When I was a lad I was devastated when the news came through of the death of Keith Moon. And who did the Who get in to take his place? Kenney Jones that's who. A no more than competent replacement.So after the tragic death of the drummer in this band, who do they get in? Only Mike Portnoy. And I don't know if this colours my view of this album or not, but on the first couple of listens I couldn't help concentrating on the drums - they are quite prominent in the mix - and wallowing in the tub thumping heaven that they transport you to. And that's not to say they overshadoe the rest of the band. On the contrary, I think that having Portnoy on board has caused the band to raise their game both instrumentally, lyrically and vocally. This is a serious rock record and I would think destined for many a "Best album of the year" nomination. I wouldn't call myself a fan of the band, I can't tell you the name of the singer without looking it up, but please take this as a compliment that as one who considers himself to have a large and eclectic record collection this is the best hard rock record I have heard for years, and you will see if you care to read some of my other reviews, that this is high praise indeed
on 17 September 2010
Before I rant on about how much I love this album, I just wanna say (from a longterm fan kinda thing)... I just want to say this:
This culture surrounding dead artist is becoming a drag. Would you say the same thing when they walked the earth?
Ok so lets start from the top, Nightmare (the track) is a typical but awesome way to start an album off. Imagine 'Critical Acclaim' meets 'Second Heartbeat' and then gets cut up, something added...maybe 'Afterlife'. There is "You're ******* Nightmare."
This is the first Avenged album I personally can class as a Rollercoaster ride.
'Welcome To The Family' is very awkward (almost)...you don't expect it I guess. You get the typical emo slant on the chorus but then the man himself is doing his thing afterwards (Whispering). A great 'Pinkly Smooth' move perhaps.
Track 3 is weird as. 'Danger Line'. Hardcore but also maybe a tad of autotune. You can hear the progression in this band, they must have learnt from some awesome experiences...and some bad.
'Buried Alive' is very inspirational. Pantera meets Metallica. I can relate to this song. Musically - "Love or hate".
Track 5 ("Natural Born Killer")... starting to think this album is playing like a greatest hits. How Mr. S can sing some of these lines... you know, I think I would choke.
"So Far Away" is a real breakdown. If you can relate in a sense. For those who have lost the ones they love... Syn is not just a guitarist. A musician in his own right. This song is when I realised that.
"God Hates Us" - Heaviest thing A7X have ever wrote...I love it.
"Victim"... one of my least favourite songs on the album. A bit too 'U.Y.I' for me... fine if you like that album/band but I can't relate myself.
'Tonight The World Dies' carries on that theme. But kicks in like another song I like 'B.O.B****'.
'Fiction' is a masterpeice...can't explain why - just check it out.
'Save Me'; like other A7X (last tracks inparticular) they never shut up... and it's a marathon. Love it.
So there you go a quick A7X review, with love no doubt... quick note; Mike rocks.
on 27 July 2010
Before you actually listen to the song Nightmare...skip to track 10 and listen to 'Fiction'. The combination of the piano, the drums and Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan's voice in combination with M Shadows' smooth vocals is beautiful and haunting beyond belief, especially with the knowledge that this was the last song that The Rev wrote and recorded for before his death. For the fans, it's easy to picture him as they are listening, insuring that he won't be forgotten within the first seconds of hearing the vocals.
I listened to the album track by track, the first I heard of it being the titular song Nightmare. It's gripping certainly and it has a charm about it similar to Beast and the Harlot and Bat Country. It's definitely on my halloween tracklist. The video (not included) will have fans remembering The Rev with a final shot of his drum kit as a tribute to him, bringing about the reality that he's not there anymore.
Buried Alive begins an intro that wouldn't sound out of place in a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but then it quickly becomes full of what made Dear God and Seize the Day such good songs. It has quick, but smooth, changes from heavy to lighter and harmonious.
It sounds a little out of place, but it's still good: Danger Line. It has a similar intro to Blinded In Chains or even Burn It Down, but with a more hollow feel in the choruses where the guitar is less filling.
