Sound — 10
I remember M. Shadows say in an interview during the countdown to the release, "When you finish hearing the album, you're gonna be like, 'is that it?' your gonna want more." This could be nothing further than the truth. This record is defiantly the best sounding album thus far, great guitar distortion/gain, strings arrangements, plus the signature Avenged Sevenfold style. The wide range of instruments used are amazing: guitars, bass, drums, piano, organ, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, bass clarinet, cello, violins, choirs, guest star female vocals, screams, laughs, little kids, and even a breaking bottle can be heard on this album. They took a great risk with some of the musical innovations, and it sure paid off.
Lyrics — 10
M. Shadows vocals and lyric writing have improved, and the Rev stepped up on this one, since he wrote about three of the songs, "Almost Easy", "A Little Piece of Heaven," and (I wanna say) "Brompton Cocktail." He also provided the screaming for the album, and the rest of the band, plus several other appearances. A barrage of voices, it feels at times. 01. Critical Acclaim - a political peace movement, mostly composed by Shadows, it's got a nice little organ part in it. A great way to start off the album, with a transition from "City of Evil" to "Avenged Sevenfold." 02. Almost Easy - a song about forgiving people, how easy it is to forgive, and how hard it is. Written by the Rev, and was supposed to be on the transformers soundtrack. 03. Scream - "The Pleasure Of Killing," or so Synyster Gates says. 04. Afterlife - amazing song. Starts with string arrangement, and just goes up from there. 05. Gunslinger - about missing someone and being away from the ones you love. Shadows says it's related to the War in Iraq, but not too closely. 06. Unbound (The Wild Ride) - formerly called, "Disneyland Acid Trip." You get it from there. 07. Brompton Cocktail - seems to be about dying. 08. Lost - this songs about how every thing in human history is around war and conquering. And how empires fall after they conquer, and a new war starts once it's collapsed. 09. A Little Piece Of Human - eight minutes of chaos. I was going A-wall when I first heard this song. It's about a story of a couple, the guy kills the girl, and preserves her. Then she comes back, kills him, they start over and get married again, and terrorize everybody. It reminded me of Halloween and Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride." Juliette Commagere as the girl, and Zacky V as the priest. 10. Dear God - very profound way to end the album. It's one of those Epilogue-type songs, like resting your head down to sleep.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a different move from their previous three albums. "Sounding the Seventh Trumpet" was punk/metal, "Waking the Fallen" was metal, and "City of Evil" was in your face. They have strayed away from their fast guitars and drums, and defiantly slowed it down for this album. I liked the fast-paced guitars and the machine-gun drums, but I enjoy Avenged Sevenfold"'s different, deeper message than any other previous record. My favorite songs are Afterlife, Brompton Cocktail, and A little Piece of Heaven. If this album was lost (I don't why I'd let it get lost) I would buy another copy as soon as I could. Avenged Sevenfold did an excellent job on this album.