Still at high school when the band formed in 1999, Zacky Vengeance, M. Shadows, Synyster Gates, The Rev and Johnny Christ (the original members of Avenged Sevenfold) made an early impact with their rock, pop-punk fusion. The band's debut release was Sounding The Seventh Trumpet in 2001, before they were signed to Hopeless for their follow-up album in 2003, Waking The Fallen. However, it wasn't until the group moved to Warner that they enjoyed their breakthrough success with 2005's City Of Evil, which included the top 10 single "Bat Country." The album went into the top 30 album charts in the US and their popularity saw them pick up an MTV Award in 2006 as a result. The band went down the route of producing their albums themselves with their fourth effort, the self-titled Avenged Sevenfold, which went in at Number 4 on the US album charts. They also started to see success outside the US, when three of Avenged Sevenfold's singles went into the Top 5 in the UK rock charts. Although the band released a stop-gap live album, Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough in 2008, they signalled their intention to start work on another album. However, the band was hit with tragedy at the end of 2009, when drummer Jimmy `The Rev' Sullivan was found dead at the age of 28. The band's fifth studio album, the chart-topping Nightmare, arrived in 2010, with the majority of drum parts steered by Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, although previously recorded contributions from The Rev were still featured. 2013 saw the release of the band's sixth studio album Hail to the King, which was produced by Mike Elizondo and which peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. The band welcomed new drummer Brooks Wackerman for their seventh album The Stage, and scored a Grammy nomination (Best Rock Song) for the LP's title track. Following a seven-year break between records, the band returned in 2023 with their eighth studio album Life Is but a Dream..., which partly drew inspiration from M. Shadows and Synyster Gates's experience of taking psychedelics.