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The band was formed in 1999 in Huntington Beach, California with original members M Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, The Rev, and Matt Wendt. M Shadows came up with the name as a reference to the story of Cain and Abel from The Bible, although it is not a religious band. Upon its formation, each member of the band also took on a pseudonym which were already nicknames of theirs from high school. The band released two demos in the years 1999 and 2000. Avenged Sevenfold's debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, was recorded when the band members were just eighteen years old and in high school. It was originally released on their first label, Good Life Recordings in 2001. After lead guitarist Synyster Gates joined the band, the introductory track "To End The Rapture" was re-recorded featuring a full band element. The album was subsequently re-released on Hopeless Records in 2002.

The band started to receive recognition, sharing the stage with metal acts like Mushroomhead and Shadows Fall and playing on the Take Action Tour. Having settled on their fourth bassist, Johnny Christ, they released Waking the Fallen on Hopeless Record in August 2003. The band received profiles in Billboard and The Boston Globe, and played in the Vans Warped Tour. In 2004, Avenged Sevenfold toured again on the Vans Warped Tour and recorded a video for their song "Unholy Confessions" which went into rotation on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball. Shortly after the release of Waking the Fallen, Avenged Sevenfold was signed to Warner Bros. Records.


 
Avenged Sevenfold
   
Waking the Fallen
 
City of Evil
 
Sounding the Seventh Trumpet