Sound — 9
Avenged Sevenfold's City of Evil is a very polished sounding album. In some ways I must admit that it sounds a little too polished to me. However, I must admit, despite the clean sound of the record, the music is quite innovative and unique. Avenged Sevenfold emulate their obvious influences like Metallica, Pantera, Iron Maiden, and other such metal bands, while not completely ripping them off. They also include some very interesting twists in their structurally complex compositions, such as the acoustic outro of "Sidewinder" complete with a flamenco solo and everything, and the middle section of "The Wicked End," which features a choir and epic orchestral arrangements. "Strength Of The World" starts out with an acoustic guitar, then a violin joins in and some cool sound effects make it sound like its intro would belong right at home in a spaghetti western film. The sound is considerably different than that on Waking The Fallen, as City Of Evil features essentially no screaming, more guitar solos, and more songs of epic proportions. Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates have got to be two of the most impressive guitarists I have ever heard. Their solos, riffs, and overall sound are just mind-blowing, and help give the album it's sort of classic metal type of sound.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics of City Of Evil honestly aren't brilliant, but there are a few songs on which M. Shadows' abilities as a lyricist shine, such as "Seize The Day" (the ballad of the album, essentially), and the lead single "Bat Country." But what he lacks in lyrics (although the lyrics on Waking The Fallen were all quite impressive, so don't judge his skills just by this album), Shadows makes up for in vocal power. Sure, his vocals are more melodic and less cathartic and intense on City of Evil than on Avenged Sevenfold's previous efforts, the sound of his voice is still great, if a little annoying occasionally (the outro of "MIA," for example), and sound perfect with the music itself. The only major complaint I have about the nature of the singing on the album is the way they quite obviously did the vocals in seperate takes (as in a lot of the time Shadows' vocals overlap each other or in certain songs there is absolutely no breathing room for long periods of singing time), which could make them sound different live (probably just less holding of notes).
Overall Impression — 9
There is one word to describe City Of Evil: epic. Everything about this album is epic; the song lengths are huge (which brings to mind Metallica), structures are extrememly complex, guitar solos sound absolutely brilliant, not to mention most of them being very fast and containing parts in which Synyster and Zacky both play. These are just a few of the more epic things about the album. Now, after all this praise, I must say that City of Evil is definetely not perfect. There are a couple of songs that I don't completely love, being "Burn It Down" and "Blinded In Chains," which I basically consider the throwaway tracks of the album. However, despite these two songs being not all that great, Avenged Sevenfold makes up for it with all the other songs on the record. There are a few songs on the album that seem almost too good too be true, being "Strength Of The World," "Seize The Day," "MIA," and "Sidewinder." All feature ridiculously cool guitar parts (especially the solos, and, to further narrow it down, especially "Sidewinder"'s flamenco outro solo) along with vocals that sound melodic and intense at the same time. I would think that Avenged Sevenfold will probably release "Seize The Day" as a single, being that it is the ballad of the album, not to mention it is incredibly catchy, and people who aren't big fans of the band will probably like it. Anyways, essentially City Of Evil is a great metal album. I don't really understand why people are calling this album metalcore or emo, which some of Avenged Sevenfold's older stuff resembled (well, ok, their previous albums were metalcore, with element of screamo incorporated), because it is about as straight forward hands down heavy metal as you can get. Anyways, I prefer their older music style, but I am definetely fond of their more recent sound as well. Essentially, Avenged Sevenfold is a brilliantly talented band and I think City Of Evil is just the beginning of what the have to show the world.