Sevenfold’s rise to stardom is very odd. Their style was throwing whatever sound at a wall to see what stuck. Inconsistencies plagued Avenged Sevenfold for years to come. For every City of Evil
there was an Avenged Sevenfold
to balance it out. They knew how to write a catchy single, but what about an entire album" Novelty value can only get you so far. Metalcore, glam, nu-metal, Sevenfold played it all. They wanted to be cool instead of unique. Nightmare
was the album where they wanted to change that. They wanted to be Avenged Sevenfold instead of a trend. The death of Rev added meaning to the album. They wanted to make sure his last effort went out with a bang. That’s where our story begins.
purpose is choppy. The band members contradicted themselves numerous times about whether or not it was a concept album or a tribute album. They finally decided the latter and made The Rev their ultimate inspiration. The album’s production does highlight Rev’s vocals and drumming quite a bit. ‘Welcome to the Family’ is a prime example. One of the more interesting things to arise from the conflicting interviews was a statement from Zacky Vengeance. The rhythm guitarist claimed the album was meant to be “heavy” similar to Queensryche’s Operation: Midcrime
. He boasted a return to their “previous work” with darker themes. This was a fancy excuse for Sevenfold to be edgy.
doesn’t have a lot going for it aside from a few bangers. ‘God Hates Us,’ ‘Buried Alive,’ and ‘Natural Born Killer’ showcase what the album wanted to be. ‘God Hates Us’ has a riff that punches you straight in the face. An intense shredding riff accompanied by Shadow’s vicious vocals deliver the album’s heaviest track. ‘God Hates Us’ does the album justice in being what the album wanted to be. Nothing in the album equals the impact ‘God Hates Us’ carries. Lyrically and instrumentally, ‘God Hates Us’ serves as Nightmare’s
most compelling track. ‘Buried Alive’ is a ballad-driven track that has an 80’s tone to it. It’s got a soft picking riff during the verse and a driven barred chorus. It’s probably the best of the multiple acoustic and soft ballads throughout Nightmare
. ‘Buried Alive’ combines the heavy and soft side of Nightmare
into one well organized track.
‘Natural Born Killer’ is overlooked in Nightmare
. The song’s trademark is a unique pull-off riff throughout the verse. Stellar drumming is put on display with gunshot-esque rolls and blast-beats. The band’s chemistry is put on display throughout the song. It’s a pretty good banger that doesn’t lose its luster after the album. The excellent instrumentation of the song sells it as one of Sevenfold’s best. That’s about it as far as positives go. Nightmare
doesn’t pack enough punch to keep listeners hanging until the end. There’s not much of a point in listening past ‘God Hates Us.’ The remaining tracks are mostly filler ballads. ‘Tonight the World Dies’ has a nice Lynyrd Skynyrd flair to it, however, the others are purposeless. They all relay the same subject in a different way.
I have a hard time investing in Sevenfold’s ballads. They either try to emulate ‘Nothing Else Matters’ or copy a formula from the 80’s. There isn’t a lot to invest in. At least in my opinion, I don’t feel the impact of Rev’s death throughout those few songs. Shadow’s voice doesn’t have that emotion or sincerity displayed. ‘Fiction’ *almost* gets it right, but its atmosphere doesn’t sell the tone at all. The eerie piano scale seems out of place. The song is supposed to be about Rev. Why is it trying to be ominous and eerie" Why not be sentimental" This was supposed to be the most important song of the record. ‘So Far Away’ tries to tap into a similar focus. It’s a basic ‘miss my family’ track meant to be nostalgic. ‘So Far Away,’ too, doesn’t feel genuine either.
overstays its welcome. 11 tracks may not seem like much, yet after listening, it’s like I’ve been there all day. The album should have been capped after ‘God Hates Us.’ The worst part is they felt the need for filler songs. ‘Danger Line,’ ‘Victim,’ and ‘Save Me’ pad the run time an extra 24 minutes. ‘Danger Line’ is a boring war song that doesn’t have anything to do with the album. ‘Victim’ looks to be about a suicide. Most interpret this to be a “truth” regarding the cause of death to Rev. Despite an autopsy ruling his death to be an accidental overdose and enlarged heart, I guess fans assume he offed himself. Either way, there’s no real purpose for the song. It’s not very exciting and drags the pace a bit. ‘Save Me’ is 10 minutes of everything we already heard on the album. Although it serves as a tribute to Rev, they already explained *everything* in the song throughout most of the ballads.
One could say Nightmare
was the revival of Sevenfold. I guess the renewed interest in the band spurs from their fusion of Metallica and Pantera. I never found the mass appeal to the album. Most of it is dry and basic. Nightmare
is one of those albums where it fluctuates from between great and good. The highpoints are amazing but the drops kill the album. The hit-or-miss nature of Nightmare
make for a hard rating. Their tribute/concept album sounds good on paper. Why not pay tribute to Rev and reinvent ourselves simultaneously" However, one can’t focus on both during the course of one album. Both of those take a whole album to accomplish. Nightmare
had a tendency to believe it was more important than it was. Although it has a big record feel, there isn’t much to boast. All that really comes from Nightmare
is an average effort from a background band.
Natural Born Killer
Welcome to the Family