"The Actual Nightmare"
by Ansly Garcia Hernandez
Ah, the early 2000’s, the beginning of the new era of rock. AMAZING bands popped up at the time, bands such as Avenged Sevenfold (A7x), Three Days Grace(3DG), Breaking Benjamin. All of these heavy metal bands were at the peak of their beginning, their all-time high. They were releasing their best albums like City Of Evil, One-X, and Dear Agony. Fans of hardcore rock were going crazy jamming to this new revolution of rock. One of my favorite bands of ALL TIME sprung up during this revolution. That band is Avenged Sevenfold.
My intense love for this band started with their album Nightmare; since this album I was absolutely HOOKED. The music, the lyrics, the emotion, everything felt different compared to their past albums. What made this album so special to the fans and to the band was that this album was dedicated to the band's beloved drummer/singer Jimmy Sullivan aka the Rev. He passed away due to a drug overdose in the middle of recording this album. The last song the Rev was heard in was the song “Fiction” originally titled “Death”. The Rev passed away three days later after recording that song. This is why this album Nightmare is referred to as their most eerie album.
The passing of The Rev had a huge effect on the band. Before the Rev’s passing the band’s style was a bit light hearted but honestly had a bit less emotion put into the lyrics. After the Rev’s death, everything took a dark turn. It’s almost as though you could feel what they felt with every lyric, every guitar stroke, and every beat of the drum in this album. The pain and sadness from having their band member die unexpectedly, it was brutal. This was a huge turning point for A7x everything was sung with more emotion and played with more aggression, essentially this is why the album was called Nightmare, and it was a nightmare for the band. From the song lyrics to the style, to even the music videos you can tell this album was their method of expressing themselves.
“Buried Alive,” “God Hates Us,” and “Save Me.” The titles of these song but also the lyrics represents the nightmare they went through grieving the death of the Rev. This is mostly noticeable with their song “So Far Away” where the lead singer M. Shadows sings, “lay away a place for me 'cause as soon as I'm done, I'll be on my way to live eternally,” basically saying he wants the Rev to save him a spot in heaven because one day he’ll be there, ready to be with him again. Even when they created the music video for the song you can see the pain they felt. It honestly makes any hardcore fan, including me, cry.
Besides the songs reflecting them going through their own nightmare, much of the artwork on the album has their recurring theme of the deathbat; however, this time it includes a girl in a grave (buried live), with a terrified expression as she clutches onto a teddy bear. This is very different for them compared to their past albums where the deathbat is the only thing on the album cover. Some people believe the way the deathbat is hovering over the child might represent death taking a loved one or possibly the start of a new beginning. And at the back of the album, it contains the most memorable picture of the band hugging Jimmy during one of their shows.
This band will always be my favorite because of their music and because of the band members themselves. They dedicated an entire album to the loss of a band member and that’s an incredible thing to do. They were able to surpass the feelings of grief and disbanding to finish the album which led to them being recognized by new people. It showed that even though there’s a loss, it can feel like an endless nightmare, but you can still live on and succeed, and always remember that person is watching up above.