Sound — 10
Personally, I love Avenged Sevenfold and consider them one of my favorite bands. The pure energy and musicianship involved in their music amazes me. This being said, City of Evil is possibly their best example of this. The main theme of the album is the flaws of society. It talks a lot about how evil society has become and how faith has been replaced with sin, as in Beast and the Harlot and Bat Country. It also makes several Biblical referrences such as in Strength of the World and The Wicked End (the name Avenged Sevenfold is also a Biblical referrence). Where in previous recordings (Sounding the Seventh Trumpet and Waking the Fallen) the genre was pure in your face metal, this CD tones it down to more of a Metalcore sound and sometimes even to Hard Rock. A great expample of this is Seize the Day, which is almost entirely acoustic. With all this change one thing has certainly stayed the same: the masterful guitar work of virtuoso ax gods Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics on this album really stick with you. They're fairly dynamic and cover a few different topics. While many seem to be about odd topics only found in Progressive Rock, they turn out to be somewhat of a metaphor for something deeper and more meaningful (Sidewinder, The Wicked End). However, others are more obvious, such as Seize the Day (lost love) and Missing in Action (military support). Having said that, I overall enjoy the lyrics. They really comply with the music well, too. Many of the lyrics were roughened up to sound good with the fast paced, gritty, and overall hardcore instrumentals. Although there is one anomaly. This is Seize the Day, which has fairly melloncolly lyrics and is also a slow song. M. Shadows' singing abilities are incredible seeing as this is the first album he actually sang on instead of screaming (he popped a blood vessel in his throat and can no longer scream). In general, his singing is pretty good, too, so I think he's overall a good singer.
Overall Impression — 9
City of Evil compares with a couple albums by other artists. It compares pretty well with some of the older Atreyu albums such as The Curse, A Death Grip on Yesterday, and Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses. While the vocals are no comparison, the instruments are. They both include fast, sweeping guitar parts and insane hardcore drums. The most impressive songs are Strength of the World, The Wicked End, and Seize the Day. Strength of the World is a nine minute opus featuring winding instrumentals, heart-felt vocals, and even long orchestral sections. The Wicked End is a typical hardcore A7X song, but gives way in the middle to an orchestra. Seize the Day is simply the opposite of what you would expect on an Avenged Sevenfold album, featuring mostly acoustic guitar and sad lyrics. I love energy in it and how musical it is in comparison to most of the stagnant same old stuff that you hear all over the radio. I love the hooky guitar parts and the blazingly fast sweep guitar solos. I love the brutal mix of pounding drums, thundering bass, and rocking rythm guitar. I love the mix of metal and orchestral music. However, there are also some things I dislike about it. I hate how the vocals sometimes drear into a whiny drone. Sometimes I even hate the long and often uninteresting bridges. If I lost this CD I would buy it again without thinking twice about it.