Born Matthew Charles Sanders on July 31, 1981, M. Shadows' love for rock music started when his father gave him cassette tapes at a young age. As he grew older, he expanded his tastes and found he was a fan of heavy metal, and so he learned guitar, which he told us during an interview of "Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?"

After a short period in a band called Successful Failure while he was in high school, Shadows went on to form Avenged Sevenfold with some of his classmates. "I didn't want to be a singer, man. I got forced into it," he laughed.

The newly-appointed vocalist adopted the alias "M. Shadows" because he felt he was "the darker character in the group" amongst the rest of his bandmates. Inspired by Slash, the rest of them decided to pick stage names as well.

Shadows has been the distinctive, powerful voice behind the band since its formation in 1999, and they've released seven albums together so far. It's been quite the journey so far, between overcoming the death of their drummer the Rev and Shadows' several throat surgeries, but they've still got a long way to go. Check out the gallery below to see photos of Shadows through the years.

Watch M. Shadows Play "Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?"

Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows Through the Years

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