Review Summary: A metalcore debut full of imperfections, instrumental chaos and painful screamed vocals that come together to create something incredible.
The true meaning of metalcore is not one that describes bands like Atreyu or The Devil Wears Prada at all. It is a mix of hardcore punk and metal, no pop influence what-so-ever. Avenged Sevenfold is now known as a constant punchline in many online music forums and chat rooms but to be honest, they had the right idea going into their career. Regardless of their musical approach now, that should still not influence your opinion on their past music and accomplishments.
Their sound on their debut album, Sounding The Seventh Trumpet is still very different from that of Converge or Botch. They choose a more melodic approach to it but don't rely on the tone deaf breakdowns that are used far too often in modern day metalcore. The songs seem to be arranged by the drumming of now deceased drummer, Jimmy Sullivan. His style mainly circles around hardcore punk music with metal influences. The structure of the songs is almost non-existent, launching from one riff to another, with Shadows using a well thought out mix of guttural screams and clean sung vocals.
"To End The Rapture" is a guitar driven song that does a good job kicking off the album. The song is more melodic than the majority of the album but is a nice calm before the storms of the chaos that is up ahead. It is also one of the only songs that isn't completely centred around the drumming. "Turn The Other Way" displays some poor lyrics but keeps the listener interested enough to proceed through the next half of the album. "Darkness Surrounding" is very technical but still features some clean parts to give the listener a break from the circle pit oriented metalcore. Other standouts such as "The Art Of Subconscious Illusion" and "We Come Out At Night" feature some atmospheric spoken word vocals and piano work. "Lips Of Deceit" is catchy but doesn't hold its own when compared to the songs before it.
At the albums half point now the listener will have noticed that the vocals are really nothing new and incredible and hell, neither is the guitar work or the non existent bass work. Its how much energy is put into every line M. Shadows screams and the way the mess of instruments somehow seem to fit together.
"Warmness On The Soul" is the albums ballad and though it has a laughable name and some questionable lyrics, the instrumentals are spot on to expel emotion into whoever hears it. Other songs like "Streets" and "Shattered By Broken Dreams" capitalize on the well done clean vocals and do a very good job of it.
Whether or not you like Avenged Sevenfold, you should still be able to appreciate their earlier work. Before the time of their studio perfect sound, there was a true metalcore band that was able to incorporate the sweat, blood and emotion of their live shows into their debut album, "Sounding The Seventh Trumpet" and for the members being 18 years old at the time, it's pretty damn impressive.