Review Summary: A step in the right direction
For a band that changes their style with every album, Avenged Sevenfold's follow up to self titled could be considered part returning to their heavier roots while also experimenting with a mix of hard rock and a softer moodier feel to it. From an instrumental point of view, each band member shines in their own right. M. Shadows vocals are still as strong as self titled,if not stronger. Synyster Gates and Zachy Vengeance are definitely the driving force of this record, as they give the album a much more hard rock vibe while making the insane solos were used to from Avenged by now. The drums, recorded by Mike Portnoy in place of their late drummer the Rev give strength to the songs that almost feel like its the rev drumming them himself.
Track 1,Nightmare, starts with single piano notes playing, followed by a short orchestra, then it kicks in. The whole band plays quick cords that sum up the record perfectly"heavier,faster,stronger." M. Shadows comes in with his signature singing style and the track is a strong start to the album. The next 2 songs, "Welcome to the Family" and "Danger Line", are straight up rockers with the classic Avenged feel to them, and are both good listens. Track 4, "Buried Alive" starts with a slow guitar intro, which for the first few minutes has a slower feel until about 4 minutes in, and the song takes a total left turn. Synyster and Zachy come in with dueling guitars for a very heavy feel as Shadows performs one of the more stronger vocals of the album, ending the track strongly. After the country-tinged track "So Far Away" comes God Hates Us, the definite surprise of the album, M. Shadows screaming! His Vocals are very strong here and his screams are better than anything off Waking The Fallen, and is a definite must have for any old Avenged fan. The latter half of the album comes less heavy as the first, but more passionate. The tracks "Victim" and "Tonight the World Dies" both have a softer feel to them, while the choruses for both are strong and flow nicely with the surrounding feel of the album, the death of The Rev. Next is Fiction, the last track The Rev wrote, and the possible foretelling of his death. The track is heavily influenced by piano and Shadows sings with almost a feeling of pain at the loss of his friend, with the rev's almost haunting vocals placed in the versus, its the most meaningful track on the album and in its feel, the saddest. The last song, and the longest, is "Save Me", ends the album strongly and for those who will listen all the way through,it has some of the bands strongest moments, and each member shins in their own way
The only negative comment i can say about this album is some people may think the songs are too long, as it is their longest album to date. Otherwise, this is an album of grieving at the lost of their drummer, but pushing forward and releasing some of their strongest material to date, a step in the right direction.
Recommended Tracks: Nightmare, Danger Line ,God Hates Us, Fiction, Save me