|1. Beast And The Harlot|
|2. Burn It Down|
|3. Blinded In Chains|
|4. Bat Country|
|5. Trashed And Scattered|
|6. Seize The Day|
|8. The Wicked End|
|9. Strength Of The World|
So then, City Of Evil. This was the first A7X record I heard, I must have listened to it 100 times in the last 10 months, and I consider it an all time classic - right up there with Rage Against The Machine, Master Of Puppets, Mellon Collie et al. It's incredibly well played, structured, written and paced, and is the sort of thing you can really get lost in. It's one of the few records I've heard recently where I really can't fathom *how* they're playing what they're playing, and I love it. Yes, it is different to Waking The Fallen, but they're both classic albums in my opinion; that they're the work of the same band improves them both.
Heavy as hell but with barely a scream throughout it's 70 odd minutes, this is a powerhouse of solos, leads, duels, incredibly tight rhythms and unbelievable, innovative melodies. I have no shame in admitting I am, right now, a total fanboy. Open your minds people - whether its Metal, Metalcore, Classic Rock or whatever is irrelevant to everyone but bricks and mortar retailers who own CD shelves - to us music fanatics, it is simply awe inspiring.
You need to buy this, right now. Album of 2005, hands down.
City Of Evil sees the band's biggest evolution yet, from 2003's "Waking The Fallen," which while more commercial than their debut album "Sounding The Seventh Trumpet," still included the screamy hardcore vocals which were very prominant in the band's first release. City Of Evil is the most accessible album yet, and although is the most commercial by far, the band has not dumbed down their music in any way. If anything, City Of Evil sees the band push their musicianship further than ever before. Guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance really can pull off impressive metal solos, whether it's classic metal doubled guitar leads, Slash-esque solos with feeling in "Seize the Day," or the very impressive flamenco acoustic guitar shredding in "Sidewinder," it's nice to see some talented guitarists playing accessible music for a change. The drumming as also outstanding; flashier and tighter than ever before.
The songwriting here is like classic metal meets Guns n' Roses meets American punk rock. It feels new, but it's the product of five talented guys growing up on a diet of a whole host of different bands and styles.
Vocalist M. Shadows is what makes the band that little bit extra special. For this album he recieved vocal tuition from the man that coached Axl Rose (incidentally, Guns N' Roses are Shadows' favourite band). If you've heard "You Won't See Me Tonight Part 1" from Waking The Fallen, this is how Shadows sings the majority of the time now. His vocal melodies are much more tuneful, and there vocal harmonies in absolute abundance. Harmonies seep around practically all of the vocal lines to emphasise and accentuate. There has clearly been a LOT of time and effort invested into constructing these complex vocal tracks.
Some A7X fans have been disappointed with the direction the band have taken with this album. It is simply evolution. There are only so many albums a band can release before moving onto different areas of a genre. Especially with musicians as talented as these.
While practically all the tracks on the album are excellent, the standout tracks are: "Bat Country," "Trashed And Scattered," "Sidewinder," "Seize The Day".
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