Sound — 9
Striving to create his album with no screaming, M. Shadows came up wth City of Evil. Still in transition from Waking the Fallen, his singing is a lot of the time a mixture of screaming and singing, a kind of raspy yell that takes the breakdowns higher. However, as talented as M. Shadows may be, it is the guitar and drums that set the album apart. All the solos are carefully constructed to run smoothly and not take away from the songs. Here is my list of reviews for songs individually. 01. Beast And The Harlot - the opener for the album is one of the exceptions on the all singing album rule. The intro is easily recognizable, with a nice long scream in the background from M.Shadows. However, that soon gives way to the fast steady drumbeats (in sync with the palm muted guitar of course) of the Reverend. The tempo is fast, and aall the solos end on high notes to keep you upbeat about the rest of the album. When I first heard it, I love it, but over time I have grown to the point where I don't listen to it anymore, really. 02. Burn It Down - The Rev. opens us up with fast double bass and the snare, but then is contrasted by the relative niceness of the opening riff. M. Shadows gives us nothing special the first half of the song, but the words are nicely accompanied by the drums, with quick drum rolls on all the important parts. A crowd favorite, the breakdown is the best part of the song, grunts and groans and all. Quick, hammering solo by synester. 03. Blinded In Chains - one of my favorites, this song is all about the drums. The Reverend opens us up and takes us all the way throgh the song, nicely accompanied by synester's fast, but well composed solos. The notes used for the words are perfectly composed and tie the entire piece together. 04. Bat Country - their second most overplayed song, next to Unholy Confessions, opens with a scream, and uses the chorus to carry the song. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the song, but it isnt what everyone is trying to make it be. The solo is nice and high, with the band going back to their iron maiden roots to deliver a good song with the right parts to remember, but after the last song, it seemed like a letdown. 05. Sieze The Day - when you first get the album and listen to the first four, you are getting pumped up, then all of a sudden there's this random slower song, and you feel slighted. It took me a while to finally understand and appreciate the fullness and completeness the song gives to the album. M.Shadows leads with a beautiful performance, harmonizing with the guitar so that you almost can't tell where the words end and music begins. The solo is easy, yet compliments the sng with just how great it sounds. The last verse is especially great, definetly not a song to skip. 06. Trashed And Scattered - of all the hard songs on here, this is their best. It isn't my favorite song, but it comes close. Opening with pure guitar, the entire band follows in just giving it everything. Every once in a while they pause long enough to tell you that "your gibberin don't mean shit". Once they get to the breakdown, your in heaven. You can't resist head banging even a little. Great song, but the ride isn't over. 07. Sidewinder - it opens with a harmonized guitar part that leads into the rest of the band. Not as distorted as most of the other songs, but the subtle references to snakes are great if you pick up on them. Most of all, look for the harmonized solo between gates and vengeance to lead up to the acoustic part, done by one of the band member's fathers. Although you may be tempted to skip to the next song at this part, don't. It's worth it. 08. Betrayed - this song is a little cliche. OK, I enjoy a few cliche lines every once in a while to, but they actually used the line "I feel you burn inside, burn in me like the rising sun" but aside from a few lines like that, an all around good song. It doesn't quite live up to the rest of the album, but it doesn't take away from it either. 09. Strength Of The World - in my opinion (and only mine), the best track on the entire album. You see, the album reads like a story. You have your introduction (beast and the harlot), your rising actions(burn it down through Trashed and Scattered), your plot twist (Sieze The Day), a little more action (Betrayed), and finally the climax! At nine minutes this song is one hell of a climax. It opens with an acoustic riff accompanied by a violin, changing quickly into the main riff, and then enters M.Shadows with a big grin on his face singing about family members being dead. After a few short solos ther simply to enhance the song, synester gates bursts out with a solo that fulfills all your hopes about the song. Finally the orchestra enters again to bring you out, and they leave the last chord ringing. 10. The Wicked End - Gates and Vengeance make use of the harmonized guitar solo here, and they do it quickly. M. Shadows provides the energy this time, letting the guitarists handle seaming it together. All of a sudden in the middle, it slows down and does this part that kind of reminds me of a movie soundtrack. Then it's right back to the action that begins to transition you towards the final piece. 11. Missing In Action - probablly the second or third best song on the CD, it starts with a slow, distant sounding Guitar Melody, and M.Shadows sounding the nicest he can. It them explodes into the main riffs, but then goes silent for the greatest part of possibly the entire album. Everything goes quiet, and Shadows screams "The fighting rages on and on/To challenge me you must be strong/I walk the land but don't belong/Two million soldiers can't be wrong." It is done so simply and magnificently that they immeadiatly catch you for the entire song. Although I admit the chorus s a litlle unlike them, but it is still a great song.
Lyrics — 8
Avenged Sevenfold lyrics get the main point of the words across without connectiing them. They are deep, great lyrics, but they aren't quite fluid enough to be really good. Their writing got a lot better on the new album, and they do sing more fluidly. However, even if it doesn't flow just right, it suits them fine, and it leaves me wanting more. No complaints really.
Overall Impression — 9
It is an entirely new kind of music for them, without screaming, and I kind of get the impression that they tried to make up for it with their guitar and drums. The three most impressive songs of the album are (in my opinionated order) Strength Of The World, M.I.A., Blinded In Chains. Personally I loved the entire album. If I lost it, it would definetly be worth the money again.