Save Me is the longest track at just over 10 minutes long, but it does anything but drag. Its feels like a medley of emotion and themes with rather melodic arcs cast in with heavy darker moments which have your ears on their metaphorical toes, not unlike Sidewinder on the City Of Evil album.
There are hints of the other albums in there, creating a familiar atmosphere for fans as well as bringing them new material, while new listeners just hearing them for the first time will find themselves with a veritable selection of different styles to hear, and have them developing a thirst to listen to the earlier albums. It is an ESSENTIAL purchase for the major fans, and I would say an essential purchase for the minor fans too, if only for a few select songs. It has a lot of elements that fans and non-fans alike will enjoy, but without losing the Avenged charm that everyone loves so much.
Wow. There have been very few albums of recent times that I can say that I have been truly engaged by. Personally, I am someone who has grown up listening to the various genres of metal and rock, and enjoy recreating a lot of my favourite tracks on guitar. I also have a quite vast, and varied collection of music, but generally, I need some form of guitar involved for it to catch my attention.
I knew a little of Avenged Sevenfold previously, having listened to City of Evil a fair amount, although would never have put them in my top bands from this record. But wow, what a mammoth jump this album is from that in comparison (I know there have been albums in between). A great opening track (although the most radio friendly perhaps), and an epic track to finish, with consistent high quality throughout without feeling samey.
There is a lot of variation here, and excellent musicianship from everyone in the band, as well as the more obviously superb guitar work and vocals. 'Buried Alive' is a great example of a tight, and well controlled song, essentially in two parts. A cleaner, thoughtful beginning, before unleashing a satisfying crunchy, heavy finish.
It's not all about speed and heaviness, but more meaningful, well written music. Yes it is often very riff driven music, but 'So Far Away' and 'Tonight the World Dies' are awesome examples how melodic the band is on this album, and truly showcases the singers vocal talent. Personally am not someone who is seduced by vocals, I prefer guitar driven most of the time, but was certainly compelled with the vocals on these songs in particular.
What better way to close out the album with 'Save Me' - an almost 11 min feast of intelligent, complex music that pulls the album together perfectly. I cannot speak more highly of this album, which makes a refreshing change to the majority of the music that is kicking around these days.
on 22 September 2010
I've been into 'heavy' music since the mid 80s thrash explosion and listen to a wide range of music... and this album is quite simply the best I've heard, I'd even go so far as to say it's better than Master of Puppets !!!!
Avenged Sevenfold have always been one of those bands that have passed me by, not for any particular reason it's just I've never seen them at a festival and never really taken time to listen to their music. BUT... I got this album, put it on my iPod, gave it a listen and am now hooked... I literally can't stop listening to it, at least 5 times a day!!
When I first listened to the album (on a coach to London for Ozzfest) it brought a smile to my face and a shiver down my spine. You know how sometimes you listen to a song and have your own thoughts about where it should go to make it better... well this went exactly where I thought and further, bringing a smile to my face each time it did... and there were lots of those!
I always thought Avenged Sevenfold were just another metalcore band (and to be honest there are quite a few of those around now), but how wrong was I. Ok, they started as 'just another' metalcore band, but this album is far from that... there are guitar and vocal melodies all over... and on the song 'Fiction' there aren't even any guitars, just Piano.
Now and then when listening to some songs you get hints of other bands, like Guns 'n' Roses, Metallica, Faith No More, Led Zeppelin, etc... but that just adds to the overall feel of the album. And the amount of emotion in this album (mostly around the death of the drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan only 9 months ago) is amazing... at times it almost brings a tear to your eye!
I can't sing this albums praises enough... DEFINITELY buy it, you won't be disappointed.
It's been a very good week for the dark side.
Following hard on the heels of Black Veil Brides
splendid debut 'We Stich These Wounds' comes
Avenged Sevenfold's fifth album 'Nightmare'.
It is a rock solid piece of work.
