on 7 April 2006
...quite like A7X. Some consider them geniuses, others sellouts, and its mainly down to this LP (I've never really understood the concept of "selling out" - the bands we love do their thing, and we vote with our feet. Simple, no?).
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.
on 23 April 2006
City of Evil rocketed A7X into mainstream success and so, as is always the case, the fans are very split on this album. Accused by many of 'selling out' because of cutting out the screaming & also probably for atracting little emo girls as their fans (something vocalist M.Shadows said they were trying to avoid). However, that's rubbish. City of Evil's success is based purely on the fact its a GREAT album.
The fact is A7X still sound like they always did, still influenced by the greats (ie Maiden & other classic metal bands)but have got a more clean cut direction and some really great songs. Opener 'The Beast & the Harlot' gives a pretty good idea about what this albums about - completely over the top music in every way - speedy drumming, countless solos all over the place & those instantly recognisable high-pitched vocals... brilliant!
The next few songs follow the same trend and are really addictive, especially the live favourite, 'Bat Country' (it will get stuck in your head for days).
BUT, towards the end of the album something goes a little wrong. 'Seize the Day' strays into annoying ballad territory (unlike the brilliant, 'I Won't See You Tonight' from Waking The Fallen), and the others are just simply TOO long. 'The Wicked End' & 'Betrayed' don't need to be half the length they are and 'Sidewinder' only redeems itself with a... erm, 'quirky'/ weird latino guitar thing at the end which is surprisingly cool! The closer 'MIA' isn't bad, but its a bit of a struggle getting there through the overly-long songs beforehand.
But don't listen to my niggly little criticisms, City of Evil is a really great listen & is a bit different to alot of things around at the moment. There's bound to be a bunch of songs you'll fall in love with here & you won't stop listening to this album for ages.
on 7 January 2006
Orange Country five piece metal outfit Avenged Sevenfold really do deliver with this; their third and best album yet. "City Of Evil" is every bit as ambitious as the band's mission to take over the world of music, and they seem to be doing a good job. With an impressive new image and an already large yet still growing fanbase, A7X have come into their own with this album.
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".
on 3 October 2005
I have to admit, ive been an avenged sevenfold fan since i heard the fantastic Waking the Fallen. The band sure do know how to write a fantastic rock song on that album, it had epic guitar riffs, crazy drumming and perfect harmonic singing.
I approached City of Evil with a sense of dread, how could A7X improve on such an awesome album, well i still havent decided whether its a better album than Waking the Fallen but im sure as hell sure that its one of the best albums on my shelf at home.
Heres a track by track review.
Beast and the Harlot - This song sets the tone for the album, insane pace, harmonic vocals and a fantastic riff. This song is a great opener.
Burn it Down
More ridiculous pace and addictive riffs. Not my favourite song but a great one nonetheless.
Blinded in the Chains
Probably my least favourite song on the album, tries too hard to sound like iron maiden, doesnt really succeed.
The standout song of the album, amazing guitar work, incredible vocals and a chorus so catchy you'll be humming it for days, this song deserves more attention than its getting cos its so much better than all this bullet for my valentine crap.
Trashed and Scattered
Another awesome metal song with an awesome chorus, this song needs to play the chorus more because thats what makes a great song. But it truly is an awesome song nonetheless.
Seize the Day
A great rock ballad but it could be better, a great guitar solo though. Sounds like guns and roses.
It took me a few listens to get used to this one, but its now firmly one of the best songs on the album. The spanish guitar bit at the end is truly inspired. Love it!
The Wicked End
Another Maiden wannabe, does a better job than blinded in chains though. a good song overall
Strength of the World
Another ballad, drags on a bit too long but catchy vocals and a great guitar solo make this stand out.
The nearest thing on the album to Remenissions, my favourite Avenged song, an absolutely fantastc opening make the rest of this song seem a bit crap but still great
A great ballad that makes me think of medievel battles etc (although he may sing about gunshots at one point) A good anti-war song that makes for a good closing song for the album
If you like screamo/hardcore metal buy this, i guarantee you will like it, theres something for everyone.
on 27 May 2006
What we have here is a band that is growing and carving out their own sound. Ok you can hear the influences G+R etc. but it doesn't detract from what is a solid album.
Too many of todays metal bands follow the same weary path and just rip-off older acts or follow the same formula without offering anything new.
Thankfully AX7 are different!
Give 'em a try!
on 21 April 2006
Yes! City of Evil is different from their first 2 albums, but by God I absolutely love it. All those who complain about it not being as good as Waking the Fallen, must be out of their minds for the most part (though everyone has their own opinion). If you put it in for the first listen and then come to your judgement, then more fool you. If you're looking for something that is exactly the same as Waking the Fallen, then more fool you, with raised eyebrows. If your looking for a great album, that is brilliant from beginning to end, and shows the progression and musical skill of a great band, then buy this album! Nuff Said
on 24 December 2006
This is a modern classic! Synester Gates will be remembered among great guitarists such as Slash, Jimmy Page, Angus Young, James Hetfield and so on. From beginning to end this album has a totally new style, a bag load of riffs and tons of metal attittude! M Shadows voice is what makes it outstanding as well. He just puts his heart and soul into the album and you can clearly see it. You can tell I totally adore this album. So for the love of God buy it and see what i see in this album.
on 21 September 2005
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.
on 28 February 2006
Avenged Sevenfold's current album, not as good as their previous album Waking The Fallen in my opinion, but still excellent.
The screaming from the previous albums has been dropped here leaving a more mellow sound, that i feel appeals more to the mainstream audience without losing its heavy appeal. I am not to sure whether or not this is a good thing, but the album certainly sounds very different to the previous two.
However i am not here to review the other albums, and this album itself is excellent. As always with avenged sevenfold, there is a lot of variation within the album, but still managing to keep the unique sound of the band. Tracks rage from, the ridiculusly fast paced trashed and scattered and beast and the harlot to the melodic, epic conclusion of M.I.A. The most famous track from the album is the recently released bat country which i must admit is a really catchy song, but i do not feel that it is their best as many people do.
Overall i feel this is a superb album with some great drumming and guitar work, along with some more melodic but still impressive vocals. It is by no means perfect but certainly deserves more than 4 stars! so i would highly recomend it
on 15 April 2013
Retraced the bands previous albums after listening to the “Nightmare” album. I find both the “Nightmare album” and “City of Evil” albums both complement each other so well, it’s easy to have all 22 songs on shuffle. Brilliant album.