think of Unholy Confessions. This was one of the band’s first popular songs, and for a good reason. The song starts off with an amazing guitar riff that sucks you in immediately. The quick addition of the drums sets the unrelenting pace of this classic. M. Shadows’ vocals fit the song perfectly, switching between screaming and singing. This is one of the songs that I would consider the most influential to Avenged Sevenfold’s overall sound. This, and the next song on this list…
8. Second Heartbeat – Waking the Fallen
This song is probably the classic early A7X song. While they still play Second Heartbeat and Unholy Confessions in concert, people go absolutely nuts over Second Heartbeat. Like Unholy Confessions, this begins with a guitar riff quickly followed by a fast pace set by the drums. But the vocals in this one are more screaming than singing, which gives it a more “hardcore” element, for lack of a better term. Fans still go crazy over this song to this day, which is why I consider it the OG early Avenged Sevenfold song.
7. Almost Easy – Avenged Sevenfold
Almost Easy was everywhere back in the day, and I mean everywhere. It was even in a transformers movie. This song is great in many ways. It starts with a high intensity right out of the gate, with amazing guitar work from Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance. And, of course, the impeccable drumming of The Rev. Not to mention that M. Shadows sounds so good on this track! He really hit the nail on the head for vocals on this one.
What made me put this one on the list is the backup vocal work by the entire band on the chorus and bridge of the song. All four of the other members of the band sound amazing, but The Rev’s high notes always make me get butterflies.
6. The Wicked End – City of Evil
Boy, I wish I had a video of the first time that I heard this song. My brother and I were on the way to school. We usually talked to one another and what not, but we were completely silent during this song, both of our mouths agape. This song was the definition of epic. It includes the Avenged Sevenfold classics like a ferocious, melodic guitar; trashing drums; and wicked vocals. This song even starts off with a kick ass bass solo from the one and only Johnny Christ. The lyrics tell of the coming of the end of the world, taking most of it’s inspiration from the biblical book of Revelation. Near the middle of the song, the harsh drums and guitar fade out to a more soothing guitar. A choir soon joins in, really giving the song a lot of grandiose, adding to the biblical feel and message of the song.
5. God Hates Us – Nightmare
This one starts out slow and simple with Synyster and Zacky’s classic dueling guitar sound. However, the calming nature of the song is broken up by Mike Portnoy’s drumming and M. Shadows’ killer vocals. I love this song for many reasons. It is one of the heavier tracks on Nightmare, and it includes a memorable melody and guitar riff that I constantly catch myself humming to myself, not to mention a kick ass guitar solo and breakdown. But I also love this song for the shadiness. Many of the original Avenged Sevenfold fans claimed that M. Shadows couldn’t scream anymore since he hadn’t been doing it on any of the current records. I love that he included screaming in this song as a subtle middle finger to fans who doubted him.
4. Natural Born Killer – Nightmare
This is probably my favorite song from Nightmare. I love this song for similar reasons as to why I love God Hates Us. It is one of the heavier songs on Nightmare. This one, however, comes barreling at you right from the start and doesn’t let up until the song is over. This is the type of song that you just want to bang your head and mosh to. Synyster and Zacky do some really great guitar work on this one, and Matt’s vocals never fail to impress me on this track. There’s such an intensity behind the lyrics and a power in his voice that I am drawn to in this song.
3. A Little Piece of Heaven – Avenged Sevenfold
A Little Piece of Heaven is a crazy, messed up ride from start to finish. The song tells the story of a couple. The man wants to propose to his girlfriend, but he’s afraid that she may reject him. So, instead of having to deal with that possibility, he murders her and does some not so nice things with her dead corpse. His girlfriend comes back to life and enacts her revenge by killing him the same exact way that he killed her. They later go on to be married in the afterlife and go on a murder rampage, killing everyone in sight.
This song is an unforgettable moment for Avenged Sevenfold for many reasons. This song was written by The Rev (rest in piece), who had a crazy imagination and immense talent and creativity. A Little Piece of Heaven is basically his love child with singer M. Shadows, with the help and execution from the other members of the band as well. There’s a classic video of the making of the song, and it’s really a trip to watch. One of my favorite moments is The Rev and M. Shadows in the booth recording some of the screams that can be heard in the background and, let me just tell you, I wish I could’ve hung out with The Rev and been one of his good friends, because I want to see what other crazy antics he would get himself into.
A Little Piece of Heaven is special to the fans of Avenged Sevenfold because it is a glimpse of what went on inside The Rev’s head, and also because of all of the different elements that came together to create this song: like an orchestra and choir, Zacky Vengeance providing the voice for the priest, things like that. This song feels like the band made it just for the fans, and put as much love and care into as they could.
2. Burn it Down – City of Evil
If there’s one word to describe my feelings while listening to this song, it’s “speechless”. The sound that can be found in this song is what I think of when I think about Avenged Sevenfold. The craziness of the guitars, the unrelenting pace of the drums, and the vocal prowess that is displayed. When I think of Avenged Sevenfold in their hay-day, I usually think of this song.
I actually had a difficult time deciding whether or not this song should top my list, and debating making the number one slot a tie, but that would’ve been too much of a cop-out, so I decided against it.
1. Bat Country – City of Evil
This is the song that put Avenged Sevenfold on the map, and for good reason. You know you’re in for an interesting time as soon as the song starts and the gravely, distorted voice comes in with the famous quote by Samuel Johnson, followed by a scream that starts pretty low and slowly slides up the scale. Also, taken the fact that the song is based off of the novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you know things are about to get freaky. And I think that the music video shows this pretty well too.
I think that this is one of the best examples of the skill of the entire band, but The Rev specifically. Every time I listen to this song, I am entranced by his work on the drums. It amazes me how quickly he was able to do everything. Synyster Gates also cemented his place as a guitar god with the solo from this song, even if the older generation of metal heads don’t want to accept that someone so young could be so amazing.
This was the first Avenged Sevenfold song that I ever heard, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
There you have it. That’s my top ten list of my personal favorite Avenged Sevenfold songs. God, that was hard to do. Don’t make me do this again.