Review Summary: The first album since the tragic passing of Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan expresses emotion, beauty, and an empowering form of musicianship.
On December 28th, The Rev was found dead in his house, from an accidental drug overdose. The Rev was not only the drummer of Avenged Sevenfold, he was their best friend. 8 months down the line, and the highly anticipated album ‘Nightmare’ has been released, and it is a beautiful tribute to a fallen member.
The album starts with the first single ‘Nightmare’. This song immediately sets the tone for the whole album, with soaring guitars and pounding drums. M Shadows vocals sound as powerful as ever, and the chorus will have you humming along. ‘Welcome To The Family’ follows with an arena filling guitar riff. With a soaring chorus, which is purely melodic, I could see this being the next single off the album. The third track is called ‘Dangerline’, and was written before ‘The Rev’ died. This seems surprising, as the lyrics toward the end sound a fitting tribute to their best friend.
It should be mentioned, that Mike Portnoy filled in on drums for the band. And he does a tremendous job of bringing the drum parts to life. The sound is similar to The Revs, and the drums are expertly done. He did an excellent job of ‘mimicking’ how The Rev played.
‘Buried Alive’ Starts sounding like a ‘ballad’, however towards the end, a heavy riff comes in to finish the song. The last half of the song is brutal, and is one of my favourite parts of the album. ‘Natural Born Killer’ and ‘God Hates Us’ are refreshingly heavy, and stop the ‘ballads’ from slowing the album down. Fans will be particularly pleased with the reintroduction of the screaming vocals in ‘God Hates Us’.
The second half of the album includes the slower, more emotional songs. ‘So Far Away’ is a song written by Synyster Gates, and includes a very touching outro. The song finishes with an epic touch, and M Shadows voice expresses the sadness in him with the loss of his best friend. ‘Fiction’ is an incredibly moving song, from start to finish. The song was written by The Rev three days before his passing, and the song is extremely haunting. The last words ‘I hope you’ll find your own way, when I’m not with you tonight’ are extremely poignant, and The Revs vocals are even used in the song, to add to the atmosphere.
The album finishes with the longest track on the album ‘Save Me’. At 11 minutes long, this track features all the twist and turns which is expected with and Avenged Sevenfold song. The track features many blistering guitar solo’s, along with a fine performance from Mike Portnoy on drums. The ending leaves the listener wanting more, and is a fitting album ending.
Through all the pain and suffering Avenged Sevenfold have gone through, they have created an album which is not only their best to date, it is an album that will stand the test of time. This album is a beautiful tribute to their fallen brother.