Review Summary: Dear Avenged Sevenfold: Burn your self titled, replace it with this.
I actually picked this up after the Avenged Sevenfold/Buckcherry/Papa Roach/Burn Halo concert (which was incredible, by the way, and I don't care for Buckcherry), and I was incredibly excited to see what footage and music would lay beneath the cheap plastic wrapping and pseudo-creepy album artwork. But why, Avenged Sevenfold, did you feel the need to put two completely unrelated things together where one each would have been sufficient?
Live in the LBC
To be completely honest, they picked the worst footage and worst show to sell; I came out of the show invigorated and excited, still on a light contact high ("If you bright your lighter, smoke that ***!" courtesy of Jacoby Shaddix halfway through their set), and hungry for more. An hour-and-a-half later, I was home, and while my heart had stopped racing, I did want to relive what I just witnessed.
Like I said, they chose a bad show. I'm not saying that it was bad; on the contrary, it was incredibly good. However, even with all the action and excitement in the DVD, some of the antics just didn't seem to make it in there, because Avenged Sevenfold can play live well, and they seem to have a lot of fun doing so. The highlights of the DVD portion (what stand out from the rest) are:
: They invite a fan onstage to sing Pantera
, and the guy isn't actually that bad at the growl-scream that Anselmo made famous.
A Little Piece of Heaven
: They play the song in its entirety; all of the symphony (not live, of course), all of the intensity, and all of the grotesque story telling that made their self titled album bearable, at least in the beginning.
Diamonds in the Rough
I truly believe that this would have been a much better release as a full album than the self titled was; with songs that would have made great singled on a great album. Instead of the over-synthed, sell-out rock that they pushed with Avenged Sevenfold
, we get solid riffs, heavy beats, and a dose of skill all around. The first song on the disc, Demons
, is pretty good as far as starters go. it opens with a wah'ed power chord and a catchy rhythm behind it, and melds into a fast-paced metal song; kudos to the drums (which seem to be technical throughout the full album). The album, although only nine "new" songs long, is full of these heavy songs with a high replay value. The best of these songs, as most have agreed, is Dancing Dead
, which has one of the most technical, original solos Synyster has recorded, reminiscent of songs like Second Heartbeat
and Bat Country
. The only single in the album, Crossroads
, falls into this category, but the song itself is a bit boring and lackluster, and the lyrics are definitely not some of M. Shadow's best work. But it's worth listening to a couple times.
As Avenged Sevenfold as done with almost every album thus far, they have almost as many "lighter" songs as they do heavy; as in the past, however, there's usually a good and a bad side. First, we have Tension
, a song about missing out on life because of everyday monotony. While bass is the main factor, as well as a simple synth line played throughout, it's the simplicity of the song that catches the attention (as contradictory as it sounds). The solo has a bit of a mellow, classic sounds behind it; not terribly complex, but it's pretty decent.
Then we have the bad. Until the End
is the exact opposite of Tension: overproduced and not very interesting. I feel the band tried to mix the former and latter halves of Seize the Day
and make one continuous song out of it, with all of the soft-hearted, well expressed feeling that it describes. However, with about six different instruments playing at one time in a mock-symphony style, I feel that this is one song where they tried just a tad too hard.
Finally, we have the miscellaneous tracks: remixes and covers. There's not much to say about them, since they are simply recordings of other songs. Long story short:
They do Iron Maiden and Pantera justice.
They do their own songs none.
To be completely honest, this album was much, much better than the self titled, so if you're one of many that lost faith in the band after it started pedaling the stolen riff from Almost Easy
, do me a favor and give it a try.