Sound — 10
This album is the culmination of Avenged Sevenfold's sound; it takes a bit from each of their previous records and combines it into one seamless mixture of kick-ass. From the eerie opening of "Nightmare" to the raging "God Hates Us" to the emotional "Fiction", this album leaves little to be desired by the listener. The self-titled track opens up the album, with some driving riffs from Gates and Vengeance, and it will make your hair on your neck stand up. "Welcome to the Family" has a groove that you just can't help but bob your head to. "Danger Line" opens with Portnoy's drumming and a harmonized lead that could only come from the Sevenfold camp. It's reminiscent of "Lost", and my personal favorite part of the song is about halfway through when it cuts to just piano and Matt's vocals, and leads into a heartfelt guitar solo from Gates. "Buried Alive" has a fantastic intro; the finger picked guitar sets the mood for the rest of the song. The last half of the song definitely has a Metallica-influenced sound though. "Natural Born Killer" picks up right where "Buried Alive" ends; with a driving guitar riff. The verse riff will make you bob your head no matter what. "So Far Away" has an ominous sound to it. It's never speeds up or picks up the intensity, but it carries you through without leaving you wanting more. "God Hates Us" opens up quietly, but quickly goes from 0 to 10 and would definitely get a pit going at any metal concert. Shadows employs screaming for the first time since "Waking the Fallen", and it definitely adds to the intensity. "Victim" features a female vocalist, and is another song that carries you through without any really significant changes throughout the song until the guitar solos, which are delivered excellently. "Tonight the World Dies" has a distant Alice in Chains/Stone Temple Pilots feel to it. "Fiction", The Rev's last work, is beautifully done. The piano work is awesome, and The Rev's vocals just add to the intensity. This is definitely the most emotional song on the guitar, and features no guitar or bass. "Save Me" is Avenged Sevenfold's longest song to date and has an epic feel to, which closes out the album nicely, pushing through to the very end.
Lyrics — 10
In lieu of drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan's passing, the lyrics are quite dark, and provide an interesting look into the world of Avenged Sevenfold as they deal with his passing. Matt's vocals have never been better; his singing skills heighten with each record, and his screaming in "God Hates Us" was quite refreshing. The Rev's vocals on "Fiction" are excellent, and leave us with one final memory of his life. When he sings "Let it burn!" the hairs on my neck stand up. The lyrics are superbly done, and Avenged Sevenfold have never released a more personal record.
Overall Impression — 9
Nightmare is an amazing album. It's got ballads, straight-up metal songs, a duet, and much more. My personal favorite songs are "God Hates Us". "Tonight the World Dies", and "Fiction". It will take some listeners a few listens to accept it, but it is, in my opinion, their best work to date.