That they have picked themselves up and carried on
following the death of drummer James Sullivan in
December 2009 is to be admired. His work lives
on in the distinctive shape of the song 'Fiction'
(one of the finest compositions in the collection)
which the band have included by way of tribute.
It is a fine epitaph.
Drummer Mike Portnoy fills the gap and plays admirably
throughout. (A tough job in the circumstances).
'Nightmare' is an atmospheric tour de force. The lexicon
of hard rock is well-served by these eleven new tracks.
Mike Elizondo captures the band's tight, energetic performances
with vivid clarity and acute sympathy for their intentions.
Opening (and title) track 'Nightmare' is a corker!
The big, bad thundering riff which bursts out of the
spooky graveyard-at-midnight opening paves the way for
a fine vocal performance (one of many) by Mr Shadows.
He has a fine pair of lungs and uses them both to the
song's advantage with his no-holds-barred approach to
lyrical interpretation. (He has a great evil chuckle too!)
The martial percussive opening to 'Danger Line' heralds
a terric high-speed romp shot-through with some blistering
guitar work from Mr Gates (also on very fine form).
The almost funky chug-a-lug of the verses allows a little
space here and there in an otherwise full-on assault.
The plaintive whistling in the fade is a nice touch too.
'Natural Born Killer' in lesser hands may have sounded like
a bad parody of the worst excesses of the genre but is
delivered here with such wildly electric sincerity that it
is impossible not to be dragged along by the hair in its wake!
(The studio floor must have been in danger of collapse!)
'Victim' is a bit of a curiosity. Starting with a 'High Noon'
bell and a somewhat strained stratospherically high vocal wail,
the song never quite finds its feet. The melody is more than a
little bland truth-be-told and veers so close to the middle of
the road that even Mr Shadows' significant powers cannot save it
from a fate of benign but forgettable mediocrity. Shame really.
Final track 'Save Me', however, more than makes up for the
momentary lapse in quality. It's a real epic. Almost eleven
minutes in length, the opening section sounds like a forest
full of angry goblins tearing each other limb from limb!
The fine central vocal performance and accomplished harmonies
weave in and out of an entertainingly complex rhythmic arrangement.
(Messrs Gates and Portnoy once again deliver the goods!)
It brings the album to an impressively rousing conclusion.
Roll up the rug and play it LOUD!!
on 12 May 2011
This album is amazing!
This is my first purchase of material by Avenged Sevenfold, but it surely will not be my last. I listened to their early stuff, but I was put off by the more "screaming" aspects of it... and I thank the day that M. Shadows changed his style of singing as I think he has a truly beautiful voice.
I love the way that all the tracks on this album are so different from one another, and some of them are heartbreaking to listen to, given the sad passing of The Rev.
I haven't been able to stop listening to this album and have played it constantly for a week and it just gets better with each playing. The tracks are so packed with emotion and I seem to hear something new every time I listen.
If you like heavy drums and amazing guitar riffs mixed with some of the most beautiful lyrics you will ever hear, then this is the album for you. The mix of metal, heavy rock and melodious ballad is just right.
If anything, this album has raised my musical appreciation standards to a higher level and every time I listen to other artists I hear myself saying "it's not as good as Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare"... having been totally spoiled with this album no one else can compare lol! Pure perfection.
It definitely ranks in my top five favourite albums of all time, and at present it sits at No.1 :o)
on 22 December 2013
As I am going to Download 2014 I thought I had better get clued up on A7X and started here.
First thing I did was put the CD on my audiophile player. This was a terrible mistake, the sound is hopelessly over compressed and the disc totally unlistenable on that equipment. So plan B, rip to MP3 and listed on the train. This was a good idea, suddenly the songs came to life and I was able to enjoy.
