Top positive review
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An outstanding progression - Recommended Listening.
on 4 March 2008
I must admit, I really enjoyed City of Evil (the precursor to this newest A7X album) but at times it did sound a bit, well, stale. However, I'm sure glad that I kept the faith and (eventually) bought this album. For my money, it's a long way beyond City of Evil.
A7X have clearly had the freedom with is record to do exactly what the heck they liked, and this shows strongly in pretty much every song. The production is of a higher quality, Matt Shadows' vocal range has improved meteorically and the whole band sounds even tighter - quite some achievement when you take into account the very highly polished production on "City..."
Still, we are not here to review the old album! On with the new...
The opener, "Critical Acclaim" is OK, not the best, but is immediately followed by "Almost Easy", the first single from teh album, which is rife with top notch riffs and some fantastic drumming, coupled with a big anthemic chorus - what's not to like? Scream and Afterlife follow the trend and call to mind classic-era Metallica in some moments, then "Gunslinger" slows it all down with a kind of wild-west themed ballad showcasing the band's Country leanings but does it well. Next standout track is "Little Piece Of Heaven" which conveys an overwhelming sense of Danny Elfman - a very progressive track even so, with some really great flourishes and catchy choruses - could work very well live, or could die on it's butt. But I like it anyway. Album closer, "Dear God" is an unashamed country power ballad in the classic bay-area sleaze style but it works really well.
If anything, this record is slight more immediate than City Of Evil, but I can attest that it stands up very well to repeat listening. It's been on constant rotation on my iPod since I bought it and I'm still not getting bored with it.
Overall then, this is a great record from an increasingly great band. Sounds brilliant on first listen and then sounds amazing on repeat. Not so much recommended listening as Required then - but of course that's only my opinion. Buy the record, form your own. I don't expect you'll be disappointed.