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Being one of the most popular bands in all of metal, Avenged Sevenfold sometimes get clowned on for their alleged lack of heaviness. And, sure, if you take Cannibal Corpse with your afternoon tea then maybe the O.C. band don't cut it, but to claim that A7X are totally weak-sauce is simply not true.
Every new album of theirs has had a strikingly different sound than the last, and some of them are objectively less crushing than their earlier work as metalcore maestros. But there're a surprising number of legit heavy cuts in every nook and cranny of A7X's catalog, and we dug up the 10 heaviest of them all.
If you know someone who overlooks the band because of their sing-along hits ("Bat Country," "Almost Easy," "Hail to the King," etc.) then play them one (or all!) of these mosh-ready ragers. They'll likely change their tune about the Deathbat crew.
Written when they were just wee teenagers, Avenged Sevenfold's first album, 2001's Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, is by far their least developed. However, despite the band's immature songwriting chops and sloppy (by their later standards) playing, it's also definitely their second heaviest record. "An Epic of Time Wasted" is comparable to early 2000s metalcore denizens like Eighteen Visions and Bleeding Through, who A7X came up alongside in the Southern California hardcore scene. It's got breakdowns. It's got screams. Go crush a table while it plays.
More than just one of their heaviest, "Critical Acclaim" might be A7X's angriest song. That opening onslaught of screeching feedback, canon-blasting drums and hellacious screams is one of the most gratifying moments in the band's entire repertoire, and the rest of the track lives up to its apocalyptic entrance. That chugga-chugga groove rivals the most bludgeoning points on Waking the Fallen, and Shadows' spoken-word diatribes toward America's ruling class are unhinged, baleful and totally righteous.
Compared to the more muscular and meaty Waking the Fallen, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet has a curious amount of skate-punk influence in its DNA, and those regional influences shine through bright on "Darkness Surrounding." The song's woah-oh background chants evoke a band like Pennywise, but A7X's whiplash tempo brings it up to thrash-metal speed, and the skronky, lunging breakdown they settle into has a Converge-esque menace to it. It's a weirdly pieced together song, but it's fucking heavy.
On their second album, Waking the Fallen, Avenged Sevenfold became a capital-"M" Metal band. With lead shredder Synyster Gates and bassist Johnny Christ joining the lineup, A7X became infinitely tighter and more capable at crafting sinewy bangers, helping to define the New Wave of American Heavy Metal in the process. "Desecrate Through Reverence" showcases just how much more powerful they got on Waking, from the haunting riffage and pulverizing rhythms to Shadows' theatrical, almost Dani Filth-ian shrieks.
Even in their metalcore days, Avenged Sevenfold were masters of creating atmosphere, and the mournful pianos during "Eternal Rest"'s funereal chorus evoke the image of a casket creaking open mid-service. The rest of the song sounds like the soundtrack to whatever violent ends the (presumably) dead victim met. That swaggering main riff channels the relentless scourge of Pantera's Far Beyond Driven, and Shadows' metalcore wails are off the chain the whole way through.
The Stage is A7X's proggiest, most conceptually cerebral album, so no, there's not a lot of wall-smashing heaviness to be found in its 73-minute runtime. "God Damn" is the exception. The record's fourth track comes in with a pile-driving blast of palm-muted chugging and double-bass bashing, briefly throwing it back to the kind of barbs A7X routinely delivered in the Waking the Fallen days. The chorus and verses are considerably less heavy, but the song's cascading breakdown knocks it up another couple points in the knockdown category.
By 2010, it seemed like all traces of Avenged Sevenfold's metalcore era were far in the rearview, so when "God Hates Us" popped up in the middle of Nightmare's power-ballad-filled tracklist, old-school fans were giddy. Like so many of the ass-beaters on Waking the Fallen, this cut has pummeling double-bass kicks, razor-wire riffs, mosh-worthy breakdowns and, best of all, throat-shredding screams from Shadows, who shrieks the words "God hates us" with the spirit-singed scorn of a reluctant atheist under bullet fire. Heavy.
Following the nine-minute "Part 1," the first great power ballad in A7X's discography, "I Won't See You Tonight Part 2" wipes the tears from your eyes as if you're sticking your cornea under a turbo-charged blow dryer. Beginning with walls of guitar dissonance and grindcore drum blasts, Shadows comes roaring in at his most ferocious, and then the track nose-dives into the kind of breakdown a Hatebreed fan would salivate over. Chuggy, cutting and ceaselessly so, this might actually be the heaviest one of them all.
"Walk" isn't the Pantera song with the most screaming, the biggest breakdowns or the most caustic delivery, but there's a reason why fellow metal musicians consider its riff one of the heaviest of all time. There's just something primal and propulsive about its simplistic stomp, and A7X tap into that stink-face-inducing power zone on "Scream." The band conjured brutality through swarms of noise in their metalcore era, but it's the absence of turned-to-11 vigor that makes the stripped-back "Scream" so mighty. It's not as intense as other songs on this list, but it feels just as heavy.
City of Evil might be one of the most polarizing albums in metal history, the one when A7X stripped away their metalcore bite and restructured their sound into glammy thrash-metal suites with catchy riffs and clean vocals galore. "Trashed and Scattered" has all of those attributes, but its dive-bombing energy goes a lot harder than songs like "Bat Country" and "Beast and the Harlot." The drums on this thing fucking smack, there're actually a few chuggy grooves and Shadows lets rip a few tattered screams over the ruckus.