Last week the dudes in Avenged Sevenfold did all of the following in a single afternoon: corrupted the fertile minds of impressionable teenagers; willed strippers into licentious girl-on-girl action; converted a wholesome, aspiring actress into a woman of ill repute; escorted a minor into an adult establishment for his first peep show; and rocked more than 500 of their fans' butts. Oh, and the band documented every single second of it for "Beast and the Harlot," the third video from the Huntington Beach, California, metalcore outfit's album City of Evil.
According to guitarist Zacky Vengeance, the 'Fold are perhaps most proud of this latest clip — shot on Wednesday in Los Angeles under the direction of Tony Petrossian (Slipknot, DMX) — out of all the videos they've shot, even the current MTV rotation-bin regular "Bat Country." That's because the concept behind the video's one the boys worked on together.
"We kind of wanted to tie it in with the song's lyrics and meaning, and then we wanted to give it a little bit of a twist," Vengeance said. " 'Beast and the Harlot' kind of refers to Biblical times — ancient Babylon, when there were prostitutes everywhere and sh-- was f---ing insane. To us, it's not like anything's really changed. It's just a different time period. So we modernized the setting."
In the video, Avenged Sevenfold collectively portray the Beast, or Satan, and, according to Vengeance, spend pretty much the entire video trying to convert the innocent citizens of Los Angeles into corrupted, soulless human beings who give in to life's little vices — and all with a little help from a tempting, scantily clad strumpet.
"We're trying to bring people to the dark side, our side," the guitarist explained. "You'll see us going around town, picking out kids and putting them in weird situations and witnessing them losing their wholesomeness and purity as they came to our side."
Throughout the video, all five members of the band serve as the centerpiece of a specific vignette. The first features drummer the Rev (formally the Reverend Tholomew Plage), who plays a bartender. According to Vengeance, in the video, the Rev's character pours glowing green shots to his patrons, which, after they've thrown 'em down the old gullet, turn them completely black. Likewise, Vengeance's character, in his own slimy way, turns his victim black.
"My character's sort of representing the evil Hollywood fat cat, and you'll see me auditioning starry-eyed starlets, and I get one to sign a contract in red ink but she doesn't realize quite what she's signing," he explained. "She wants to be an actress and I come in and screw up her dreams a little bit. I show her the way things really work."
Each of the band's charcoaled recruits — including guitarist Synyster Gates' strippers, who're tempted into "the sexiest girl-on-girl kiss[es] ever seen," and bassist Johnny Christ's young boy, whom he leads into an adult-video store, exposing him to the magic wonderment of the peep-show booths and transforming him into a deranged, sex-starved fiend — eventually finds their way to a long line of similarly blackened folks outside Los Angeles' Mayan Night Club. The venue served as the scene for the band's performance sequences; Avenged recruited more than 500 of their fans and then smeared them entirely in black paint for the shoot. Those fans, according to the video's treatment, embodied "citizens whose very soul has been sucked out of them by the greed, lust and corruption of the city, courtesy of the Beast."
"We're creating an awareness of the evils that are out there, but by the same token, we're saying that sometimes indulgence isn't such a bad thing," Vengeance said. "The video's still fun and it shows off the band really well. But it implies all the evils in the world, the way things really work. It doesn't sugarcoat anything. It's real."
And for added authenticity, the band cast a bevy of girls with a, um, love of dancing for the strip-club scenes. "There were a lot of beautiful girls, and there were some not-so-beautiful girls who auditioned," he said. The band didn't ask whether they had pole experience, "but judging by the way some of them moved, I'm sure they were real strippers."
Avenged Sevenfold, whose new album's sold close to 175,000 copies since its release in June, hope the "Beast and the Harlot" video will help draw big audiences to their in-progress 36-date U.S. tour, which launched Friday in San Diego with Saosin, Death by Stereo, Opiate for the Masses and Bullets and Octane in the support slots. The trek runs through December 2 in Las Vegas.