Sound — 10
This is the album that marked a major sound change, and commercial success for Avenged Sevenfold. Musically, this album is a much more metal oriented outing than the previous effort, Waking The Fallen. The tempos are often very fast, tons of harmonized leads, solos, double bass, and more. There is also a lot more attitude on this album, with a Guns N' Roses feel a lot of the time. This definitely isn't metal core, I'd label it as Hard Rock with a lot of Maiden/Pantera influence. Synyster Gats does an excellent job on the CD, as does The Rev at drumming. Zacky does his job, and Johnny Christ falls victim to the root note curse of metal/rock. M. Shadows vocals no longer feature screamo type vocals, but more traditional screaming and singing. His voice at times is weak on this CD, most likely due to blowing it out during touring. His voice is much better on the follow up record, Avenged Sevenfold. The vocal melodies and harmonies are excellent, though.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics all fit the songs, and are, for the most part, delivered well. While there are times when M. Shadow's vocals sound a bit forced, other times they come off very well. Shadow's voice might not be for everyone, but many people will find it enjoyable. He has a decent range (much better in the previous and next album, though), powerful presentation and a lot of great melodies and harmonies.
Overall Impression — 9
City of Evil is a great addition to any hard rock/classic metal fan's collection. Beast and Harlot is very powerful, Bat Country has attitude and a killer solo, Sieze The Day has a very Slash inspired emotional solo, and Sidewinder has a great beat and acoustic outro. While some old A7X fans might not like their direction with this album, I would definitely say it was a much needed step. This is the fastest A7X has ever been, and the most Iron Maiden influenced. The next album will slow the tempo down and go for a more heavy, mature sound, but for this album it's all about being over the top, heavy and fast.