Sound — 9
The sound in this album is great. In this album, they tried to go a little besides their original style in "City of Evil" and I think it worked out for them. The album kicks in with "Critical Acclaim" which has one of the greats riffs on the album. It's a great way to start up an album to have a very heavy song at the start of it. Avenged Sevenfold definitely delivers on bringing a very heavy track as the "intro" to this album. Other songs like "Almost Easy," "Scream" and "Afterlife" pretty much traps the main riff in your brain. Pretty much, what I'm trying to say is that it's very catchy.
Of course there are also some weaker songs when it comes to sound. I'm mostly thinking of "Unbound (The Wild Ride)" and "Lost." "Unbound (The Wild Ride)" did not have a very catchy tune in my opinion. It lacked from anything that really stood out. I feel like you could remember any song from this album because of their originality and how each instrument blends in with the song. I can't say that about "Unbound (The Wild Ride)" however. "Lost" is also not a very strong song in this lineup. Sure it is pretty catchy but I don't really know how they thought they would get away with that autotune in the chorus. The band stated that the only reason why they had autotune in that song was because they thought it was fun to use it. They even knew that not everyone would like it. The verse is great in this song however.
The drums in all of these songs were all also amazing. I especially liked the one in "Almost Easy" since even though it takes kind of a new route to The Rev's drumming style, it fits in great with the lyrics. Overall, I really loved the sound in each of these songs. There wasn't really a song I didn't like sound-wise. Sure I have stated some that didn't really grow on me but overall it had some great experimental sound.
Lyrics — 9
You can really feel Matt's emotion in his voice when he sings. He can make any dark song sound as dark as the lyrics suggest or any angry song as angry as the lyrics suggest. I'm mostly referring to "Critical Acclaim" and "Brompton Cocktail."
The Rev also sang in this album and I absolutely thought that he kind of "completed" the emotions in the singing. His voice in my opinion at least is absolutely golden. It fits in perfectly with Matt's softer (or in some cases louder) voice. His voice also really sound like Matt's screaming in "Waking the Fallen."
For the lyrics themselves, I would say that they were great. The Rev wrote a lot of the songs on this album and did a damn fine job of that. All the lyrics can easily be related to. If it's yourself or others I feel like anyone can agree that the lyrics make sense. I don't have to explain why the lyrics are better than pop songs for example. But even some metal bands like Trivium doesn't really do that of a fine job lyrics-wise in their songs. Sometimes it feels like someone from Trivium was just sitting their and writing a word document for their lyrics in about 10 minutes. With this album however, you can really feel that a lot of effort was put into the lyrics.
I also feel like the music fits perfectly with the lyrics. If you're talking about an angry song like "Critical Acclaim" or a bit of a slower more emotional song like "Dear God," I always feel like the music fits perfectly in. Take "Critical Acclaim" for example. The songs lyrics are very angry and the music definitely fits that tone very well. Then we have "Dear God" where the lyrics are pretty emotional and soft which again also transfers over to the music.
Overall Impression — 9
So, overall this album in my opinion is probably one of if not the best modern metal album you can get out there. This was the first album I ever bought and I am dang proud that I did. Avenged Sevenfold has definitely changed the way I feel about music partially because of this album. This album will not attract normal metal or even Avenged Sevenfold fans because it's very experimental. It opens op with you thinking it's gonna be a very hardcore metal album but trust me. If you're more into traditional modern metal or very heavy music this album is not gonna be for you.
This is probably the least heavy Avenged Sevenfold album out there and honestly, this is the only Avenged Sevenfold album I wouldn't actually classify as metal. It has more of a hard rock vibe to it in my opinion. That doesn't mean the album is bad at all though. This is probably my favourite album and that's coming from someone who's 2nd favorite band is As I Lay Dying. The first few songs are very heavy but then I gets more of a softer feel for the rest of the album. This however doesn't mean that it's not traditional Avenged Sevenfold stuff. If you like "City of Evil" and "Nightmare" then you should also add this album to your collection. It has all of the Avenged Sevenfold stuff you need while still adding some other elements. This is one of those albums where you don't really feel like skipping a single song. They're all great. Right now I would definitely recommend buying this if you're interested. Right now I also believe that it's very cheap so you don't really have a complaint for not getting this album.
My personal favourite songs from this album include: "Critical Acclaim," "Almost Easy," "Afterlife" and "Gunslinger." And there's only really one song that I didn't like that much from this album, and that song is "Unbound (The Wild Ride)."