Gates was voted Sexiest Male in the 2008 Kerrang Readers Poll. In 2010, Guitar World listed him as one of the 30 greatest shredders of all time. They described him as being able to perform finger-twisting licks, acrobatic sweeps, devilish chromatics and towering dual-harmonies. Gates was chosen as one of Guitar Hero's 50 fastest guitarists. On Guitar World's 2010 Readers Poll, Gates was chosen Snappiest Dresser and the Best Metal Guitarist. Rock One Magazine's 2010 Readers Poll voted Gates the No. 3 best musician in the industry. On April 20, 2011, Gates won the Revolver Golden God award for Best Guitarist along with bandmate, Zacky Vengeance. Avenged Sevenfold picked up numerous other awards and delivered the headlining performance of the night. In the Special Edition of Revolver magazine that was released the same day as the Nightmare album, Gates stated that he originally started out writing the song "So Far Away" in honor of his grandfather. However, the song is now primarily about his former bandmate, best friend and previous drummer of A7X, the Rev, who died on December 28, 2009.