Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat and Gojira: What You Need to Know About Metallica’s Opening Acts
Avenged Sevenfold were accused of trying to become Metallica in recent years, before they took a stand against their record company to go their own way. Their 2013 album, Hail to the King, was even called Metallica Lite by some people, even though the LP gave the band the opportunity to play bigger-than-ever shows.
That all followed a period of turmoil following the death of drummer and guiding light Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan during Christmas 2009, a decade after the band’s formation. They replaced him with Mike Portnoy after that drummer's split with Dream Theater. But they insisted the hire was always supposed to be a short-term arrangement, and Arin Ilejay came on as a full-time member. Last year, Avenged Sevenfold said they never settled on him as their new drummer and brought in former Bad Religion member Brooks Wackerman, who they say has provided more stability in terms of personality and musical input.
The band’s seventh album, The Stage, which came out last year, showed a massive attempt to reclaim their individuality with a guerrilla-style marketing approach that didn't quite pay off in sales. “We felt it was worth the risk," frontman M. Shadows told Inc.com. "It’s mixed feelings, but I’m very excited to be doing new things. I would be depressed if we had done the old buildup process – that feels very 2009.”
When Avenged Sevenfold support Metallica – as they did at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis last August – they may want to capitalize on their similarities with the headline act. But they’ll want to emphasize the differences too. Shadows said last year, “Instead of last time where our record was a little too close to Metallica, I’m glad that people are going to have a huge spectrum of music to listen to. I’m glad that we can add something new to the fold that Metallica’s not going to bring to the table, and they’re going to do what they do.”
Watch Avenged Sevenfold's Video for 'The Stage'
European rockabilly-metal outfit Volbeat took on a new lease of life when they hired former Anthrax guitarist Rob Cagianno in 2013, after he’d originally been brought in to produce their fifth album, Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies.
They’ve proved popular at festivals since their formation in 2001, which has helped them build a solid and eclectic fan base over the years. They’ve come to be known as a little bit Motorhead-like – in that they do what they do and you either like it or move on. The attitude remains on 2016 album Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie.
Watch Volbeat's Video for 'The Devil's Bleeding Crown'
Gojira represent the pinnacle of French metal. They’re another band whose fan base consists significantly of people who might not have expected to like them before seeing tha band perform at a music festival.
They’re sure to gain even more attention now that they’ve secured the Metallica gig, which came after sixth album, Magma, earned them two Grammy nominations. The record was inspired by the death of sibling members Joe and Mario Duplantier’s mother. “When you read Joe’s lyrics, for me, I cry right away," drummer Mario recently said. "They’re very deep and to the point. We recycle our sadness and depression in the music.”
The 21-year-old band, which started out under the name Godzilla (Gojira is the original Japanese title of the first Godzilla movie from 1954), have friends in the headline act too – guitarist Kirk Hammett last year called Gojira “the best thing I’ve heard in a long time” and called Magma “an incredible piece of art.”
Watch Gojira's Video for 'Silvera'
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