Review Summary: Man, this album seriously sucks. What happened to Avenged Sevenfold?
When I listen to the new record from Avenged Sevenfold, all I’m really thinking is “What the *** is this *** doing coming through my headphones”. Avenged Sevenfold’s (A7X) last album, City of Evil
was a departure from their previous faux-metalcore antics, and was probably for the better. It was one of the few albums you could “bro” out to without feeling too silly. I guess M. Shadows and the rest of the boys in A7X felt that was good enough to repeat. However, they forgot one key part in remaking that album for their self titled fourth release: actually making decent music.
If I’ve ever heard a lazier album, it probably was so bad I pushed it out of my memory, because I cannot recall a record that feels so half assed, so phoned in, so done for the money. While you can’t fault A7X for making their music way more catchy on the previous album, you can fault them for doing the same exact things for the second time in a row, when it wasn’t even all that great the first time through. They recycle the same exact riffs, lead guitar lines, and glam rock solos in the guitar department, the same drum-trigger reliance that while cool sounding at first gets incredibly annoying, and bass work that invokes the spirit of Metallica’s great bass record …And Justice for All
What truly spoils this album even more than the fact that even the guitarists (one of the few redeeming factors previously) are stuck in a totally uncreative rut is that M. Shadows has gone from having swagger to being the living vocal embodiment of a douchebag. Seriously; there are singers who just from their attitudes and singing style you want to have a beer with, and Shadows used to vaguely seem like that. Now, Shadows makes you pissed off that he can sound so smug and high and mighty, plus he hasn’t progressed a lick besides the self assurance. Take a look at “Scream” his ode to rough-as-*** sex. He goes through the song by the numbers, getting throaty when you expect him to and ‘screaming’ as he proclaims “You know I make you wanna scream, scream, screaaaaaam”.
What makes the album even worse is lyrically, it has all the depth of Justin Timberlake’s newest album, except pretending to be actually serious. Yeah, A7X have had songs about vampires before, and yeah they used to talk about the end of the world ala Revelations, so they couldn’t get much cheesier. When one of your best moments is “I’ve reached towards the sky/I’ve said my goodbyes” and your lyrical worst is a declaration that you’re an amazing lover, well you really don’t have a giant range quality wise. You pretty much suck through and through.
If its possible, and one song usually cannot make the album terrible (and I don’t mean the fact the other 9 songs on the album besides this one are THE EXACT SAME THING), but “A Little Piece of Heaven” is absolutely horrific and has a circus-like theme to boot, replete with strings and keys and horns. It actually sounds like a hard rock circus, and no matter how sick your sense of humor is, its not funny. At all. The way Shadows says “Bye bye” in the chorus is also possibly the single worst moment a singer has ever had ever ever ever. The attempts at being sweet and pensive here, as elsewhere on the album, are totally un-sincere sounding because Shadows can never escape sounding arrogant as hell.
is City of Evil
minus the cool parts, more of Shadows, a circus, and an occasional female singer that’s supposed to make it all sound innovative. There is no “Sidewinder” or “The Wicked End” here; it’s the same song (Critical Acclaim) repeated over and over with slight variations in the formula, with one or two songs breaking from that towards the end. It isn’t enough to save the record from being one of the worst albums of the year, though, and I cannot explain without ranting for 3 pages every reason why this album sucks. Shadows has now pretty much taken over A7X, and what went from a good guitar driven hard rock/metal band has now turned into a caricature of itself and other terrible glam bands from the 80s. If only this had died 20 years ago as well…
HOLD THE PHONES, I HAVE BEEN ALERTED BY A CRACK TEAM OF A7X SPECIALISTS THAT THE REV WRITES ALMOST AS MUCH AS SHADOWS DOES. I AM SORRY FOR GETTING THIS INFORMATION WRONG. LET ME REPHRASE: BOTH SHADOWS AND THE REV ARE TERRIBLE SONGWRITERS. THANK YOU.