Sound — 10
When I first heard Bat Country, I knew I liked Avenged Sevenfold, and got City of Evil. I listened, and I was completely blown away. The ultra-fast solos and hypnotizing main riffs are so catchy that I have listened to the whole album nonstop many times. The album has a type of song for everyone, including slower rock songs like Sieze the Day. It is obvious that Zacky and Synister's skill went through the roof since Waking the Fallen. In the new album, Zacky plays much harder rhythm parts that are actually heard. In Unholy Confessions, on Waking the Fallen, Zacky just plays harmony parts to Synister's parts most of the time. Synister has gotten exponentially better at solos, and crafts his leads well. The Rev has blazing drum parts that are unforgettable and go perfectly with every single song. Jhonny Christ is breaking the Green-Day type mold that says bass parts are easier to play, and the same as the guitar parts. This thought is destroyed with songs like The Wicked End, where the bass part is harder to play than the guitar part. Overall, the actual sound of the guitars, bass, and drums is so much better than the previous albums.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are perfect in this album. At times, they can be sad, angry, or, rarely, joyful. The lyrics are a huge improvement over the other albums. Shadows really didn't have a choice to stop scraming because he had surgery on his vocal cords, and can't scream to the extent of the other albums. The lyrics are straight from the bible in Beast and the Harlot, and it comes from chapters 18 and 19 of Revelations. There isn't a bible here as I write this, so find it yourself, I know it's there. Chapter 4 of Genesis says that if anyone killed Cain, he would be avenged sevenfold, which is obviously where the name of the band comes from, so the band is not a stranger to taking lyrics from the bible. All the lyrics are well thought out, and if you listen to them closely, some of them include Matt Sanders's whole family dying, not just Strength of the World. If the singing style hadn't changed, I would not have bought the CD.
Overall Impression — 10
The songs Beast and The Harlot and Bat country have the best solos on the album, and Burn it Down, and Blinded in Chains have the best presentation. Trashed and scattered has a darker mood, with matching lyrics. Sieze thhe Day has overtones of death, and comes through as a lighter song, but the music video brings it back as an A7X song, with the solo on the coffin. Sidewinder and The Wicked End are the most different songs, but both are good nonetheless. Strength of the World is about Shadows's family dying, and his lyrics say, "I've seen my family fade away, you've taken my whole life, there's nothing left to say" during the bridge. Betrayed is a great song in memory of Dimebag Darrell, and is a song of such quality that it may become one of the greatest ever, just because of how addicting the main riff is. MIA is about the war in Iraq, and that's all that is needed to be said. Every song is impressive, and this is one of the few that you can buy just because you like one song, since if you like one, you'll like them all, and there is nothing to hate. If you only liked A7X for the screaming of the previous albums, you really aren't a fan of Avenged Sevenfold, you're just a fan of the genre. If you haven't heard of Waking the Fallen yet, listen to some of the tracks there, and without the screaming, this album sounds so much better. Argue all you want, but A7X is the best band that is still playing today. If my copy of City of Evil was stolen, I honestly would file a police report, buy three more copies, put one in a safe, one in a security deposit box in a bank, and use the other. Yeah. They're that good.