2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It nearly, nearly makes it.,
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This review is from: City Of Evil [Pa Version] (Audio CD)
I'd never heard of A7X until I listened to Zane Lowe on Radio 1 a couple of weeks back. Bat Country was his single of the week and I must admit it gave me goose bumps, so much so I went and got the album off Amazon. I've never given a review before so here goes ...
Let's start with naming a few influences I have found on this album. Everyone says Metallica (God know how many times they have been referred to in these reviews) and yeap they're there, but I don't find that element of their tone and structure as nearly as apparent as bands such as Helloween and Annihilator. The melodic leads, tight drumming and pace take me back to Keeper Part2 and Never,Neverland. I can see Maiden in there, but Shadows vocals somehow remind me of what the Galactic Cowboys tried to achieve in the early 90's, with melody on metal. The influences I found on this record are far and wide. Hell, I swear Rod Stewart sings the lead in Seize the Day, or is it the Stereophonics. Oh and I need to mention Pantera (because of the driving rhythm of some of the tracks), as well and Guns and Roses, mainly for some Slash like solo's.
There we go. I've pretty much named some of my favourite bands of all time. But does it work? Let's start with the positives. Fantastic technical capability, instrumentally very well produced. Some gripping riffs, storming solos, kick ass drumming. But for me the differentiator for this band is way the vocals/backing vocals overlay the main track. There's a lot of 'feel' there and some fantastic harmonies.
And few negatives ....... Most of the tracks lack an identity. That's because A7X chose to over complicate what should be simple arrangements. I've felt it before when I listened to Dream Theatre. Just when you thought they had something really good going they'd change the song. In fact the album could have been just one song for me. We have a saying in my job. KISS - keep it simple stupid. An A7X don't. Shame. Also, the vocals have, in my opinion, been lost to the music. It's clear Shadows has talent, but you cannot make one sentence out in many tracks, which is a great shame, as this also adds to the lack of identity mentioned earlier. It's not the way he signs it, just the production.
Summing up, this album should have been a five but got a four. It was going to be a three but Bat Country is such a storming track, it lifts the whole albums. Next time round - more songs, shorter songs, kept simple with clearer vocals and these guys will be mainstream. Big time.