Barbs bounce off rock band

Nothing slows down Avenged Sevenfold. Critical barbs tossed toward the band have no impact, insists vocalist M. Shadows.

"I could care less about that stuff," he said in a recent interview. "We've been criticized since day one. That doesn't bother us at all. A lot of great bands have been criticized. The more people talk, the more people hear about the band. No big deal."

It was a big deal, however, when Avenged Sevenfold drummer James "The Reverend" Sullivan died in 2009. Sullivan co-founded the group in 1999 and often acted as the voice of the band. His death took a toll on the band, but didn't stop it.

Revered percussionist Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater stepped in and played with the band on its fifth album, "Nightmare," released in 2010. The group continues to hit hard with visceral tunes influenced by such Avenged Sevenfold heroes as Metallica, Judas Priest and Queensryche.

Avenged Sevenfold, which will perform Saturday at Intrust Bank Arena, is known for its breakneck speed playing and Shadows' vocal acrobatics.

"I just do what comes natural," Shadows said. "I'm fortunate to have some incredible players with me. We have a great chemistry that's been there since day one. This is our life."

Shadows says his life changed in 1988 when he first heard Guns N' Roses high-water mark "Appetite for Destruction."

"That did it for me," he said. "My dad gave me 'Appetite for Destruction' and I was just off from that point. I fell completely for rock music. It was the most amazing thing. I started taking piano and I taught myself how to play guitar. I worshipped bands like Metallica and Pantera."

And now Metallica is among Avenged Sevenfold's peers. "That's kind of hard to believe," Shadows said. "When we met Metallica, that was the highlight of our career. Forget about all that we accomplished in terms of albums sold and all of that."

Avenged Sevenfold has a rabid fan base, which propelled its 2006 album "City of Evil" to platinum.

"It's not a bad thing at all to do well and sell (albums)," Shadows said. "It's great that we make the kind of music that we love to make and it sells. We're very fortunate. We would be out here doing what we're doing if nobody was showing up at our shows. This is our passion and we happen to do this for a living, which is the greatest thing."

If you go

Avenged Sevenfold

What: Concert by the heavy metal rock band with opening acts Three Days Grace and Bullet For My Valentine

Where: Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

How much: Tickets are $29, $39.75 and $44.75. Tickets at the arena box office or Select-A-Seat outlets. Charge at 316-755-SEAT or www.selectaseat.com.