Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Avenged Sevenfold, those polarizing boys from Orange County who have evolved and matured over the years from guyliner-slathered metalcore upstarts to TRL-beloved sleaze-metal revivalists to bonafide arena-packing hard-rock heroes. Avenged have plenty of fan-favorite anthems, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
ALBUM: WAKING THE FALLEN
A standout cut off A7X’s second album, “Unholy Confessions” hints at the band’s breakthrough creative left turn soon to come with big clean-song choruses and shreddy metal riffage.
Sample lyrics: “Nothing hurts my world/Just affects the ones around me/When sin’s deep in my blood/You’ll be the one to fall”
“BEAST AND THE HARLOT”
ALBUM: CITY OF EVIL
M. Shadow’s inhumanly long shrieking wail kicks off the song with a band, which roars along with all the snotty bravado of a young Guns N’ Roses.
Sample lyrics: “There’s more than meets the eye round here look to the waters of the deep/A city of evil”
ALBUM: CITY OF EVIL
It’s the song that made A7X stars — but don’t think for a second that it was some sell-out move. “Bat Country” ripped hard then, and it still does today.
Sample lyrics: “Now take a trip with me/But don’t be surprised when things aren’t what they seem”
“A LITTLE PIECE OF HEAVEN”
ALBUM: AVENGED SEVENFOLD
A gleefully twisted, Tim Burton-esque rock opera, “A Little Piece of Heaven” stands as a testament to the genius of Avenged’s late, great drummer and songwriter Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.
Sample lyrics: “Must have stabbed her fifty fucking times/I can’t believe it/Ripped her heart out right before her eyes/Eyes over easy, eat it eat it eat it”
Epic, dynamic, hard-hitting and infectious, this Nightmare highlight feels like an Avenged Sevenfold update on classic Metallica.
Sample lyrics: “I walked the fields through the fire/Taking steps until I found solid ground/Followed dreams reaching higher/Couldn’t survive the fall”