Review Summary: Avenged Sevenfold's self titled release contains a plethora of musical styles with an A7X twist, resulting in a refreshingly different hard rock album.
First off, yes, I do realize I gave this album a rating of 4. I am sure that while some of you read this, you are shaking your head thinking, Wow, this album sucked. To be honest, on my first listen, I felt the same way. After listening a few more times, I can honestly say I am quite satisfied with the new Avenged Sevenfold release. So before clicking the “back” button and never thinking of this album again, let me explain why I rated this album higher than I rated the new Dethklok album (!).
As I play guitar myself, the guitar work of a band is very important. Oddly enough, it is here that I was originally disappointed with the album. Unlike City of Evil, A7X’s new self-titled album features guitar solos in only a handful of the tracks. However, shredding still pulls through on this album (give “Afterlife” a listen). The riffs lack frantic sixteenth notes, instead favoring a more “hard rock” driving feel to them. Don’t worry; you can still headbang to the riffs just fine. In addition, the riffs have a definite groove to them, and are pleasing to the ear.
Singing remains the prominent style on the album, as it was on CoE. Screams are present, but act as a transition between sections, rather than a vocal scheme. Avenged’s drummer, the Rev, lends his voice to some tracks. His voice fits well into the mix, and adds variety to the tracks he sings (or screams) in. Female vocals are also work their way onto a few tracks. On these occasions, the voice is pleasant and melodic, and further stretches the range of vocals on the album.
The bass is pronounced in some songs, quiet in others. No solos or anything that really stands out. Drums retain the style of A7X’s previous albums, with the exception of a cool African-sounding intro to “Brompton Cocktail”.
What is so good about this album then? Well, as you may have guessed, if you were expecting another Avenged album, you will be mistaken, and possibly disappointed. “Critical Acclaim”, “Almost Easy” and “Afterlife” are the most similar to older songs, but even they are very different. So instead of comparing it to what you liked about previous Avenged Sevenfold albums, allow it to stand alone.
Avenged Sevenfold contains 10 tracks, each with wildly different styles. To generalize, I consider this album, as I have said before, more of a “hard rock” album, instead of a metal album. In this way, songs are fun to listen to, and the variety of styles make the album quite unpredictable. “Almost Easy” sounds like a classic Avenged Sevenfold song. Later in the album, “A Little Piece of Heaven” sounds like a cross between A Nightmare Before Christmas and a Mr. Bungle song…and the last few scenes of Beetlejuice. Immediately following, there is “Dear God”, a country-esque song about missing a loved one, with plenty of slide guitar.
So why such a high rating? Finally, a modern metal band breaks free from sounding like every other metal band out there! Avenged Sevenfold has released an album with a variety of sounds and styles, and pulled it off. Don’t get me wrong, I love metal, and I do still miss the old A7X styles, but I am equally happy with something totally different. I love other music as well, and hearing a metal twist to other genres is refreshing.
To sum it all up, Avenged Sevenfold’s self-titled release obliterates any label of being “just another A7X album”. It contains a few songs that will please metalheads and guitar-lovers. The rest of the songs each stand out as separate styles, from country to a circus jingle. This variety shows the band’s willingness to branch out and show their open-mindedness. The result is a fun hard rock album that contains influences from several other genres, proving that the guys from A7X can do more than play heavily distorted metal riffs.
-Each song sounds very different; little, if any recycling.
-Guitar solos are present, and sound great even though they are lower in number compared to previous releases.
-“A Little Piece of Heaven”. Gives the band a good reason to release an album the day before Halloween.
-3 Different vocal sources further push the idea of change.
-There are a still a few songs that would fit onto previous A7X albums.
-Not the return of a Waking the Fallen or Sounding the Seventh Trumpet sound many fans were looking forward to.
-Riffs lack technicality.
-A hard rock/metal group releases a country-sounding song….seriously (though I like it, even though it’s not very metal )
-Drastic change of pace in the band’s style will no doubt turn off many listeners.
Recommended tracks for A7X Fans:
“Critical Acclaim”, “Almost Easy”, “Afterlife”
Recommended tracks to demonstrate new styles:
“A Little Piece of Heaven” (I seriously ask that you watch A Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice and then listen to this song), “Dear God”, “Unbound (The Wild Ride)” (The piano part in this song is really cool)