Nightmare

Album: Nightmare (2010)
Charted: 65 51

Songfacts®:

  • This is the first single and title track from American metal band Avenged Sevenfold' s fifth studio album. It's also the first single released without the former drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, who passed away on December 28, 2009 from a drug overdose. Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, who is a major influence on Avenged Sevenfold, agreed to finish recording the drumming tracks for the album. The Rev's death hit Portnoy hard, as they both struggled with addiction, which in Portnoy's case, was alcohol. In our 2010 interview, Portnoy told us: "When I see what happened to The Rev, or Paul Gray from Slipknot who just passed away, I feel horrible, because I understand the disease and how dangerous it is, and if you're an addict or an alcoholic, like I am, the writing's on the wall. You can't live that kind of lifestyle and live a long, happy life. You know, that lifestyle and that disease, which I have, is going to take you out. You have two choices when you're that deep: you either have to get sober, or inevitably end up in hospitals, institutions, death, or jail. There's only two roads when you're that bad of an alcoholic or an addict. And I saw the writing on the wall for myself ten years ago. I have a son and a daughter who were just born back then, in the late '90s, and I saw that my alcoholism was killing me, physically, emotionally, and mentally. And I saw what it did to some of my heroes, people like Keith Moon and John Bonham, and it scared the hell out of me. I had to make a decision. I wanted to live. I wanted to be a father and a husband and be alive for my family, friends, and my band. And that's when I decided to get help and get sober." (Read more in our interview with Mike Portnoy.)
  • Lead singer M. Shadows told Rolling Stone that inspiration for this song struck on his wedding day, and when he detoured to the studio to hash out a demo, his fiancé was not pleased. She has since forgiven him, as it helped the Nightmare album rise to #1 in the US.
  • The album takes the listener on a dark journey. Prior to recording Nightmare, guitarist Zacky Vengeance said that Avenged were taking inspiration from the world around them. "We came off of the road amidst one of the most turbulent times in history," he said. "Everything going on around us was overwhelming, frightening, frustrating and confusing. I must confess that it was also very exciting to me. I'm sure you can share my sentiment."
    Vengeance added: "We have been focused on only one thing: writing and preparing to record what to me is our most personal and epic Avenged Sevenfold album. The reason is the fact that everything happening around us in the entire world might be a once-in-a-lifetime source of inspiration and direction."
  • Speaking on The Pulse of Radio, M. Shadows said the following about this track: "'Nightmare' is one of those songs that was the beginning of the record and it was setting us up for this big story. Jimmy loved the lyrics so much that when he passed away, I didn't want to change them. And I figured, if this record's gonna be about Jimmy, I'm not gonna change stuff he loved about it, 'cause there's already so many songs that are about him, or with him in it, and just have to do with that whole dark side of everything we were going through."
  • The song's music video was directed by Wayne Isham, who has also worked with bands such as Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi and Metallica. Bassist Johnny Christ told Metal Underground about the clip: "We recorded that in L.A. We weren't going to do a video at all, but we wanted to pay a tribute. We had worked with director Wayne Isham before and we trusted him and he came through for us with a theme from Jacob's Ladder. There are things throughout the song and video that show and represent Jimmy. We strapped M. Shadows to a gurney and shove him around and had a bunch of people playing with blood. It's pretty visually intriguing."
  • Nightmare was the first Avenged Sevenfold album to top the Billboard 200. It marked the first album chart-topper on the Sire imprint since Depeche Mode's Songs of Faith and Devotion in 1993.

Comments: 2

  • Cory from Dayton, OhThis song is one of my favorites by Avenged Sevenfold.
  • Marcus from Jackson, Milove it.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Victoria WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

Despite appearances on Carson, Leno and a Pennebaker film, Williams remains a hidden treasure.

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

Classic MetalFact or Fiction

Ozzy, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest and even Michael Bolton show up in this Classic Metal quiz.