James "The Rev" Sullivan, 28, drummer for the California heavy-metal band Avenged Sevenfold, whose apocalyptic songs full of biblical imagery resurrected for a new generation the sonic template of '80s hard rock laid down by acts such as Guns N' Roses and Metallica, died Monday at his home in Huntington Beach.
A statement released by the Orange County Coroner's Office said that Mr. Sullivan was found unresponsive inside his home. A spokesman for the Huntington Beach Police Department said there were no signs of foul play.
Mr. Sullivan befriended the future members of the group, whose name often is shorthanded as A7X, while they were in high school.
Early this decade, the quintet built a strong local following playing in clubs and releasing recordings on small, independent record labels.
Expanding on that initial popularity, A7X established a national audience with the 2005 release of its major-label debut for Warner Bros. Records, City of Evil, which has sold just shy of one million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.