Where to begin...
Arrogance is a terrible terrible thing, it's the cloaked and fanged night-terror of rock - spiriting away perfectly good bands into the endless darkness to meet some gristly fate far worse then death; a follow-up that reeks to high heaven.
Avenged Sevenfold have been sailing on pure ego for a while and they more then deserved it, we got from them two kinda-good-boring-good albums and they got from us a license to live up the dream of rock-star excess. By the time we realized M. Shadow's voice would be permanently damaged if he screamed they'd signed to Warner, moved out of the shadows of their metalcore peers and the terrible momentum of their own conceit had picked up far too much speed to ever be stopped...
City Of Evil is a sham, a sorry collection of anemic power-metal inspired drivel - the guitars that once buzzed with energy are flat and lifeless, peppered with smug have-sex-with-me solos and half-assed breakdowns. The cover-art which has always been ugly as a standard has been dragged to dismal new lows; this isn't merely ugly, this is ugly getting dangerously drunk and wandering around shouting at people in the street. Based on a passage in the bible referring to destruction wrought by the rider of a pale horse which looking at it comes as a surprise; I didn't realise the Old Testament featured The Book Of Photoshop or possibly the Book Of Rummaging Through Iron Maiden's Dustbin.
I can't help but not focus on the vocals, they were the peg upon so many of our hopes, fears and expectations were hung, if he can't scream then surely if we're lucky all that awaits us is an entire album of ‘Warmness On The Soul' style piano crooning and that would've rocked. It turns out that it's not just being ‘unable to scream', it's being unable to deliver aurally with any force or conviction at all. Shadow's growls Hetfield-style but instead of the volcanic eruption of melodies, shouts and shrieks that usually follow we get some unbelievably weak falsetto warbling.
The first ballad ‘Seize The Day' comes not in the rich tones we're so "desperately" hoping for but in limp nasal tones that carry an unlikely scent of Audioslave about them, his attempt to reach a soaring crescendo is so painfully horse it brings a tear of sympathy to the eye, ‘Sidewinder' which follows it starts so promisingly with all the traditional elements of a good Avenged Sevenfold lighter-waver intact turns into a convoluted mess of multiple vocals, generic Salsa chords and tuneless squeaking choruses.
I wouldn't go so far as to say disappointing because if you're anything like me your expectations would have already been dragged to hitherto unknown depths by the sorry tirade of mp3s and live videos. It's impossible to listen to ‘City Of Evil' without thinking that maybe if the vocals had greater projection, the riffs more fire then this may well have been the album that propelled Avenged Sevenfold to the soaring heights they honestly deserve, instead I suspect it will be the album that kills them and makes their eyeliner rimmed eyes a regular feature peering forlornly from discount bins.
M. Shadows, chief muppet in this attired wank-rockers, s*orts herpes off the breasts of wh*res for fun. He has a straight edge tattoo too.