This Huntington Beach band survived a tragedy and documented it in full on record. Avenged Sevenfold confronted the unexpected death last year of drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan on its recently released "Nightmare." The darkly personal hard-rock song cycle was instantly embraced by fans and gave the locals its best-ever sales week on the U.S. pop charts. "Nightmare" landed at No. 1
in early August, topping the chart with 162,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. After three weeks, the album was still in the top 20.
-- Todd Martens