Certainly this is a fine effort, there are a lot of influences on display, most strongly Metallica. Playing is very professional and polished. The songs are pretty good, but for me there is nothing here that can touch Shepherd of Fire on the next album (Hail To The King). And there is nothing here in the class of Master Of Puppets or Ride The Lightening (both Metallica). Also the commercial proposition is transparently to attract an audience created by others rather than break new ground. But you know for all that it is quite a good record that rewards successive plays. "Nightmare" is a gripping opener and "Buried Alive" hits the spot. "So Far Away" is a great ballad.
Other reviewers rate this album much higher. My guess is that have not heard enough to compare it with. And there is something in that, suppose you like this just imagine how will enjoy Megadeth's System Has Failed or Rust In Peace, (or the above mentioned Metallica, I wont give you a shopping list) when you discover it. Definitely the better way to do it!
on 5 October 2010
This is not a bad album. the first 5 songs are of high standards, very powerful and inspired. the problem with this album is that there are too many ballads. Otherwise, Portnoy plays like there's no tomorrow and there are fewer 'pop-emo' refrains than the last album. I like what i hear but one would expect more from this band as from song number 6 and on, i find myself yawning...
on 1 August 2010
It is said that this is Avenged Sevenfold's heaviest album to date, what with the tragic loss of The Rev it is definately their deepest, not heaviest though.
The opening track 'Nightmare' enters with a creepy almost fairytale chiming which smashes into the avalanche drums of Mike Portnoy (although The Rev actually wrote all the drum parts before he died). It is a typical Avenged song with dueling guitars, sweeping solo and angry riffs, the main difference though and this is true with the whole album is that is is so well produced, which is more than can be said for their last album. Everything is cleaner, crisper with the final mix perfect. Showing that they have really refined their sound.
When 'Welcome To The Family' crashed in after the title track I knew the quality from the title track was going to be continued; good riff and verse with a typical melodic chorus it has to be said.
'Buried Alive' is a good track, with a bluesy clean guitar intro then a soft, melodic dual harmony, this is followed by good simple riffage in the chorus, it features one of the best solos Synyster Gates has ever done I think. They rest of the solos just seem a bit forgettable to me.
'Natural Born Killer' has an intro you find reminiscent of 'Waking the Fallen', backed up by a heavy verse which is pure groove, with a very cool solo by Gates again. Shadow's vocals are very impressive on this too.
'God Hates Us' is the heaviest song by far, it is like a window on what direction the band could've taken after 'Waking the Fallen', with relentless double-bass pedaling with very early Avenged style riffs, and of course the re-appearance of Shadow's screaming which hold up well. Again its a very groove driven track which I think they are very good at doing.
Now to 'Fiction', written totally by The Rev on piano, this is the track I think that would've been completely different had he still been alive. It was originally titled 'Death' about someone moving on, The Rev was meant to be narrating this, the lyrics seem even more emotional considering the circumstances, they are now seen as his last message to his friends. They left his vocals on the track which I think shows how much he meant to them including a part near then end which was his singing on the demo where he he hadn't got the lyrics sorted fully, Shadows singing with him, I have to admit when the vocals came in I was reminded of Barney the dinosaur when I was a kid singing "You love me, I love you...", but oddly I love it; very powerful. The Rev shows how good a singer he was though in between the verses, it it is one of my favourite tracks for sure just for the sheer emotion of it, and the excellent piano. It shows just how good a musician he was.
'Save Me' is a perfect end, drawing in at 11 minutes, it is like a more evolved version of 'A Little Piece of Heaven' with intricate guitar, minor to major key changes and powerful drumming and vocals to match this, ending with the very apt line "Tonight we all die young".
So I think they have got it right this time. It has echoes of both 'City of Evil' and 'Waking' but showing continued evolution. I'm still trying to warm to tracks like 'Tonight the World Dies' and 'So Far Away' without much luck though, I feel that they are there for The Rev and would've been different/not there at all if her were still alive.
They've difinately evolved thats for sure, Its up to you if you think this is a good move though. I think it is and I hope they continue to make music.
Songs to listen to: 'Natural Born Killer' 'God Hates Us' 'Fiction' 'Welcome To The Family'