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.
on 20 October 2008
Having no prior experience of A7X, I bought this album on the strength of the single, "Almost Easy" and I wasn't disappointed. It is full of great tracks with strong, aggressive melodies, inventive guitar work and the production is crisp and clear. I think the crital comparisons with previous albums are very unfair. I subsequently bought Waking the Fallen on the strength of the A7X brand and I immediately saw the huge progression that the band has made. M. Shadows learned to sing somewhere between these records and all that silly screaming so beloved of 14 year old boys has stopped. Yes, the band has gone a lot more commercial and stadium orientated but if they hadn't, I would never have heard of them. This is one to play in the car, nice and loud. Enjoy it for what it is.
on 29 October 2007
I've been listening to this album for a while now, and I'll admit at first I didn't really like it and felt a little disappointed, after a few more listens I started to like it.. and now I love the thing!
Its very different to the previous albums, being self produced, I feel its the exact sound A7X are looking for in this point of time. Although I love the album, I feel that the rest of the world aren't going to be as accepting.. Each song offers something different and original, especially "A Little Peace of Heaven", which is my favourite track (Also my friends love it, and they hate Avenged Sevenfold!). It sounds very much like Pinkly Smooth, and is pretty epic and very catchy. It just feels A7X have said "**** the critics, we'll make OUR CD", which is brave move especially with the commercial success of City of Evil, it could have been easy to release an album full of radio rock.
The album opens with 'Critical Acclaim', a song which has been around on the internet for a while now, which is a great opener, which includes the drummer (The Rev) on the chorus vocals to great effect, then the album breaks into 'Almost Easy', a metallica-esque stomper and 1st single off the record, with its warped guitar and pounding drums. The next song is 'Scream' (Another personal favourite), with a great chorus and heavy feel. After that brings 'Afterlife', which sounds very much like A7X from City Of Evil, with a really damn fast solo! Next up is 'Gunslinger' - A ballad of sorts, starting out with an acoustic intro, and then bringing in the heavy guitars, another favourite, definitely gives "Seize The Day" from City of Evil a run for its money, complete with a pretty cheesey guitar solo! Following on is 'Unbound', Which is a very original song - and pretty long, doesn't seem to follow and pattern but has some great vocal work - includes what sounds like some monks, and ends with a child singing! (Told you it was pretty original!) Next up is 'Brompton Cocktail' (Another fav), featuring great orchestral movements under the verses and a memorable chorus. Then its 'Lost', OK, I don't know what they were thinking with the synth vocals here.. This is personally my least favourite song on the album.. which unfortunately got stuck in my head for days. Then its 'A Little Piece of Heaven', which I mentioned above. Closing the album is 'Dear God', a slow acoustic track and a nice closer.
I feel many fans will be disappointed with this album, which is their choice as music is based on personal opinion, all I ask of them is to give it a deeper listen, Avenged Sevenfold have tried to do something different to the music you get spoonfed everyday. If you enjoy listening to a band that release album after album of the same thing, thats fine, but the majority of us like change, and this is change my friends.
Let the moaning begin.
on 17 July 2008
I didn't think I liked metal, but I have been proven very wrong by this album. A7X have just the right balance of heavy guitars, awesome solos and epic choruses to merit this album being put on repeat for a week. M Shadows has a powerful voice that fits the music perfectly and the music itself is brilliant. It's nice to listen to something that doesn't just use a few power chords, but is actually impressive musically.
Afterlife has to be my favourite track with that melodic chorus, but none of the tracks on this album are weak. I notice that some people have pointed out A Little Piece of Heaven. It's the sort of song that you know you shouldn't like, sounding like a cross between gaming music, a power ballad and an orchestral piece, but there's no denying that it's as catchy as hell and that you love it really.
In short, whether you're a fan of metal or not, give this album a go because it's pretty damn amazing.
I am currently rediscovering bands that I once loved, and now, I care a lot more for Avenged Sevenfold's fourth album than I did at the time. This self-titled eponymous record contains a variety of styles, but whatever they do, they do well, not to mention know how to play the hell out of their instruments. Being a self produced album, these guys were allowed to be more experimental, and obviously sound different, but the solid guitar work and impressive vocals remain ever present.
The second single 'Scream' is heavy metal highlight (just listen to that opening!), but the biggest surprise comes at the end of the album with the final track, 'Dear God', which will possibly appeal to those who have never cared for Avenged Sevenfold's angry, 'in-your-face' music before. This country-flavoured song is beautiful, very different, and despite it being a far from obvious track for these men to sing, is actually my favourite of the lot.
For a more commercial sounding Avenged Sevenfold, this is the album you should buy. Turn up the volume, and enjoy it!
on 13 July 2011
Avenged's fourth album makes a refreshing change. With the travesty that was Sounding The Seventh Trumpet, and the contrasting excellence of Waking the Fallen, I found City of Evil a rather disappointing attempt at bridging the gap between Avenged's clear transition from metalcore to a more hard rock approach. This album therefore exceeded every expectation I had of it, and raised the bar so high that Nightmare fell short.
