Warner Bros. Records
October 30th, 2007
Release length: 53:00
Avenged Sevenfold kicks off nice enough with an old organ piece one would expect to hear in a funeral home somewhere, and kicks in with a decent pace until the Axl Rose-esque rhaspy singing kicks in. These are not at all changed from the previous album, and honestly come off a bit obnoxious right from the start, especially with the shift in the music on this release. The song comes at you more as an anthem with a section where the vocalist is just talking loud and fast to incite a gang, and a chorus that sounds phenomenal with clean singing done by someone else entirely that sound like something along the lines of Soilwork and actually have some great emphasis in them. Clearly, this song was a horrible choice for the start of the album, as it doesn’t do well to set up the album in any sort of positive light, but instead casting it in a very irritating light with moments that sound exactly like recycled riffs from their previous effort. Luckily, the next song “Almost Easy” really finds the band pushing themselves moreso with a very catchy song full of guitar hooks, a great pace by the drumming that merges between simple bass kicks and some technical work during heavier passages, and even a stronger vocal performance that works well with the song, showing that the band may very well have taken the time for this album to solidify their sound and compose material that is actually rather captivating and, in a sense, moving for fans of lighter, more mainstream material.
Outside of “Almost Easy”, the rest of the album pretty much becomes what you would expect if you heard City of Evil. While the songs that follow aren’t necessarily bad, many of them are just insanely long and drawn out, and because of that tend to start following formulas, including random bridges that serve no point other then to extend the life of the songs, which hit as early as “Scream” and “Afterlife”, the latter being a very slow paced track that is reminiscent more of a ballad but just comes up a bit weak musically. One positive aspect of the album is that “Scream” seems to set off a completely different flow for the album that follows suit through the remainder. Each track stands as it’s own, even though it still retains some repetitive materials from the last song such as some similar chords, but the general atmosphere stays consistant and seems to build upon itself. “Afterlife” ushers in a change to a slower, more somber section of music for the album, which feeds into “Gunslinger” nicely and retains that same ballad-type feel but makes it more of a generic ballad that incorporates a western feel to it. Then you have the track “Unbound (The Wild Ride)” which follows the musical suit of the past few songs and retains the western/country feel from “Gunslinger” and builds on it more to create a song that sounds a lot like a spaghetti western type of track. This song, however, really does just go on for way too long, has too many changes musically, and the female child’s voice that sings at the end in such an off-tone voice sounds absolutely horrible and ruins the song completely.
While Avenged Sevenfold is stronger then the last, there’s just so many things that happen here that leave the listener confused. “Critical Acclaim” is a good example thanks to the guest vocalist in the chorus that pushes the song forward in a direction it needed is one of them, yes, and the amount of slower ballad-type songs is also something that is confusing, especially since “Gunslnger”, “Unbound (The Wild Ride)” and “Dear God” happen to hold that western atmosphere to them thanks to the guitars and even the keyboards incorporated. However, nothing is more puzzling then the song “Lost”, which comes out of nowhere as an upbeat watered down version of “Almost Easy”, and instead of a strong chorus utilizes some generic guitars and Electronica vocals during the chorus that sound not only out of place, but absolutely horrible. You can even hear some very slight traces of it during “Dear God” in the chorus as if it were some kind of terrible pitch correction job.
So for all the pros that this album winds up having, such as some solid songs that sound strong, there’s still plenty of things that hold this album back. Many of the songs on here are atrociously long, there’s a strong fascination on country with this release, including the closing track which is straight forward Country, tone deaf singers, pointless Electronica, the list goes on with this release. Outside the first two tracks, with “Critical Acclaim” being sketchy, there’s really nothing on here that will have you coming back for repeat listens, as Avenged Sevenfold seriously just sounds like some kind of identity crisis project from Avenged Sevenfold, but littered with filler tracks that are done up well enough with glitter and other shiny things to distract you from the fact that they become very boring after a short while.
01. Critical Acclaim – 5:15
02. Almost Easy – 3:55
03. Scream – 4:48
04. Afterlife – 5:53
05. Gunslinger – 4:12
06. Unbound (The Wild Ride) – 5:12
07. Brompton Cocktail – 4:13
08. Lost – 5:03
09. A Little Piece of Heaven – 8:00
10. Dear God – 6:33
|Overall Score: 3/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.