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Matthew Charles Samuels was born on the 31st of July 1981, better known as M.Shadows the lead vocalist and songwriter for the American heavy metal band, Avenged Sevenfold. M.Shadows posesses the voice type of high baritone. A baritone is a classical male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voice types, the baritone is the most common male voice type. He is well-known for his gritty singing style and occasional screaming.
M.Shadows started singing at an early age, but his interest in rock music grew as he got older and started playing the guitar. His early musical experience with the piano, had a strong influence on his guitar playing and singing voice. He attended Huntington Beach High School where he played in a punk band called “Successful Failure” for a brief period. M.Shadows later formed Avenged Sevenfold in 1999 along with his high school friends Zacky Vengeance, The Rev and Matt Wendt. Soon after one of The Rev’s friends joined the band as the lead guitarist. In 2001 the band released their first studio album called Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, the album gained mixed to positive reviews from critics. The band released their second album Waking The Fallen in 2003 and the band played the Vans Warped tour later that year. While discussing the band’s name, M.Shadows says that all the band members had the task of coming up with a list of names and he was the only one who completed the task. Avenged Sevenfold is a reference to the Book of Genesis, a name that the band preferred over Lips of Deceit, another biblical note.
M.Shadows like the rest of the band has stage names, because many of the bands that inspired them for example Slash from Guns ‘n Roses and Munky of Korn had stage names. He decided on the name M.Shadows, because he felt like the darker character of the group and he used M instead of his first name Matthew due to the way it sounded.
Shadows’ vocal style has evolved over the years, initially on the band’s first album he used a harsh metalcore-style growls with limited use of clean vocals. The release of the band’s second album demonstrated his progression towards melodic vocal melodies but still retained a strong screaming influence. With the release of City of Evil the band’s first major label release in 2005 featured minimal background screaming, stronger vocal melodies and increased attention on harmonies and melodic hooks. This change resulted in vocal contributions from each band member during live performances and remained prevalent on every album the band has released since 2005 with two exceptions being God Hates Us and Not Ready To DIe which returns to the band’s style of their earlier releases between 1999 – 2003.
One of M.Shadows biggest influences is Guns ‘n Roses, he cites them as the reason for him being in a band and writing music in the first place. He was also influenced by bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne and Pantera. M.Shadows says that Megadeth are the reason they incorporated a classic metal sound into their music, because that type of sound crosses over and extreme metal doesn’t.
Some might say that these influences was what lead to Machine Head frontman Rob Flynn calling “Hail To The King” a covers album. Rob went as far as to list 10 jokes about the album and the similarities the album/songs have with other classic rock bands. After Chris Jericho (Fozzy singer/WWE Wrestler) made M.Shadows aware of the comment he responded to the claim by shrugging it off and taking it as a joke. He has met Rob on many occasions and he says that Rob has always been friendly to him. As a joke M.Shadows thinks Rob might have gone a little overboard, but he realizes that everyone has their own opinion.
I decided to feature M.Shadows on the blog when I saw a screenshot of their “Hail To The King” music video on Loudwire.com. I was very impressed with the video’s style and the execution. I will admit that I was pretty intrigued by M.Shadow’s long hair, although the overall verdict on YouTube didn’t sound as positive. I’ a sucker for a guy with long hair!
The following quote was taken from an interview M.Shadows had with Metal Injection: http://www.metalinjection.net/latest-news/drama/avenged-sevenfolds-m-shadows-declares-metal-dropped-off-after-the-90s
“We feel that metal dropped off after the ’90s in terms of production and songwriting,” Shadows said after naming the likes of Pantera, Metallica and Megadeth as the new record’s main influences. “Metal music isn’t at the forefront as much as it used to be.”
The vocalist elaborated further, “We wanted to write a record that was highly influenced by the early ’90s records and mid-’80s records we grew up on. Then we went back even further and were influenced by [Black] Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. We studied those records, looked at what they were doing and how they were doing it. A lot of them came out of the blues, so we studied the blues and classical music. We just wanted to write a record that was different.”
View the latest video from Avenged Sevenfold here:
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