Sound — 8
Saying this now, but this review is for Diamonds in the Rough and not the DVD. Okay then. Anyways, as we all know Avenged Sevenfold is fairly inconsistent when it comes to a specific genre. While this album may be considered CD #4.5 for the band, Diamonds in the Rough almost takes a step backwards sometimes as some traks are clearly more COE-esque as opposed to sounding like the material from the last effort. That's not a bad thing either. As expected, there isn't any screaming at all but if you were more into the hard rock / metalish stuff from City of Evil than the random slur of whateverness for the untitled album, than you might just dig some of these tunes. Syn and Zacky still have their guitars going on for 90% of the time and the Rev is same old. Tension, however, has an almost exclusive bass riff for the verse and the lyrics are done in an almost nu-metal style... sort of. I guess Shadows is actualy just talking fast over heavy music. There'll be more detail on the specific sounds as each song is reviewd indivdually later on. But overall, it wasn't stepping out of their safety zone and there's nothing particulairly new here. This CD has no big bad swear words either, as far as I'm aware. Content matter may be a different story in some cases.
Content — 8
Okay, as stated above this is for the CD exclusively. There are a variety of different songs, varying from the b-sides from the A7X album to some classic metal covers and some 'remixed' tracks. If you thought that they'd bring the screaming back, there's a solid five second yell at the end of the Fight and that's about it. Sorry old school fans. Anyways... 01. Demons (6:16): the big intro with a cool opening riff. This song is a prime example of a COE / A7X Hybrid. The verses are like their newer material, but the chorus has a COE style I think, with the loud / quiet effect. It also reverts back to a longer song style and has some cool guitar to it, namely some sweep picking from gates after the second chorus which always sounds sweet. This tune is about surcombing to one's personal demons. If I had to bet, I'd say that the Rev was behind the lyrics but perhaps not. 02. Girl I know (4:26): this is one of the better song on the album. The opening riff is a rip from Beast and the Harlot. The verse is simple but the pre-chorus is awesome and the chorus isn't bad at all. Chorus tempo has a nice hard hitting ruthem then slips into Syn's craziness. The solo is very rock and roll. This song is straight up about a hooker. 03. Crossroads (4:33): oh boy, do I ever hate this song. it's hard to believe that the same band that recorded STST made this. Evolution, I guess. But the guitar is damn annoying and the lyrics, which have a cliche'd point are poorly written. it's about Christianity vs. The opposite lifestyle pretty much. Some insist this tune is catchy, but I find that it is probably the worst on the album. 04. Flash of the Blade (4:05): this is an Iron Maiden cover. I don't listen to much Maiden, but fans of the band will probably dislike this becuase Shadows voice isn't very good here, at least compared to the original. Fine song I guess. Not my favourite, but some people might dig it and others won't. That probably isn't much help. Deal. 05. Until the End (4:46): another good track, and this album's 'Seize the Day'. There is also a slight Guns n' Roses vibe here, and the opening riff is kind of like Demon Hunter's Fading Away. There are some unexpected chords here which fit well and some decent string sections. I don't like the song's ending however, as I don't think the abrupt dying off suites it. Until the End is about friendship and moving on. Awww. 06. Tension (4:51): this song is what happens when you combine half of the A7X together. The riff, as stated above, is almost all bass and sounds a lot like Scream but with an X-Files effect going on in the backround. There is a very hip-hop ness to this tune, giving it a nu-metal fell sort of. That is until the breakdown and solo which sound like something from Dear God almost, which as one would expect doesn; t fit at all. The ending guitar brings the initial sound back but leaves another dissapoiting ending. The chorus sounds a lot like the ending part of Unbound as well. The lyrics, which are again lacking are about stress. 07. Walk (5:24): this cover of Pantera's classic has been out for some time now. Definatly not at the level of the original, but then again they don't add much at all. It's basically of mirror image of it's predeacsor, but somehow not as good. Still, if you wanna some sweet rythem to jam to this is great and the solo is an excellent shout out to one of the best guitarists there ever was. 08. The Fight (5:54): err! This song does not want you to conform to the status quo! Rebel children! All that aside, this is an interesting piece with some heavy hitting rythem but a forgettable verse. Nonetheless, this is a different sounding track. It probably is remeniscent to some other piece of music out there, but for Avenged it's unique in my opinion. Altogether, it's more hard rock I'd say but it's just... different. Not bad at all. 09. Dancing Dead (5:54): think 'And All Things Will End' but less hardcore. Another track that has some older aspects about it. The chorus style is sounding redundant by this point, and Shadows attempts a variation which he doesn't have the vocal range to support in my opinion. Or maybe he liked it the lackluster way it is. But the bridge and solo are great. There's a heavy breakdown with a nice little shred session and then some hardcore singing which would have been excellent had it been screamed. But they're past that stage... sigh... This is another song with a lame finish. I hate how half of these songs just drift into nothingness. Give them some real endings! Bah. 10. Almost Easy (CLA Mix) (3:57): if you liked the original version of this song, good news! it's been re-released on this CD with almost no differences at all! Really, this is a pretty pointless addition. 11. Afterlife (Alternate Version) (5:58): the only differences here are in the bridge and chorus. There are some minor sting adjustments as well. If you didn't like the original, this isn't really different at all. If you were a fan of the original, you'll like this too. There isn't a lot that's special about this 'remix'.
Production Quality — 10
I'm not so savvy with production, but this isn't bad at all. it's what you'd expect in this day and age, so take that for what it's worth. It sounds like any of their other stuff since being part of a major record label. The b-sides were recorded with the self-titled album so it's the same deal.
Overall Impression — 8
Again, Avenged shuns a single genre classification, though not as much as the self-titled album. Overall, there is a deinant hard rock sound here and it's not bad. The screaming is obviously gone as are the amazing never-ending solos of COE. Avenged is always evolving, and it's to see that while they don't have to always spread themselves over the musical spectrum in a ridiculous manner (A7X album), they can still defy simple classifaction. The most impressive tracks would probably have to be Until the End and Girl I Know. There are some tracks that are nothing special, and others that suck. As these tracks are predominantly b-sides, one might expect them to be lacking compared to A7X (the album) but that is certainly not the case. Some of these tracks could easily have complimented the short ten from said album. Since this is what I'd consider a half-a-cd, I'd say it was pretty good. Not amazing, but not bad either. If you are a fan of the band no matter their genre, then you should pick it up I suppose. If you liked COE you might want to check it out before purchasing it. If you are a fan of the new sutff then you'll probably loves these tracks. And, if you are a more hardcore fan from several years back... sorry, I guess. The 'remixes' are dissatisfying as there isn't anything special about them really, and the covers are almost carbon-copies of the originals, but again, not as good. Combined with the DVD, A7X fans might just want to pick this up, even if you dislike the newer material. I saw Taste of Chaos in Calgary and he screamed a lot of Second Heartbeat, so that part is worth it for sure. A7X is a great live band and this CD is a nice compliment to the DVD. Overall, it was a worthwhile purchase.