July 27, 2010


November 2009 – April 2010


Heavy metal, hard rock


70:43 (iTunes edition)


Warner Bros.


Mike Elizondo

Singles from Nightmare

  1. "Nightmare"
  2. "Welcome to the Family"

Nightmare is the sixth studio album by American metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Released on July 27, 2010 through Warner Bros. Records, it was produced by Mike Elizondo and mixed in New York City by noted engineer Andy Wallace. Nightmare is the first Avenged Sevenfold record without founding member James "The Rev" Sullivan performing drums due to his death in December 2009, although he had a large role as a songwriter, and his vocals were prerecorded for the songs "Fiction" and "Save me".

Nightmare debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 selling 163,000 copies, surpassing its predecessor in first week sales. This debut ended Eminem's five week reign atop the Billboard 200, and pushed Recovery to No. 2. It is the first album by Avenged Sevenfold to top the Billboard 200 chart.

The album was certified "Gold" by the RIAA on February, 9th, 2011, which would coincidentally be The Rev's 30th birthday.


In late 2009, two years after Avenged Sevenfold released their self-titled album, and four years after they had issued their breakthrough studio set, 2005's City of Evil, the band started working on their next record, their "most personal and epic that will definitely take you on a very dark journey." Around late 2009, the band worked on the album's production until the death of their drummer.

For on December 28, 2009, the body of James "The Rev" Sullivan was discovered inside his home. This tragic incident made the band suspend the work of the album for some time. Sullivan died from combined effects of pain relievers and alcohol. In the later months, Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater (a major influence on The Rev and the rest of the band) agreed to step in and complete the recording of the drumming tracks for the album:

Even under normal circumstances, I would've been happy to help the guys out in any way I could as I think Avenged Sevenfold are a great band; But under these incredibly sad and tragic circumstances, I must say I am truly honored to have been asked to play with them and I didn't even have to think twice about saying yes. [...] These guys are a true family and it is an incredibly emotional experience to be here with them for the first time without their lost brother. But they have welcomed me into the family with open arms and there's a real excitement to make the record they had set out to make. I am treating my participation on this album with the utmost respect for Jimmy's memory and am remaining as true as possible to the drum parts that he wrote for the songs and the record he wanted to make. [...] Although I wish I could stay on board with Avenged Sevenfold in a more permanent capacity; I will need to resume work with Dream Theater to start a new album at some point in 2011. However, I will be able to join my brothers in Avenged Sevenfoldfor at least the duration of their touring throughout 2010, and hopefully this will give them the time to continue to heal and get comfortable back on the road.

After a couple of months, more notices about the album became available; a short message from Zacky Vengeance was posted on the official Avenged Sevenfold Twitter on April 17, 2010: "Tracking is complete. There are no words that will ever describe the feeling of listening to this album while driving home alone at 4 am."

Johnny Christ stated in an interview with Ultimate Guitar about the writing process and subject matter of Nightmare:

We definitely had made the decision that it was going to be a concept record. We wanted to have a dark concept record, sort of like The Wall or Operation: Mindcrime. At the same time we wanted to incorporate some of what we had done in the past with the guitar work. We wanted to make it heavier in general. Throughout all of that, the songs that came out were musically already as dark as we wanted them to be. Then lyrically it took a different turn when Jimmy passed. The lyrics then became mostly – not 100 percent – but mostly to do with his death and his life.

M. Shadows and Synyster Gates , in an interview with The Pulse of Radio, confirmed The Rev's special appearance in the record. According to the band members, he left a couple of vocals (to their fortune, clear and in key) before his death, which they used on the record. With his drum fills and vocals intact, the record shows itself like the band's last record with their drummer. The same band members revealed some details about the new record in an interview to Hard Drive radio:

[...] The new album, Nightmare, is dedicated to The Rev's memory and although it's not exactly a concept album, it does center around The Rev. The eeriest thing about it is there is a song on the album called "Fiction" (a nickname The Rev gave himself) which started out with the title "Death". And it was the last song The Rev wrote for the album, and when he handed it in, he said, 'That's it, that's the last song for this record'. And then, 3 days later, he died."

He also recorded vocals for the track entitled "Fiction" and used as a tribute to him. Mike Portnoy, formerly of Dream Theater, performed as the drummer for the album in his place and played with the band on all of their 2010 tour dates. In support of Nightmare, Avenged Sevenfold, along with Disturbed, became co-headliners for the first annual Uproar Festival. This was the band's first tour without Sullivan.

Release and promotionEdit

The first single, "Nightmare", was released digitally on May 18, 2010. A preview for the song was released on May 6, 2010 on, but was removed soon after for unknown reasons; However, on May 10, 2010, a 30-second audio uncensored sample was again revealed, but this time at SoundCloud and on the band's official website. The band also posted, the same day, a video of the song on their official YouTube channel with animated lyrics, which received over 275,000 plays in 24 hours.

On June 3, 2010, the band revealed a "Limited Edition" of Nightmare for pre-order available only on their website, which contains:

  • Full Nightmare album on CD.
  • Expanded booklet featuring lyric sheets from the band and exclusive artwork.
  • Housed in a synthetic leather bound book with special silver plated Nightmare crest.
  • Limited 24″ x 36″lithograph entitled Death Bat Anatomy, featuring original artwork on special textured paper embossed with a silver colored Death Bat.
  • Instant download of the new single, Nightmare.

Since May 27, 2010, the band revealed the album cover piece by piece like a jigsaw puzzle over a period of eighteen days, revealing the complete cover on June 15, 2010, along with the track listing.

On June 29, 2010, the band made available an iTunes pre-order of the album, which contains:

  • Full Nightmare digital album.
  • Bonus track: "Lost It All"
  • Exclusive photos.
  • "Nightmare" music video.
  • Behind the scenes footage from "Nightmare" music video shoot.
  • Written treatment for "Nightmare" music video.
  • "Nightmare" lyric video.
  • Audio interview with album producer, Mike Elizondo.
  • Type-set lyrics with hand-written notes for bonus track, "Lost It All".
  • Sketches of album art concept.

Track listingEdit

All songs composed by Sanders/Haner/Seward/Baker/Sullivan.

Track Title Track Length


Welcome to the Family 4:05
Danger Line 5:28
Buried Alive 6:44
Natural Born Killer 5:15
So Far Away 5:27
God Hates Us 5:19
Victim 7:30
Tonight the World Dies 4:41
Fiction 5:13
Save Me 10:56


Avenged Sevenfold

Additional Musicians

  • Mike Portnoy - drums, percussion
  • Brian Haner, Sr. - guitars on "So Far Away", solo on "Tonight the World Dies"
  • Sharlotte Gibson - backing vocals
  • Jessi Collins - backing vocals
  • David Palmer - piano, keyboards
  • Stevie Blacke - Strings, string arrangement
  • Stewart Cole - trumpet
  • Mike Elizondo - keyboards
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