Review Summary: Very different to Waking the Fallen, the singing, and the style changes quickly from their original genre, however it was a great effort to pull off such a change, and pull it off well.
City of Evil is Avenged Sevenfold's 3rd studio album, and it came at a time when Avenged Sevenfold were still struggling for their big outburst into the common metal world. To most true Avenged Sevenfold fans, Waking the Fallen is still the best, however their popularity really blossomed after the release of City of Evil. The genre, singing style and use of instruments changed rapidly from their Metalcore origins (Waking the Fallen, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet
), to a more traditional, Melodic form of Heavy Metal.
The most notable difference, is the difference in Matt Shadows singing. The rumor that he ruined his voice from failing to scream correctly on the earlier albums is incorrect
. On the bands DVD All Excess
band manager Larry Jacobson comes out saying that M.Shadows chose to stop screaming. His voice contains a more generic metal tone that varies from a deep, gravelly tone, to a high-pitched nasally style of singing, best heard on Burn it Down and Bat Country. There is a lot of layering and dubbing on the voice (Beast and the Harlot, Seize the Day) where he combines his two main tones to create an interesting finish. The singing is good, however, it has nothing on the superb clean/dirty vocals that came from Waking the Fallen, especially the clean parts in the song 'Desecrate through Reverence.'
The songs are fast and the guitars are shredding. Syn and Zacky make a superb guitar duo, playing quick-paced melodies or melodic solos throughout parts of nearly every song, including the verses of some tracks,(Trashed and Scattered.) The Rev uses the double-pedal like a madman, and Johnny Christ's bass is now brought into the mix. Where Waking the Fallen and Sounding the Seventh Trumpet had only a few solos and bridges throughout the entire album, City of Evil seems to be made up OF solos and bridges. The songs have an all-over-the-place structure, which is interesting, as you never know what is coming next. Is it a solo? Could it be a bridge? Or another chorus featuring Rock/Pop influenced chords and catchy singing (Bat Country)? It leaves the listener wondering, and often amazed, wistfully thinking they could play guitar like Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance. The riffs are fast-paced and arguably some of Metals best riffs. Strength of the World and Betrayed portray the ability to write these amazing riffs.
This album is very different to Waking the Fallen, and those people who hate the new style of Avenged Sevenfold most likely wish that this album was never made, as City of Evil is the origins of the latest releases that are classed as 'Mediocre.' However, this album is arguably their breakout album, and although some may hate it, without this album you may not have had a friend to talk to about Waking the Fallen. Overall, the singing is interesting, the guitars wondrous, and the drumming insane. A great effort for a great band.
Burn it Down
Seize the Day