The first track, Critical Acclaim, is in my opinion the weakest track on the album, but is the logical choice for an opening with its rousing organ solo. Then Almost Easy strikes you, with its fast, repetetive rhythm, excellent guitar, piano segments that blend incredibly well with the guitar and a lyrical cohesion and creativity that sets the standard for the rest of the album.
Scream follows, and again is a solid track with a fantastic opening. It's one of those songs that you just want to air guitar to. But the true guitarwork reaches a climax with Afterlife. Don't be decieved by the violin opening of this song - the guitar opening that follows and the mind-blowing solo are only topped by M.Shadow's perfectly delivered voice.
The pace slows slightly with Gunslinger, a song that seemed to have been fused together. Beginning with a country-style guitar solo, the song bursts into loud guitar about a third of the way through, like the band got bored. However, where others might have failed with this approach, Gunslinger just...works.
Then comes Unbound, which I've always felt should be played on rollercoasters. The song truly earns its name 'The Wild Ride', with a fast-paced action that will have you wanting to stamp on your accelerator. This is the song to play in the car, definitely.
A strong contrast to Brompton Cocktail, a song that many people have called the weakest song on the album. While musically Brompton Cocktail isn't outstanding, one only has to listen to the lyrics - the poetic account of a terminally ill individual wanting to die - to realise how genius Brompton Cocktail really is.
Lost is quite a mediocre song compared to others on the album, save for Critical Acclaim. The autotuning in the chorus is a nice touch but the track just doesn't have the impact of the others.
Which may be why you could be unprepared for the sheer, unadulterated genius that is track nine - A Little Piece Of Heaven. The track starts with a melody that wouldn't be out of place in a Broadway showtune, the song features vocals from both M.Shadows and The Rev, the lyrics are a narrative, and the music leaps from one genre to another like a frog on ecstasy - and it all works perfectly. Easily my favourite track of the album.
The tone is wound down for the last track, Dear God, which is like what Gunslinger could have been if the tone hadn't changed so fast. Dear God is an emotive country ballad and a fitting ending for a brilliant album.
The album is easily Avenged's best, surpassing everything before - no mean feat when one considers Waking the Fallen - and nothing since has surpassed it. The only song since that I feel has been able to touch anything on this album is Fiction, and possibly Not Ready To Die. Genius. I highly recommend.
on 23 May 2011
I adore this album... and Scream is worth the price of the album on its own! To play this in the car with the volume so high you can feel the bass reverberating through your seat, and the genius of Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan throughout the album (which he sadly couldn't do on Nightmare because of his untimely death), it's sheer heaven!
I will admit to not liking A7X two early albums as I hate the whole "screaming" thing and I'm glad that they detoured and changed their musical style as I would hate to think how boring my music library would be otherwise, lol. Some albums seem to get stale with repeated listening, but A7X only seem to get better, it's almost as if each track seems to become a friend that upon hearing makes you smile and relax.
If you love "Nightmare" you will love this... Scream, Afterlife, So Easy, A Little Piece of Heaven (which has a hysterical video if you check out youtube) and Dear God, not to mention five other excellent tracks as well, like Gunslinger that starts off as a deceptive ballad and then throws in a massive surprise a third of the way in!
The more you listen the more you hear, so crank up the volume and enjoy :o)
on 22 January 2014
As i have stated in previous reviews, i am a diehard fan of Avenged Sevenfold and this is where is all began. The first song i heard from them was Critical Acclaim when my dad was listening to a compilation of his favourite songs from various bands and I was really impressed by its raw lyrics, and catchy beat that really gets your head banging (although to be truthful I prefer the live versions of this where they cut out the words between the chorus and the second and third verses as I don't like the way they are said/sung). When I got home I decided look them up and so the next song I heard was Afterlife which is another one of my favourites as the song scores below state. Afterlife has an amazing lyrics, catchy chorus, and very impressive solo/instrumentals.
In short what i thought of each song:
Critical Acclaim - 10/10
Almost Easy - 9/10
Scream - 8/10
Afterlife - 10/10
Gunslinger - 10/10
Unbound (The Wild Ride) - 7/10
Brompton Cocktail - 8/10
A Little Piece Of Heaven - 8/10
Dear God - 10/10
Overall this was a fantastic album and I think this is the best album you can use to introduce people to this band as its not too heavy but not too soft (besides the beautiful Dear God which is one of my all time favourite songs and therefore scores a perfect 10/10 from me). I recommend this album and band to anyone
on 13 December 2014
More refined than the earlier efforts without the commerciality of 'hail to the king'. I've been impressed with this band since only recently discovering them on 'team rock' radio (no affiliation). Good, solid heavy metal with intricate guitar work, powerful vocal styles and tempo changes within songs that work well. I like a bit of intelligence within a song that adds interest and a7x offer that by the bucketload.
With 10 songs totalling just over 53 minutes certainly v.f.m. What more can I say? Like 'em? buy this!
on 2 October 2014
I thought Metal was dead until I discovered Avenged Sevenfold! Simply stunning album. "Critical Acclaim" is one of the genuine Heaviest tracks I've ever heard, and it sets the tone nicely for the rest of the album. Every song is a standout with no "fillers". Like everything these guys do, brilliant! Buy it!!