Sound — 7
Avenged Sevenfold's fifth album, Nightmare, is easily the most mature sounding record they have released thus far. It's vocal melodies are what capture it for me. They are easily memorable upon first listening. The guitar melodies are very typical of Avenged Sevenfold but that does not mean they suck. Hell, I even liked that whistle solo on Danger Line. Here is the breakdown of the songs: 01. Nightmare: the albums title track. Similar to their last effort, Avenged Sevenfold, the song starts off with a little bit of a difference to throw you off, I suppose. Critical Acclaim did the same but after 30 seconds or so is where you discover 'Oh, wait. There it is' when the dual guitars enter and it gets faster and heavier. It gets balls. The chorus of this song enticed me the very first time I heard it and now I can't help but sing along. Overall, good choice for an opening track. 02. Welcome to the Family: first of all... Drum solo. Synyster's familiar riffing and slightly out of tune bends sort of remind me of Avenged Sevenfold's earlier songs. This song has a huge groove and I find myself bobbing my head to the beat through no fault of my own. It is just one of those songs. Very catchy melodies with the vocals and the guitars, again. It's kinda hard to tell but it almost sounds like they added the 808 drum sound (just like they did in Scream) to give it a bigger groove feel. Interesting song. 03. Danger Line: I hate to say this but it sounds way too much like Blinded in Chains and I think that's been mentioned before... This song is probably my least favorite on the album but I still like it. Also, 12/8 time signature almost makes it awkward to listen to. 04. Buried Alive: holy shit, Stairway to Heaven anyone? The intro is not very motivated. It sounds way too similar to Stairway to Heaven then when the rest of the band kicks in it sounds like Hotel California. Nothing to impressive in this song to be honest. 05. Natural Born Killer: this song is so ridiculously heavy! I was impressed with the very quick buildup of instruments. The music is very clear in what the musicians were trying to achieve. Everything is there and is beautiful. As far as vocals go, however, again they sound too similar to previous albums and even songs on this album. I still do like this song. 06. So Far Away: here we go, a slightly different vocal part. I was instantly enticed my M. Shadows intro. I almost classified this as country-esque music when I first heard it but I am not really sure how to define this into a genre. It's Avenged Sevenfold. Although this song is rather mellow I find myself moving to the music still. The guitar solo is absolutely beautiful. Synyster Gates once again proves that you don't have to blister up and down the neck to get your message across. The acoustic interlude that leads into the heavy bridge sounds a little familiar but I love how it leads into a heavier chorus to finish out the song. Last note= Ow! 07. God Hates Us: you got me Avenged Sevenfold! I seriously didn't think the song was going to slam into this heavy riff. Shit! And there is screaming too! I never thought they would go back to that. I am actually giddy over the awesomeness of how heavy this is. Reminds me of Sounding the Seventh Trumpet without the punk element. The chorus is almost anthemic. I can see a crowd of people pumping to that PANTERA STYLE. I'm done now 08. Victim: love the ambient effects. That is always an attention grabber for me. Song probably could have done without the female vocal part, however. I don't have much to say about this song. It is what it is. I am somewhat annoyed with the fact that they can't do an entire song as mellow with clean tones. They feel they have to slam the distortion in every song and so it almost feels forced. 09. Tonight the World Dies: 1:42 is when the distortion slams in. I almost thought they were going to do the song without it. This song has some interesting melodies that build tension because of the dissonance and instrumentation. The song still feels a little dry and moves kinda slow. This song, I hate to admit, is filler. Also, it sounds almost like some of Iron Maiden's material off of their last few albums. THAT is a good thing. 10. Fiction: very nice piano intro. It sets up a tone that plays for the rest of the song. This song is rather emotional because it starts with The Rev's vocals sung along with M. Shadows part. It was a nice gesture to keep his vocals in there and believe it or not, it works very well. This song impresses me because it is a different departure of Avenged Sevenfold's sound. It is musically and lyrically beautiful. With the exception of the vocals in the beginning of the interlude. I couldn't even tell what Shadows was saying. My absolute favorite part of this song is that it has a slow dance song vibe. 11. Save Me: distorted bass? There is a little too much going on in this song. Weird effects and ridiculously loud whammy bar effects. I do like the whisper screams that start the actual song at about the 2 minute mark. This song is another different sounding song. I think the idea was to put the good songs at the beginning and ending of the CD. Oh well... This song is pretty straight forward. Once the actual song kicks in there is nothing else really special about it. This will definitely make it onto my car playlist.
Lyrics — 8
I am going to be rather brief with the lyrics, if I may. The lyrics written for this album are rather mature compared to previous efforts. They cover various topics such as love, hate, passing, living, sanity, insanity. To me it seemed like if they wrote about one subject, they wrote about the polar opposite somewhere else on the CD. This gives the album a nice contrast of feelings. It is not all about I HATE THIS or I LOVE YOU. It's a fair combination of everything. Good job Avenged Sevenfold, I shall be quoting your lyrics for time to come.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this album was a hit and miss. Some songs were like 'wow, that's new and exciting' and some just made me think 'sounds too much like (song) or (album)'. My only HUGE complaint is that the songs were in all sorts of time signatures. I am not sure if that is the fault of Mike Portnoy or not but... I mean you have to understand my pointed finger considering Avenged Sevenfold (for the most part) has been a 4/4 band. Just a thought. The lead guitars also sound a bit loud. When Syn rips it up and hits some high note, it physically hurts my ears. Maybe that should have been toned down in post-production. Otherwise, great album. I will definitely give it many more listens.