Avenged Sevenfold is a former metalcore band that formed in 1999 and comes from Huntington Beach, California. The band recorded a demo titled “Warmness on the Soul” while in high school. When the members were still teenagers they released their debut full-length album, “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet”. After that they released “Waking The Fallen”. Both of these “metalcore” albums didn’t just show promise; they actually had some impressive songs.
However, all of this changed when they released their third full-length album “City of Evil” in 2005. Lead guitarist Synyster Gates said this in an interview concerning the fact that lead vocalist M. Shadows would not scream on this record, “People thought it was because he hurt his voice, but that was just a temporary thing”, says Synyster Gates. “We sort of moved farther away from that scream(ing) style because we’d done it before, and so many other bands are doing that right now”.
Avenged Sevenfold’s release of “City Of Evil” last year signified an even deeper change than just Shadows no longer screaming. The whole style of the music has changed. No longer is Avenged Sevenfold a talented metalcore act; the band is now a mainstream, classic metal influenced, metal band. In the months after purchasing the record it began to become distasteful. M. Shadows voice initially was whiny and brought everything down. That was months ago, now his voice and the rest of “City of Evil” has grown and grown in quality. Shadows’ voice fits the music well now; it’s catchy, but also aggressive.
He should be grateful that he took vocal lessons because if it took this long for his voice to grow on me it’s hard to imagine how it would have been had he not. “Trashed and Scattered”
may very well be the magnum opus of the whole album. Shadows shows more range in that song than any other. The bass actually stands out as well despite the fact that it usually is in the background. The attitude of the song is one of rebellion and even though it’s a six-minute song it never gets old; it hardly even repeats sections actually. Another time the bass manages to standout is the beginning of “The Wicked End”
, a song that screams rock out. The guitars take a slow pace with their licks, but the song gets very tense. M. Shadows provides a nice melodic touch to the apprehensive music and it’s curious that this isn’t a single off the album.
Even after this time of realizing that “City of Evil” is a pleasing album there is still one song that is complete trash. “Seize the Day”
is an attempt at writing a ballad, something that even after this rapid change in style does not suit Avenged Sevenfold. It’s the one song where Shadows’ singing is still unacceptable. He’s whiny the whole time and the overall feeling is way, way too syrupy. Even the guitar solos in it aren’t too great. They’re both slow, short, and only provide an even more so cliché feeling to the whole song.
The weirdest part of “City of Evil” is “Strength of the World”
, which at first seems to be a cliché western song that has a violin at the start. But then the whole band comes in with a heavy, watered down feeling. That’s because the song isn’t exactly joyous. Shadows starts off singing, “My story starts the day they said, ‘she can’t be found’. The news so dark, heart stopped, I stood silent without a sound. It’s over she’s finished. Mother lies with my father and sister too. Cold-blooded, they suffered, shot down by the outlaws after you. Sorrow swallows my screams.” It seems that this could be the anthem of the record because “Strength of the world!” is shouted with Shadows coming in right after to sing a verse and this is repeated multiple times. The string attachment comes back to round off the nine-minute song and the fact it doesn’t wear down while playing is amazing.
Murdock does a fairly decent job producing the album. One can only imagine how much he worked on Shadows’ voice because he sadly isn’t that great live anymore, but his voice is still great here, save the syrup-fest “Seize the Day”
. The fact that the record is one-hour and twelve-minutes long is impressive. It’s always good to see a band these days have a record be even fifty-minutes in length. “City of Evil” in the end is a great record that is fun to listen to through and through. It took a while to realize this, but in the end it’s pleasing for it to have taken so long.