Avenged Sevenfold's frontman M. Shadows beat Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson to claim Best Vocalist, while Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance were named joint winners for Best Guitarist.
Former bandmate Mike Portnoy, who was temporarily drafted in to replace tragic %Jimmy 'The Rev' also triumphed by taking the Best Drummer title. He did not attend the ceremony at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, but sent in a message of thanks, in which he paid tribute to the late Sullivan, who died from a drug overdose in December 2009.
The statement read: "It was an honour for me to play on the album and do the job the Rev wasn't able to complete. The thing that blew me away was the fans! Thank you all."
Avenged Sevenfold also claimed Album of the Year for "Nightmare", ahead of Ozzy Osbourne ("Scream"), Deftones ("Diamond Eyes"), Black Label Society ("Order of the Black"), Stone Sour ("Audio Secrecy") and Volbeat ("Beyond Hell/Above Heaven").
Meanwhile, Rammstein landed the accolade for Best Live Band, Murderdolls won Best Comeback, Alice Cooper was presented with the 2011 Golden God Award, and Motley Crue were honoured with the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award.
The night was a big occasion for Cooper - the original Alice Cooper Band line-up performed for the first time in 40 years at the event.