Rock band Avenged Sevenfold snares its first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as "Nightmare" bows atop the list with 163,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan . . . The set's arrival ends (at least temporarily) Eminem's reign at No. 1 with "Recovery," which spent five straight weeks in the penthouse . . . "Nightmare" is the only debut in the top 10 this week, the first time we've had such a dry spell since early March . . . On the Digital Songs chart, Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie" continues to lead with 300,000, while Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" make big moves into the top 10 and Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue" bows at No. 12.

FLASH POINTS

• Avenged Sevenfold garners its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 as "Nightmare" arrives atop the list, bumping Eminem's "Recovery" to No. 2 after a five-week reign at No. 1. Avenged begins with 163,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, trumping "Recovery" (159,000; down 15%) by less than 4,000 units.

• "Nightmare" is the rock band's highest-charting set, surpassing the No. 4 debut and peak of its 2007 self-titled effort. That album also earned the group's previous best sales week of 94,000 when it arrived.

• The new album easily beat initial sales projections, as some industry prognosticators thought it would move within the range of 120,000 to 130,000 copies. But those early forecasts were tossed aside by early Thursday morning, when it seemed like the "Nightmare" album had a solid shot at No. 1 with a much larger sales number.

• The set's first week surprised industry sources, too. Those contacted don't cite one particular driver for the bigger-than-expected number. SoundScan's data indicates that the album did well across the board -- at digital retailers, mass merchants and traditional physical retailers.

• With only "Nightmare" arriving in the top 10, it's the first time we've had this few debuts in the top 10 since the March 13 chart (reflecting the sales week ending Feb. 28), when Johnny Cash's "American VI: Ain't No Grave" was the lone top 10 debut at No. 3.

• As for the rest of the top 10 this week, Rick Ross' "Teflon Don" drops one rung to No. 3 in its second week (63,000; down 64%), Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" climbs two spots to No. 4 (38,000; down 3%), and Drake's "Thank Me Later" falls one spot to No. 5 (34,000; down 28%). The "Kidz Bop 18" collection falls just one notch to No. 6 in its sophomore frame (29,000; down 32%), Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" rises two to No. 7 (27,000; up 11%), and Sheryl Crow's "100 Miles From Memphis" slips five positions to No. 8 (24,000; down 57%). Rounding out the top 10 are Lady Gaga's "The Fame," up one to No. 9 (nearly 24,000; down 3%) and the "Now 34" collection, falling two to No. 10 (22,000; down 18%).

• Though Eminem is sidelined from No. 1 on the Billboard 200, perhaps he can take solace in the knowledge that he still owns the No. 1 slot on the Digital Songs chart as "Love the Way You Lie" sells another 300,000 downloads (down 10%). The biggest movers into the Digital Songs' top 10 are Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" (11-4 with 183,000; up 119%) and Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" (12-7 with 135,000; up 68%). The tally's highest debut is Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue" at No. 12 with 93,000.

• Next week on the Billboard 200, we expect the highest debut will be Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs," which could open at No. 2. Industry sources suggest the set could sell around 100,000 by week's end on Sunday, Aug. 8. Eminem's "Recovery" may possibly retake the No. 1 slot, as it's likely Avenged Sevenfold's "Nightmare" will probably see a significant second-week sales decline from its current No. 1 perch.

• Arcade Fire's last release, 2007's "Neon Bible," started at No. 2 with 92,000. It was blocked from the top spot by the No. 1-debuting "Greatest Hits" from the Notorious B.I.G. (99,000).

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Aug. 1) totaled 5.2 million units, down 1% compared with the sum last week (5.3 million) and down 13% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (6 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 174.9 million, down 12% compared with the same total at this point last year (199.2 million).

• Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.7 million downloads, down 2% compared with last week (21 million) and down 2% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (21.2 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 681.3 million, down 1% compared with the same total at this point last year (685.1 million).




MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 5.2 million units
• Down 1% from last week's charts: 5.3 million units
• Down 13% from the comparable week in 2009: 6 million units
• This week: The top two albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the albums charts: Michael Jackson's "Number Ones" was still the country's best-selling album with 114,000 sold (down 26%). Fabolous' "Loso's Way" was the second-biggest album in the land, with a debut frame of 99,000 at No. 2.



A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs," Bun B's "Trill O.G.," Lady Gaga's "The Remix," Los Lobos' "Tin Can Trust," the Black Crowes' "Croweology," Gaelic Storm's "Cabbage," Secondhand Serenade's "Hear Me Now" and Buckcherry's "All Night Long."

• Next week's album charts competes with the same week in 2009 when: Michael Jackson's "Number Ones" (98,000; down 14%) retained the title of the top-selling set in the United States as it held off a debut from Sugarland with "LIVE on the Inside" (76,000).