Sound — 9
Two years after the bands second release, entitled "Waking The Fallen", Avenged Sevenfold made their Warner Records debut with "City of Evil". Already being a band famous for incorporating the styles of heavy metal, punk, screamo and post-hardcore into their music, "City of Evil" easily mixes one other genre into their mix: Classic metal. This time around, Avenged chose to go for longer (the shortest song on the album is 5 minutes), more structured songs, with blasting drum beats and duel guitar solos peppering just about every track on the album. Gone is most of the screaming found on their first two albums replaced by lots more acoustic guitar and orchestral arrangements. This is something that may disappoint hardcore fans of the band, though M. Shadows' vocal work on "City of Evil" is more phenominal than ever. Synyster Gates has also improved astoundingly, with blistering solos throught the album. With 11 tracks clocking in at just over 73 minutes, some listeners may find "City of Evil" to be a bit too much, but this album marks not only the band's debut on a major label, but also their debut to becoming fully-fledged metalheads. Album highlights include the classic metal fury of "Burn It Down", the surprising breakout single of 2005, "Bat Country", the astonishing power ballad "Seize The Day" as well as the late-album highlight "The Wicked End".
Lyrics — 9
City of Evil's lyrics deal with the typical Avenged Sevenfold topics such as war and love, but while the album may not cover any new ground with the lyrics, M. Shadows' vocal work on the album is simply phenominal. Despite rumours of a surgery, Shadows has opted for the bands first album with all clean vocals. For the first time in the band's history, listeners will no longer be able to deny Shadows' amazing range and talent as a vocalist. The lyrics may be the same as they have always been, but M. Shadows brings new light to each and every song with quite simply the best metal vocal performance of 2005.
Overall Impression — 9
What Avenged Sevenfold have done with "City of Evil" is create an amazing album. One which will keep their diehard fans happy and also an album mainstream enough to attract a wide variety of new fans. Each band member has stepped up his game with this album, particularly vocally as well as the guitar work. This is definately the best album the band could make to make them one of the most important bands in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Without a doubt, "City of Evil" is one of the best, if not the best, metal album of 2005.