Synster Gates is the lead guitarist of hardcore metal band Avenged Sevenfold.
Real name Brian Elwin Haner Jr., he was born in July 1981 in Huntington Beach California. He taught himself to play the guitar and his father, Brian Elwin Haner a songwriter and guitarist himself, probably had some input in Synster Gate’s early musical education.
Synster Gates studied at the musicians institute in Hollywood and studied jazz guitar for six months on the Guitar Institute of Technology program – an apprenticeship scheme that was set up to train musicians to a professional level. He was planning to go into session work.
However, he left the course when he was asked to join old Huntington Beach schoolmates as lead guitarist in their band Avenged Sevenfold. Synster Gates joined the band at the end of 1999 aged 18 years old, playing on the first album “Sounding the Seventh Trumpet”.
All band members created stage names and the name Synster Gates came apparently from a drunken drive round a park in the company of “the Rev”, drummer James Sullivan a founder member of the band who died in 2009.
Avenged Sevenfold have released five albums in total, the most recent “Nightmare” released in 2010. They tour extensively throughout the USA , Europe and the UK and have a wide following throughout the world.
As well as his work with Avenged Sevenfold, Synster Gates was also involved in a side project Pinkly Smooth, an avant-garde metal band formed in 2001 also based in Huntington Beach. The band released one album “Unfortunate Snort” in 2002 and although there was talk of another album for a few years, the death of the Rev now makes this now even more unlikely.
Synster Gates has been awarded 2006 Total Guitar “Guitarist of the Year” and the Metal Hammer “Young Shredder “award in the same year. This followed the album “City of Evil” released in 2005 on major label Warner Brothers. This has been their most successful record to date and was awarded platinum status.