Under the stewardship of the original line-up of M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, The Rev and Matt Wendt, Avenged Sevenfold (abbreviated as 'A7X') formed in 1999 in Huntington Beach, California. M Shadows came up with the name from Genesis 4:24 (the story of Cain and Abel from The Bible). The stage names used by the band members were originally their highschool nicknames. Matt Wendt was not around long for he was later replaced by Justin Sane on bass (ex-Suburban Legends).
Before the release of their debut album, the band had previously recorded two demos in 1999 and 2000 respectively. In mid-2001, bassist Justin Sane had attempted suicide by drinking excessive amounts of cough syrup and ended up being institutionalized. The attempt had an impact on the band's Take Action tour and he was subsiquently replaced by Dameon Ash. Avenged Sevenfold's debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, was recorded when the band members were only eighteen years old and in high school. It was originally released on, 'Good Life Recordings' in 2001. After lead guitarist Synyster Gates joined the band, at the end of 1999 when he was 18, the introductory track To End the Rapture was re-recorded featuring a full band element; the album was subsequently re-released on 'Hopeless Records' in 2002.
Having found a new bassist in the form of Johnny Christ, the group released their second studio album, Waking the Fallen, on 'Hopeless Records' in August 2003. The album featured a more refined and mature sound production in comparison to their previous work. The band then participated on the Vans Warped Tour, and again in 2004, as well as recording a video for their song Unholy Confessions gaining rotation on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball. The act ended the year by signing to 'Warner Brothers".
City of Evil, the band's third album and major label debut, was released on June 7, 2005 and debuted at No.30 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling over 30,000 copies in its first week of release. It utilized a more classic metal sound than their previous works featuring a more Metalcore style sound; the album is also notable for the absence of screamed and growled vocals.
After playing Ozzfest in 2006, Avenged Sevenfold received the award for the title of Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards, thanks in part to their Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-inspired song Bat Country. They returned to the Vans Warped Tour as the headliners before returing to complete Cities of Evil tour. In addition, their lead single Bat Country reached No.2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts, No.6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts and the accompanying video made it to No.1 on MTV's Total Request Live. The success kept coming for the album became Avenged Sevenfold's first gold record. It was later certified platinum in August 2009.
Avenged Sevenfold was invited to join Ozzfest tour on the main stage, alongside other well known rock/heavy metal acts such as DragonForce, Lacuna Coil, Hatebreed, Disturbed and System of a Down for the first time in 2006. That same year they also completed a worldwide tour, including the US, The United Kingdom (as well as mainland Europe), Japan, Australia and New Zealand. After a sixteen month promotion of City of Evil, the band announced that they were cancelling their Fall 2006 tour to record new music. In the interim, the band released their first DVD titled All Excess on July 17, 2007. All Excess, which debuted as the No.1 DVD in the USA, included live performances and backstage footage that spanned the band's eight-year career. Two tribute albums, Strung Out on Avenged Sevenfold: Bat Wings and Broken Strings and Strung Out on Avenged Sevenfold: The String Tribute were also released in October 2007.
On October 26, 2007, Avenged Sevenfold released their self-titled album, the band's fourth studio album. It debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200, with the singles,Critical Acclaim and Almost Easy released prior to the album's debut. In December 2007, an animated video was made for A Little Piece of Heaven. Due to the song's controversial subject matter, however, 'Warner Brothers' only released it to registered MVI users over the internet. The third single, Afterlife and its video was released in January 2008. Their fourth single, Dear God, was released on June 15, 2008.
Avenged Sevenfold headlined the 2008 Taste of Chaos tour with Atreyu, Bullet for My Valentine, Blessthefall and Idiot Pilot. They used the footage from their last show in Long Beach for Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough, a two-disc B-sides CD and live DVD which was released on September 16, 2008. They also recorded numerous covers, including Pantera's Walk, Iron Maiden's Flash of the Blade and Black Sabbath's Paranoid.
On December 28, 2009, the band's drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan was found dead at his home at the age of 28, the cause of death was revealed to have been an "acute polydrug intoxication due to combined effects of Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Diazepam/Nordiazepam and ethanol". Shortly later the band had made overtures that they intended to break up, but this news was short-lived for the soon after let loose a press release Avenged Sevenfold stated that they had entered the studio, along with now-former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, to drum for the album.
The single Nightmare was digitally released on May 18, 2010. A preview for the song was released on May 6, 2010 on Amazon.com, but was removed soon after for unknown reasons. Mixing for the album had been completed in New York City, and Nightmare was finally released worldwide on July 27, 2010. After finishing recording, in December, Portnoy and the band posted simultaneous statements on their websites stating that he would not be the permanent replacement on the drums. However, Portnoy did travel with the band overseas in December 2010 for three shows in Iraq and Kuwait sponsored by the USO. They played for U.S. Soldiers at Camp Adder, Camp Beuhring, and Balad Air Base. On January 20, 2011, Avenged Sevenfold then announced via Facebook that former Confide drummer Arin Ilejay would begin touring with them that year; he was not yet confirmed as a full-time member, however.
In May 2011, it was confirmed that the band had written a new song to be included in the Escalation DLC pack for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops. The song is the first time developers Treyarch have commissioned an outside band to contribute a song since the franchise began. The song, titled "Not Ready to Die", was released on iTunes on May 2, 2011. Avenged Sevenfold then performed at the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals on June 35, 2011 alongside other bands such as Alter Bridge, System of a Down, and In Flames.
On September 24, 2012, Avenged Sevenfold released a new song, titled Carry On; it was featured in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II, while Arin Ilejay was confirmed as an official band member.
The band was confirmed to play at the 2013 Rock in Rio festival. May 24, 2013, the band announced dates for their European tour with Five Finger Death Punch and Device serving as their support bands.
Hail to the King, was released on August 27, 2013. This is the first Avenged Sevenfold album without any musical contributions from deceased 'The Rev.' The album's lead single and title track was released on July 15, 2013. Hail to the King charted as #1 on the US Billboard 200, the UK albums chart, as well as the Finnish, Brazilian, Canadian, and Irish charts, and was commercially and critically acclaimed.