September 27, 2012 - April 12, 2018
Matt Shadows

Matthew Charles Sanders, (born July 31, 1981) better known by his stage name M. Shadows, is currently the vocalist for the American hard rock/heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold.


In his youth, Shadows was notorious for his disorderly conduct and misbehavior. He was quoted as saying "I was in between a good kid and a terrible kid - I had a good heart, but a terrible attitude." He attended Huntington Beach High School after being expelled from his middle school in the eighth grade. As the band was just starting out, he was the darker character of the group (hence the name "Shadows") but he also wanted to incorporate his name, Matt, into his stage name. Matt was reduced to "M" because it had a better ring when combined with his stage name and ever since he has been known as M. Shadows.

Early LifeEdit

Matt used to play the piano before he began to sing in his first band, "Successful Failure". When he was growing up, he listened to a lot of punk rock such as H2O and The Misfits and got into the metal scene when his father bought him Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses after he had seen them on MTV's Headbanger's Ball. In following years, Shadows formed a number of bands with Avenged Sevenfold's rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance. Zacky was previously a member of a punk group called 'MPA. While Shadows was in the previously mentioned "Successful Failure", The Rev was slotted to play drums (but was admittedly too good). While in this band he penned the song "Streets," which would later be recorded after Avenged Sevenfold (band) was formed, and released on the first album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet. The album was a mix of metalcore and punk rock but also includes a softer, more ballad-like song (Warmness On The Soul). Sounding the Seventh Trumpet was first recorded and produced while Shadows and the rest of Avenged Sevenfold were still in high school.

Avenged SevenfoldEdit

Shadows has stated that he feels a strong support for the troops serving the United States, having very close friends who are currently in service in Iraq. The song "M.I.A." ("Missing In Action") was reportedly written in tribute to these friends. The song "Gunslinger" from Avenged Sevenfold's self-titled album further expresses these feelings (though it was stated in the album's extra MVI that it's not just about troops - "It can be about anyone away from home, missing their families.") The song "Critical Acclaim" can be interpreted as an attack against those who criticize America. Shadows has made guest appearances on numerous albums by numerous different artists. He also produced The Confession's 2007 album, Requiem, which, according to an interview, was one of the first steps which led to Avenged Sevenfold self-producing their 2007 self-titled album.

Vocal StyleEdit

In the band's debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, M. Shadows' vocals had a heavy metalcore influence and consisted mostly of screaming vocals. This style gradually decreased in later albums into more conventional clean singing and had been almost completely jettisoned (with the exception of backing introduction screams) by the release of City of Evil, the band's major label debut. After the release of City of Evil a rumor had developed stating that the reason why M. Shadows dropped the screaming was either due to blowing a blood vessel or ripping a vocal cord in the back of his throat. However, this is not true. Despite having admitted minor throat surgery this was not a cause for the change and in an interview on All Excess, manager Larry Jacobson states that Shadows had decided two years before the making of City of Evil that it would be an all singing album. He had made it clear to their producer, Andrew Murdock, that the album they were working on at the time Waking the Fallen (album) would be half singing and half screaming, and that the next would be all singing. In the past Shadows would sing on all parts of the songs during live performances, supporting the theory that he was no longer able to scream or growl. Perhaps becoming fed up with those claims, Shadows has resumed screaming again during live shows, this can be seen in the band's new live DVD "Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough" In almost all of the songs in the DVD, he does a 5 to 7 second long scream, and does some screaming vocals for Second Heartbeat and Unholy Confessions. In 2009, Shadows continued screaming when Avenged Sevenfold had performed songs from Waking the Fallen (album), such as Eternal Rest and Chapter Four, at the "Rock on the Range" and "Sonisphere" live shows. Some of Shadows' biggest musical influences are The Misfits, Queen, Pantera and Guns N' Roses.

Featured guest appearancesEdit

Year Song Artist(s) Album
2010 "Nothing to Say" Slash Slash & Friends
2009 "Turn Out the Lights" Steel Panther Feel the Steel
2007 "Buffalo Stampede" Cowboy Troy Black in the Saddle
2007 The River" (with Synyster Gates) Good Charlotte Good Morning Revival
2007 "Like Always" Kisses For Kings Demo
2006 "Falling Away from Me" (Live) (temporarily replaced Jonathan Davis (due to medical attention)) Korn Download Festival 2006
2005 "Entombed We Collide" and "This is Not the End" (additional vocals) Death by Stereo Death for Life
2002 "Savior, Saint, Salvation" Bleeding Through Portrait of the Goddess