Sound — 10
Avenged Sevenfold have really taken a leap with their new CD, City Of Evil. No longer the screaming metal band of their earlier CD's (due no doubt to the singer, M. Shadows, having to have vocal chord surgery), Avenged have stepped up to the major label debut category, and have delivered a cd every guitarists should own. Very much inspired by '80s shred guitar, Sinister Gates and Zacky Vengeance have crafted some very intricate guitar parts to compliment Shadow's voice. Duel guitar work, sweeping arpeggiated chords, acoustic/spanish guitar breakdowns, and screaming leads can all happen on one song. Sevenfold break the typical songwriting model, by not having any particular part be designated a 'solo'. Instead, both guitarists play lead lines throughout the song, often times weaving around the melody, and chasing each other in a very snake-like manner. I would say the only drawback to this, is that it can get a little tiring after a while. Although, not enough to where I wanted to stop the CD. Mostly because when it does get to that point, it changes to an entirely different direction. Every song is like a story that takes many different shapes throughout. With heavy parts breaking down into slow, acoustic parts, which then go into a faster heavier part, before shifting to an orchestral part which resembles danny elfman. Avenged Sevenfold show that they aren't easily categorized.
Lyrics — 8
M. Shadow's has always been very visual in his lyrics, and City Of Evil is no different. There are many different themes on this CD, from Dimebag's death, to the war in Iraq. The lyics fit every song very well, and I think the inabilty of Shadow's to scream the way he used to only helped City of Evil. Many of his lyrics on previous CD's would get lost in the music and the delivery, but there is now a much more clear vocal style. Very reminiscent to Scott Weiland on Velvet Revolver's self-titled. Shadow's may not have the versatility of before, but he pulls off every song very well.
Overall Impression — 10
It's very hard to compare City Of Evil with any other band out at the moment. Avenged Sevenfold has transcended easy categorization, and delivered a CD that should rank very high on the modern guitarists list. It's nice to see some shred guitar work happening in a tasteful manner, and not being played over screaming. This should gain more exposure for the band, as ths cd is more accesible to the non-metal community. This cd is what a lot of fans of the '80s shred guitar playing have been waiting for, and it doesn't sound cheesy in any way. Avenged Sevenfold have taken the first defining steps in their career to become a serious contender in the music ranks. A modern sound with an old school twist, this CD is sure to become a classic CD of the new generation.