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Rock on the Range Artist of the Week: Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold will be returning to Columbus' annual rock festival at Crew Stadium this May to headline one of the three nights. The event will mark the third time that the band has played Rock on the Range. In 2009 they were the last band at the festival to open before Motley Crue's headlining performance and in 2011 they headlined themselves for the first time. To celebrate Rock on the Range, I'm going to start highlighting some of my favorite bands that will be there, and hopefully exposing some folks to some really good music before they go.

Avenged Sevenfold performing in Las Vegas
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Over the course of the past fifteen years or so, Avenged Sevenfold has grown from a small, club band to the biggest metal band in the world not named Metallica, Sabbath, or Maiden. Like every other metal band in history, that has musically grown during their careers, Avenged Sevenfold has been met in recent years with their fair share of critics.

Just like when Metallica went from a thrash band to a straight ahead metal band, Avenged Sevenfold has been accused of being "sellouts" themselves. That word gets thrown around so easily in the metal world, and its actually kind of annoying. Avenged Sevenfold is not less metal now that their vocals aren't only inaudible screaming. It's actually quite ludicrous to assume that a band won't grow and mature throughout their careers. Like Iron Maiden before them, Avenged Sevenfold's sound has changed as time has moved forward. You can't really expect people in their thirties to write the same way that they did when they were 18, 19 years old. That's not reality. Life experiences change, reality changes, and what's important to you changes throughout the course of life. That has been reflected on every album throughout their catalog.

Looking back, it isn't as if they haven't experienced their share of "life" that every other big metal band goes through. Their career has had episodes of triumph, drug use, and tragedy; but if you stay in that place, you can't get well. You grow up. You move on. You never forget, but you do carry forward. You have to. Or you become Motley Crue. The best music on earth to drink to, but when you are in your forties and fifties and that is all you've accomplished, it just isn't as cool anymore. No sane person today still looks at Vince Neil and says; "Man, he killed a guy driving drunk. Got away with it, still gets D.U.I.'s and gets laid. He is so cool!" Avenged Sevenfold is now in an era of rebirth in their career that has taken them to heights that very few metal bands achieve. Had they chosen to stay in place they wouldn't be the biggest modern metal band in the world, they've achieved that with perseverance. Let's celebrate that!

Avenged Sevenfold; you can call them sellouts if you'd like. It's a lie, though. They are simply just a metal band that has progressed with age. Metal fans in general are the most loyal fans in music. Too often, though, they get caught up in the mudslinging and name calling and then wonder why we never get our due when it comes to recognition from the media. If our music is as good as we claim it to be, then we should be inviting more people to our party. Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold have both done that; bringing in new fans in masses but hardcore metal fans punish them for that. We complain about the mindless and soulless zombies of the world like Bieber and Miley and do nothing to try to save our brothers and sisters from that garbage. We love to turn our noses up at them because of the trash that they listen to, but get our panties in a bunch when they want to come to our side. We tend to say; "But, they're not real metal fans!" or "A7X (Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Megadeth) were better before they got big!" Why? We want the metal world to get its due and then get bent out of shape when a band isn't our little secret anymore. Iron Maiden is my favorite band in the entire world and I want everybody to experience the perfection that their music is. That's how we change the music industry, metal-heads. We expose the music to the masses and welcome them in. Rome wasn't built in a day.

To celebrate Avenged Sevenfold continuing to fly the metal flag and to celebrate their return to Columbus, I want to share with you my Essential Top 25 Avenged Sevenfold Tracks below. Enjoy and put your fists in the air.

1. Nightmare (2010)

2. Seize the Day (2005)

3. The Beast and the Harlot (2005)

4. Bat Country (2005)

5. So Far Away (2010)

6. Buried Alive (2010)

7. Dear God (2007)

8. Waking the Fallen/Unholy Confessions (2003)

9. Danger Line (2010)

10. Chapter Four (2003)

11. Natural Born Killer (2010)

12. Critical Acclaim (2007)

13. Hail to the King (2013)

14. Welcome to the Family (2010)

15. M.I.A. (2005)

16. Coming Home (2013)

17. Lost (2007)

18. Save Me (2010)

19. I Won't See You Tonight (Parts 1 & 2) (2003)

20. Victim (2010)

21. Fiction (2010)

22. Gunslinger (2007)

23. And All Things Will End (2003)

24. Shepherd of Fire (2013)

25. Flash of the Blade (Iron Maiden cover) (2008)

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