Avenged Sevenfold 'Nightmare' (partially found demo version of album; 2009)

Nightmare (demo version)
Cover artwork of Nightmare.
Cover artwork of Nightmare.
Status Partially found

Nightmare is the fifth studio album by American hard rock act Avenged Sevenfold, released on July 27th, 2010. It is often considered by fans as the band's darkest release, especially due to the fact that it was recorded only months after the passing of drummer and founding member James "The Reverend" Sullivan on December 28th, 2009.

What most casual listeners don't know, however, is that between the band's touring cycle for promotion of their 2007 album Avenged Sevenfold and James' death, the band had already finished the musical songwriting for Nightmare[1] and recorded several demos of the album's songs, with some of them including singing by "The Rev" himself. The fact that these demos are James' final recordings (especially the song "Death", presented by him only three days before his death[2][3]) makes them heavily sought after by the most dedicated Avenged Sevenfold fans.


The demo version of "Nightmare", synchronised with the song's music video.

The various "finished demos" were recorded by the band at M. Shadows' home studio. The equipment used was quite simple, with James playing his parts using an electronic drum kit. However, the more unusual instruments featured on the album (such as the xylophone/glockenspiel on "Nightmare") were apparently recorded in advance and are present on the demos.

It's unknown how much of the original lyrics – extensively modified after James' passing[1] – was finished at this point. The demo of "Nightmare" features almost all lyrics present on the studio version, while "One" (and presumably other demos) features placeholder "lyrics" filling the unfinished parts of the lyrical composition. Parts of Rev's vocal take from "Death" – including a brief segment of placeholder mumbling – are used on the studio version (renamed "Fiction") as well as live performances as a tribute to the drummer's legacy.


"One", the only unreleased Nightmare demo leaked so far.

"Nightmare" was the only Nightmare demo to be officially released by Avenged Sevenfold, being offered as a pre-order bonus track on the limited edition deluxe set Book of Nightmares.[4]

During a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session in November 2012, M. Shadows was questioned about a possible release of the entire set of Nightmare demos. “Possibly one day... I don't want to sell anything of The Rev's... so if we release it it should be free”, Sanders responded.[5] Also during the session, a fan asked about the possibility of a release of "Death", a question the Avenged Sevenfold frontman responded with “Maybe. It's kinda personal though”,[6] possibly referring to the impact of James' death on the band members' lives at the time and the fact that "Death" was his final composition for Nightmare.[1][3]

In April 2014, "One" – the demo version of "Buried Alive" – was leaked online. Some fans point former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy – who played the drums on Nightmare and had access to the demos – as the source of the leak, as he made a post on his Facebook account commenting about the track in September 2013,[7] but no sources have confirmed nor denied this.


  1. "Nightmare" – Released on Book of Nightmares
  2. "Welcome to the Family"
  3. "One" ("Buried Alive") – Leaked
  4. "Victim"
  5. "Total Nightmare" ("God Hates Us")
  6. "So Far Away"
  7. "Military Death" ("Danger Line")
  8. "Bad Men" ("Save Me")
  9. "Avenged in Chains" ("Tonight the World Dies")
  10. "Dirty Pop" ("4:00 AM")
  11. "Harvester" ("Lost It All")
  12. "Reagan Blast" ("Natural Born Killer")
  13. "Death" ("Fiction") – Vocal excerpts used on studio version


  • Matthew "M. Shadows" Sanders – vocals on "Nightmare"
  • Brian "Synyster Gates" Haner Jr. – lead guitar
  • Zachary "Zacky Vengeance" Baker – rhythm guitar
  • Jonathan "Johnny Christ" Seward – bass guitar
  • James "The Reverend Tholomew Plague" Sullivan – drums, vocals on "One", "Reagan Blast"[8] and "Death", piano on "Death"


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Avenged Sevenfold: The Rev's Passing Steered Album's Lyrical Direction". Ultimate Guitar. July 13, 2010. Archived from the original on July 16, 2010.
  2. "Has The New Avenged Sevenfold Album Been Given A Title?". Metal Hammer. May 14, 2010. Archived from the original on May 18, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Avenged Sevenfold". Translated from the October 2010 issue of Close-Up Magazine. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  4. LETTER FROM ZACKY. July 1, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  5. darthsean19 comments on I am M. Shadows, Lead Singer of Avenged Sevenfold. November 14, 2012.
  6. RapersGonnaRape comments on I am M. Shadows, Lead Singer of Avenged Sevenfold. November 14, 2012.
  7. Mike Portnoy - My iPod is on shuffle and the A7X demo for... | Facebook. September 27, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  8. "MIKE PORTNOY - Channeling The Rev With Avenged Sevenfold". Reproduced from the November 1, 2010 issue of Modern Drummer: MD magazine. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012.


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