Sound — 7
On this album, the band has taken a different direction from the past albums and succeeded in taking that direction and has brought something new to the table. The sound of this album is different from that of those released prior to this, a new sound that some will not recognize from Waking the Fallen, City of Evil, and certainly not Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet. One of the songs on this album called "A Little Piece of Heaven" threw me off guard when I first listened to it. The song is like nothing the band has released before, in my eyes. It seems like a song that would be the backing soundtrack to a Tim Burton film or some sort of dark musical. While others like "Scream" & "Afterlife", also with this new sound, are a refreshing return to the more recognized sound of Avenged Sevenfold. One track specifically stuck out to me titled "Gunslinger". The intro to this song has a familiar feeling, almost to be compared to "Dead Or Alive" by Bon Jovi. The first half of the song is laid back and peaceful with only an acoustic and M. Shadows, while after this the full band kicks in and again, returns to the A7X we all love. There are also songs like "Brompton Cocktail" that seem to be a song that lacks the catchy-ness of some of the other songs.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on this album seem to be deeper than that of other albums. Not to say that the other albums lyrics didn't express emotion, but these are more noticeable to me. The first song on the album, "Critical Acclaim", seems to be a politically driven song with an anti-government tone to it. On "Gunslinger", the lyrics seem to be drawn through the eyes of someone who is in a war time situation. These lyrics are some of the more emotional and deeper ones of the album. M. Shadow's voice has really come a long way too, they have really leveled out and have become very smooth and yet edgy at the same time, which were first brought into the light on City of Evil through the shadows of the old vocal styles on Waking the Fallen. Also Rev's voice has added a lot to this album and is a great addition to song like "Critical Acclaim" & "A Little Piece of Heaven". His voice is a definite change compared to that of M Shadows. Rev's voice has a sort of dirty feel to it that adds great emotion to the songs.His voice in "Critical Acclaim" has a tone to it that sounds like he is giving it all he has got and is on the brink of breaking his vocal pitch capabilities, but that sound is a great touch to the song.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is a new chapter in the bands history, their goal seemed like it was to make a new sound for themselves and show that they have the capability to produce songs that touch the brink of many different genres. For those fans who love Waking the Fallen and Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, and didn't care much for City Of Evil, this new album may not be for you. What this album and City Of Evil have brought to the table, compared to the first two albums, is a new sound that revolves around M Shadows not screaming in his songs anymore. At first I was not very sure about these two newest albums, but they do grow on you, but it takes some getting use to not hearing the old scream of Shadows.On this album, some of the best songs, in my opinion, are "Scream", "Afterlife" & "A Little Piece of Heaven" this one may take some getting use to. At first, I didn't like the fact that this CD was a turn around for them in their sound, but I came to like it a lot because they changed their sound and created something new that had the same A7X style to it. So when listening to this album, there isn't a lot to compare these songs with others from their library, if you think that it is not good because it is a different sound, please keep an open mind and maybe the album will change for you as it did me. Don't get me wrong though, I do enjoy this new album a lot, but it was the first two albums that attracted me to the band, so I was in the same boat as you experiencing this new sound of Avenged Sevenfold.