And again, we're left with two options. Either this is true, and songs such as "I Won't See You Tonight (Part 1)" and "I Won't See You Tonight (Part 2)," both of which are about suicide, are a pose, or maybe he's protesting too much. The latter seems likely, since most rock stars (and Avenged Sevenfold are on the cusp of rock stardom, if not already there) know they won't curry much favor with fans if they're seen complaining in the face of fame.
Whatever the case, Shadows felt as if he didn't fit in. "When music is all you care about, you feel like you're not really a part of anything else, and you feel like an outcast or misfit because you don't really fit in anywhere," he says of his high school years.
Shadows and company spent a bit of time in the OC punk/hardcore scene, but quickly tired of it because "the scene was turning to shit. It was annoying going to shows and seeing everyone look and act real tough. It was a joke." For a little while, Avenged Sevenfold were part of that scene, but no longer. Shadows doubts he'll recognize any faces when the band plays the House of Blues Wednesday.
"All those people who helped us get to where we are, I don't think they're fans anymore," he says somewhat ruefully. "With the whole hardcore scene, when you get to be a certain size, you're not cool to see anymore. Those kids hate everything you do."
Shadows sings about this particular problem—being built up and then torn down—on "Desecrate Through Reverence," which ends with the following warm wishes: "And in the end, you're all dead to me." And then saying something that so simply captures the dominant emotion that runs through the whole album: "It's an angry song, I guess."
Avenged Sevenfold perform with Poison The Well, Shadows Fall and Throwdown at The House Of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583. Wed., 7 p.m. $18. All ages (under 16 with guardian).