Avenged Sevenfold - Avenged Sevenfold
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: October 30, 2007
It was all about metal for these guys in the beginning. The first two albums were about metalcore, which changed as time went on since vocalist M. Shadows decided he was through with screaming. The band as a whole looked to their influences and decided to be less extreme and take a more melodic approach to their music; that resulted in 2005's City of Evil. When they went back to write their self-titled album, A7X decided to push the boundaries with their sound.
1. "Critical Acclaim"
The opener of the album starts with an attack - an attack on democrats criticizing U.S. soldiers and the war on Iraq. Shadows isn't making a political statement; he's defending the soldiers. For the song itself, drummer The Rev lends his vocals. He doesn't sing; he takes on the voice of a monster to add a creepy effect. Shadows then goes for the attack, and rather than sing, states his lyrics with a threatening anger. The song is much more of a statement than a song, but it's a great opener nonetheless.
2. "Almost Easy"
This song helped solidify A7X's identity and mainstream position. What's not to like? The intro pumps you up, the chorus is undeniably catchy and it harkens back to the metal sound of City of Evil. If there is anything negative to be said about this song, it would be lyrics. Compromise? Ignorance? Not only does the band say these things in a similar fashion found in many other bands, but Shadows goes on to say that he's not insane. A little amateurish, but the lyrics don't have to be great if a song is good musically; A7X definitely delivers that.
Johnny Christ gets to shine on bass guitar in this hip-hop influenced groove metal song. Lyrically, I'm pretty darn sure that this song is about rape, and if it's not, then A7X really punk'd me here. All about sexual pleasure here and not a hint of out-of-this-world guitar solos here. It's a solid song, but some might get tired after repeated listens since there is really nothing more to this song other than sex. We get it: A7X likes the kinky stuff.
A haunting orchestra that quickly turns into a guitar attack. Very ninja like if you ask me. Guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance show off their amazing abilities with amazing guitar solos on this track. What more do you want? What more could you want? The song paints a dark picture with Shadows talking about escaping, well, the afterlife; he believes that he has died too early, and the strings help fill out the rest of the painting.
Gunslinger is a story about the soldiers in Iraq. Shadows takes on the role of one those soldiers. The character tells his loved one(s) that he is coming back to them despite all the things that are happening. The song starts as if its setting was in the old West. That eventually blasts into hard rock form. The story is heartfelt, and A7X decides to be heartfelt as well, never once lapsing into their metal sensibilities.
6. "Unbound (The Wild Ride)"
Wild? Yes. But was the ride good? No. It's arguably the weakest song on the album. A7X feel lost in the multiple genres they've been adding to this album. The song doesn't connect. Maybe it's because Unbound sounds like one of those songs that a band makes just for the sole purpose of making a song. A very dull ride. I wany my money back.
7. "Brompton Cocktail"
The African drums seem to be a reminder to the fans that A7X are trying to be experimental. Yeah, you guys made it clear in the last six songs. However, "Brompton Cocktail" tells a poignant story about a man dying and wanting to have a brompton cocktail. For those unfamiliar with the cocktail, it's a basically a mixture that dying patients take so they can feel euphoria before dying. The chorus is very catchy and melodic, and the song itself proves that whether or not you're a fan of A7X's musical change, you can't deny that they can tell a good story both lyrically and musically.
I didn't know Cher was making a guest appearance! But in all seriousness, the song started off promisingly until we hear the auto-tune; very, very unmetal. However, for those who aren't deep in the politics of music, the auto-tune shouldn't annoy you too much, if at all.
9. "A Little Piece of Heaven"
The Rev, the deceased drummer of the band, wrote this song in his spare time until the band decided to use it for the album. A7X goes to Broadway - a demented, dark version of Broadway. Horns are everywhere and everything is dance-like and jumpy while we hear the story of necrophilia, revenge and ultimately, love. This is the most experimental song A7X has ever written, and the results are great. C'mon, there is not a hardcore Avenged Sevenfold fan out there who wouldn't want to see this song done on stage.
10. "Dear God"
A7X ends the album with a sweet country rock ballad. Shadows sings about being far away from a woman he loves and that he only wants her to not feel alone and that he too is missing her. The band insists on stretching the song to 6 minutes when we got the message already in half that time, leading A7X sounding repetitive. "Dear God" is kind of like a sweet goodbye that turns awkward because the person you're leaving won't stop talking.
Overall, Avenged Sevenfold shows that they're still technically ferocious and their willingness and eagerness to try something new is very admirable. However, they seem to get lost, and even confused, within the multiple influences and genres they're trying to fit in. Many of the songs on this album are solid with a couple of them being some of the best songs A7X has ever written, but it results in just a solid album. This isn't a bad thing by any means, but for those who are more accustomed to the band's earlier work, this album might be a turn off.
Is anyone looking at these reviews before they publish them? I don't care about what he says about the album, but there's definitely some editing needed in this review - not to mention the whole track-by-track format is just bad writing in general.
I've always loved this album, not as much as City of Evil but it's still great. While I will agree this review is way too generous, I was shocked to se such a low user rating on this album. There are a couple songs like "Lost" and "Dear God" that are a bit different, so I can understand people not digging those. Personally I liked every song at least a little, and "A Little Piece of Heaven: is simply a masterpiece.