Sound — 10
01. Critical Acclaim - as soon as you put this cd into your pc or stereo and press play, you know it's going to be so different from Avenged Sevenfold's previous three albums. The slow, flowing organ intro to Critical Acclaim sets the tone for this more groove-bsed album, and a riff-packed first song. Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance do an amazing job of another duel solo, backed by a third guitar, and The Rev does his bit in the vocals section in the chorus. 02. Almost Easy - this song starts off quick and fast straight away, blowing you away immediately. Although very simple, the riff suits the song perfectly, accompanied by a very Latin-sounding drum beat from The Rev. The quick, flowing tempo continues throughout the song, forming a near-perfect song. 03. Scream - one of the more moodier songs on the album, immediately introduced by a high-pitched, spine-tingling woman's scream. When the two guitars of Synyster and Zacky come in, they go together very well, using a scale similar to the noise a slot machine makes. (As quoted by M.Shadows on the "Making of the album" feature on the bonus DVD.) 04. Afterlife - my personal favourite song on the album, Afterlife, again, starts off slow, with a string arrangement, but is soon replaced by another duel intro solo from Syn and Zacky. Johnny Christ gets to show off his skill in his small but effective bass solo part at the beginning, too. But the real hit in this song is the solo. An absolutely blistering flood of notes from Synyster's guitar fills the speakers, rounding off the song amazingly. 05. Gunslinger - this song has a more country-like feel to it throughout the first minute or so. After this, heavy electric guitars replace the acoustics, with a cry of "Yeah!" from M. Shadows, to make an awesome country/rock/metal track. 06. Unbound (The Wild Ride) - previously titled "Disneyland Acid Trip," Unbound (The Wild Ride) is a not-too-heavy song with fast riffs, excellent piano work and another catchy chorus, backed by some amazing arpeggios from Synyster. Towards the end, another first for Avenged Sevenfold, children singing. However different, the effect works very well. 07. Brompton Cocktail - carrying straight on from Unbound (The Wild Ride), Brompton Cocktail starts off with some eerie orchestral string-work, into heavy electric guitars, then back to strings again through the whole verse. The orchestral parts still have an "Avenged Sevenfold feel" to them, and work very well with Shadows' voice and an accompaniment rhythm guitar. 08. Lost - another of my favourites on the album, Lost is a non-stop chaos of riffs, solos and pop-style voice effects. The song starts off with some duelling guitars over a keyboard background, until the song explodes into life with a very quick, fast-paced drumbeat from The Rev. M.Shadows' voice has a poppy touch in the chorus, which, although very much unlike anything any rock band has ever done, fits the feel of the song. 09. A Little Piece Of Heaven - this is one of the songs that The Rev wrote for the album, and has an unusual storyline. A man proposes to his significant other, who declines. He murders her, the preserves her body. But she comes back from the dead, kills Him, then they get married and go on a murderous rampage. The song essentially tells the story, with The Rev singing the narrator's part, and M.Shadows singing the main vocal sections. A small downside for this song would be the length and the virtual impossibility to play it live. 10. Dear God - formerly titled "Country Rocker", Dear God is a slow, relaxing ending to the album. It starts off with a very country-like feel, and gives the feeling of being on a long journey for a very long time. The solo for the song is very complex, and a masterful piece of guitar work from Synyster Gates. Overall, the sound of this album is near-perfect.
Lyrics — 9
M.Shadows has the capability to write very heart-felt lyrics, as demonstrated in the songs "Dear God", "Gunslinger" and "Brompton Cocktail". However, on this album, all of the band had a say lyrics-wise, and all did a very good job, especially The Rev, who wrote "Almost Easy", "Afterlife" and "A Little Piece of Heaven". The latter of those three songs is the best on the album lyrics-wise, as they are both twisted but have an element of humour in them at the same time. M.Shadows has a brilliant voice, and even without the screaming used on "Sounding the Seventh Trumpet" and "Waking the Fallen" he can sing a song and make it sound perfect, whatever the style or subject.
Overall Impression — 10
"Avenged Sevenfold" is easily the best album from Avenged Sevenfold, based on music alone. However, in terms of how heavy an album or songs are, I prefer "City of Evil". At the moment, Avenged Sevenfold are easily one of my favourite rock bands. The most impressive songs from the album are "Afterlife" due to the amazing solo, and "Critical Acclaim", thanks to the sheer 'catchy-ness' of all the riffs and solos. I love the guitar work in every song, and I can't say that I hate anything. The only thing that I would like to see is maybe a larger bass solo-type section for Johnny Christ. It this album were stolen, I would definitely buy it again, over any other album on the shelf.