#998: ‘Afterlife’ – Avenged Sevenfold

Most people can usually associate memories with music and, because of this, listening to any song can lead to a flood of memories. From my personal experiences,  I’ve got almost too many of these associations to count, but as you read through this blog, you’ll undoubtedly discover more and more as time goes on. In this case, I’m going to relate a memory of Christmas 2007.

My father, grandmother and I had all gone to Coffs Harbour to spend Christmas with my uncle, aunt, and cousins. Now, I would barely see my cousins, one of whom was four months older than me, and another who was almost three years older, but whenever I did, I ended up being exposed to all manner of music, movies, or pop culture references I wouldn’t usually be exposed to.

This particular time, I was aiming to try and catch up. See, the year before, I had visited them and was taken to not only my first actual rock concert, and I was also exposed to a solid ten days of playing the original Guitar Hero game, months before its popularity would take off. I was always being shown new experiences, and the fact I was always trying to catch up to my cousins left me wanting to be the one who knew everything for a change.

So in the lead up to my 2007 trip, I spent ages researching all manner of music, trying to finally be the one to know more about music for a change. This was in the days of Myspace, so I was l looking up all of the alternative rock, indie, and emo bands that my cousins would have listened to. It was during this research binge in which I discovered groups such as Drop Dead, Gorgeous, Cute Is What We Aim For, Taking Back Sunday, and Sunny Day Real Estate, but one such band that I had been introduced to by my friend Ryan, was Bullet For My Valentine.

I got to Coffs Harbour, and my cousin Same, the eldest of the two, was listening heavily to the music of Avenged Sevenfold, and I felt like I’d wasted my time. I hadn’t researches A7X at all, I didn’t think they were one of the bands I had to listen to, so I ignored them completely. I was aware of an upcoming concert tour in which Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold,  and Atreyu were all playing, so I figured I may have had a chance to win back my credibility.

As it turned out, Sam had managed to get a copy of the new Avenged Sevenfold album for Christmas, but that was still a week away at the time of my visit, so we spent that week listening to the already-released singles from the record, including ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven‘, and ‘Almost Easy‘ in anticipation of him receiving the record for Christmas. To this day, one of my fondest memories of that trip is driving around listening to ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’ as loudly as his car would allow.

Christmas morning comes around, Sam received Avenged Sevenfold’s record, I received Radiohead’s OK Computer, and any sort of credibility I had towards being big on emo-rock sort of died right there. But we decided to listen to Sam’s new CD repeatedly, and the one track that I kept going back to was ‘Afterlife’. A track based around the idea of a person who died too young before realising they have more left to do on Earth, the track seemed one of the most radio-friendly tracks on the album. Unlike the previous metalcore tracks the band had produced, this one seemed to be the closest to an alternative rock track that they had produced, and it resonated with me greatly.

Five months later, I ended up seeing Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu, and Bullet For My Valentine in concert back home in Adelaide. I wore my Bullet tee, but I was there for A7X, and that concert became one of the best gigs I saw that year. Considering that only four months prior, I had also seen Rage Against The Machine, that was a pretty big statement to make. As a 15 year old, that gig was pretty damn important to me. I crowd-surfed for the first time (during the drumming section at the beginning of ‘Critical Acclaim‘, I met two girls that I hoped I would maybe have dated (but didn’t), and I remember vividly losing my mind at the awesome of hearing ‘Afterlife’ and ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’ live.

Under two years later, the group’s drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan passed away from an overdose, suddenly making the meaning of ‘Afterlife’ a little bit more relevant than I had thought it was before.

These days, I’ve moved on from the music of Avenged Sevenfold somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, I still check out their new music when they do a new record, but I’m no longer the hardcore fan I was. Still though, their music manages to transport me back to those days as a 15 year old who tried to be cool for his cousins, but ended up discovering an album that would resonate with me for a good few years.

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