Sound — 10
Nightmare is the fifth studio album by Avenged Sevenfold and the first one released without their drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sulliva, and boy-oh-boy is it a good one...I can honestly say, that it's my favorite Avenged Sevenfold album next to Waking the Fallen... in my opinion, City of Evil was as a whole somewhat annoying/difficult to listen to and their self-titled just wasn't very good in general, but Nightmare just pumped into me that same manic energy I only felt when listening to something off Waking the Fallen... now as for the songs, I'm going to review every one of them and rate them out of 10: 01. Nightmare: the first track and title track of the album, and also the first single. This song starts off with a soft, ominous playing of the song's main riff, it really does a good job setting off the song's sinisterness early on, and then it blasts off into the song's evil-sounding main riff on guitars before going into the song's extremely-thrashy verse riff. After the chorus and another playing of the verse it goes into the solo, a very evil-sounding bunch of harmonies and scales that really go with the mood of the song. Overall the song is pretty catchy and is definitely going to be a crowd favorite. One thing I didn't like about this song was the chorus, it just doesn't seem as powerful as the verse or other parts of the song. But other than that, it's an extremely catchy song and really does a good job of setting off the album. 7/10 02. Welcome to the Family: the second track of the album was definitely one of the Rev's babies, the entire song reeks of his influence and it's without question the most catchy song on the album, it pretty much goes right into the verse then to a bridge that leads to the chorus, the best part of this song. The chorus is unmistakably Rev-style, extremely catchy and very easy to get stuck in your head. The guitar solo is of course, Synyster-style shredding that kind of reminds me of Afterlife from the self-titled. Overall it's definitely one of the most catchy songs from the album, and probably the song most first-time Nightmare listeners will like the most. 8/10 03. Danger Line: when I first heard the beginning I immediately thought of Blinded in Chains, and at first this song definitely reminded me of City of Evil, it's got that sinister kind of verse, powerful chorus that I heard a lot of in CoE, but once the song passes the 2nd chorus it changes and becomes one of those new Nightmare-style songs, getting a progressive/melodic edge before going into an incredibly soulful solo from Syn before fading out in army whistle. Overall, a powerful song that gives the listener a taste of the new side of Avenged Sevenfold to come. 7/10 04. Buried Alive: an extremely powerful song and also the first to bear that new side of Avenged Sevenfold we haven't heard before, it starts with a clean,soft intro before going into a beautiful harmony, which leads into the clean verse. At first it's going all soft, then the song hardens up as Shadows sings, "HEY!" and it goes into the extremely catchy, powerful chorus. The harmony, verse and chorus repeat, and then this song takes a turn in a rather unexpected direction with a blistering solo from Gates that leads into the much-heavier 2nd part of the song. Overall this song bears much of that new side of Avenged Sevenfold that involves much more melody and catchiness, and if you don't like this new side you probably won't like this song, but I find it very good and a nice change to what they've been doing for the past two albums. 9/10 05. Natural-Born Killer: the song starts off sounding very Waking the Fallen-esque, but after a brief drum/guitar fill turns into a very thrashy, catchy verse I find it very hard not to headbang to, and then blasts off into the very melodic and catchy chorus. Then the song goes into a softer bridge/solo thing, which might temporarily fool you until the song blasts back off into an unexpected solo played over the verse, before playing the chorus again. Overall, this song is very, very in-your-face and catchy and a very nice addition to Nightmare's song list. 8/10 06. So Far Away: this song is interesting in that it's the first song completely written by our good friend Synyster Gates, lyrics and everything. And I'd say for a first time he did an amazing job... the song starts off with the soft, heartfelt verse which goes into the equally-emotional chorus. The verse and chorus repeat, then after the 2nd chorus a bridge comes along with a short but sweet guitar solo. The chorus repeats, and then fades out into the total best part of the song. Clean guitar which reminded me a lot of the Nothing Else Matters clean tone from Metallica, which leads into an extremely emotional solo/chorus to the end of the song. This is without doubt one of the best songs on the album, reeking with sadness and emotion, and the ultimate tribute Syn could pay to his lost brother Jimmy. 10/10 07. God Hates Us: if I had to compare this song to another I'd compare it to Vigil by Lamb of God. Just as in that song, don't let the soft intro fool you, because this is without question the heaviest song Avenged Sevenfold has ever done in their whole history. Not just on Nightmare, in their whole band history. If Natural Born Killer was in-your-face, God Hates Us is in-your-face-beaten-on-the-ground. The heavy chorus, the super-headbangable chorus and an insane shredding solo from Gates that puts Afterlife's solo to shame, this whole song is a definite departure from the A7X we're accustomed to and thus one of the best ones on the album. 10/10 08. Victim: another ballad, and my second favorite song on the album, the song is just stuffed with emotion from the start. The intro goes to the soft verse sung magnificently by Shadows, which blasts into the beautiful, catchy chorus. So the verses and chorus of this song are both very good, but where this song shines is the guitar solos. The first one is only a small one, but is made all the more emotional by Shadows singing over it. The second solo... probably the most heartfelt solo Gates has written since Seize the Day, and definitely fits the song like a glove. Overall, the song is extremely emotional and catchy, and one of the best from the album. 10/10 09. Tonight the World Dies: A very, very bluesy song, definitely more so than anything I've ever heard from Avenged Sevenfold, and filled with emotional from Shadows' extremely powerful vocals. Not a particularly heavy song, but made powerful by Shadows' vocals, and the excellent use of blues to make this song the monster that it is, if a little bit ordinary. 7/10 10. Fiction: a very unusual song, the last song the Rev ever wrote, and in a very creepy (coincidence?) the lyrics sound exactly like a final goodbye from someone who knows they're going to die... excellent use of piano, and the combination of The Rev and Shadows' voices give it a beautiful yet somber tone. Overall a very depressing yet very good song, and an honor to put on the album for the Rev. 9/10 11. Save Me: the final song on the album, and in my opinion the best song on the album as well. The bass intro leaves you unsuspecting of the trippy and emotional 11-minute long song to come. The song has a powerful main riff, followed by a guitar solo and a few verses and the first chorus, after the excellent guitar solo in the middle of the song it takes the turn that makes it my favorite song on the album...a clean riff with Shadows' haunting vocals, leading into the chorus once again and then at the end, the chanting of "Tonight we all die young" over and over again, before ending in a similar fashion to how it started. It's almost 11 minutes long, so some may not have the patience to listen to it all the way through, but for those of you who do you're in for an amazing song that just couldn't get any better. 11/10 Overall my favorite A7X album next to Waking the Fallen, I really don't think they could've done any better with this album even if The Rev was still alive.
Lyrics — 9
The Rev's death unquestionably influenced much of the lyrics on this album, and considering how many dark songs there are on the album it suits them well, and Shadows as always amazes me with his amazing range and vocal tone, as well as reintroducing screams on God Hates Us, he just seems to get better and better with every album, no disappointments in this section.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, Avenged Sevenfold definitely outdid themselves with this album. There couldn't be a greater tribute to the Rev, what with songs like So Far Away, Victim, Save Me, and of course Fiction. I don't like to call anything perfect, but I have to honestly say I thought Nightmare was perfect. No annoying, difficult to listen to songs (City of Evil) and no crappy letdowns (Self-titled), just 100 percent awesome Avenged Sevenfold style.