Sound — 10
Okay, step one - take a bowl full of Metallica. Step two - add sprinkles of Iron Maiden. Step 3 - chop up AFI and drop the pieces in. Now stir and heat in boiling temperatures for at least 5 minutes. Then remove and allow to cool. Now look at what you have - Avenged Sevenfold. This album is, to put it bluntly, nothing short of a metallic masterpiece. You have the image and hardcore elements of AFI, mixed with the killer vocals and solos of Metallica et al. In Synyster Gates, A7X has a much more than competent guitarist, and M Shadows has a voice that could turn a corpse. The screams mixed with the singing is nothing new, and neither is the overall sound really. But it's so damn good that it blows away anything and anything that sounds remotely like it. It's an epic album, a real mix of fast and slow, punishing and beautiful and pain and pleasure. Truly outstanding.
Lyrics — 10
A lot of the lyrics are hard to make out on first hearing, but are all pretty good. One look at the cover art and you know what kind of album this is. Bordering on gothic, the lyrics refer to death and killing, and, well, just general unhappiness really. But it works. It's a kind of AFI-type style, and is done brilliantly here. The singing is also great - both the energetic and mellow parts are good, and they blend together seamlessly.
Overall Impression — 10
It's a brilliant album. It only represents the darker side of what I generally listen to, but it truly is a modern classic. It mixes metal and hardcore in a very accessible and understandable way, and deserves all the praise I've heard it receiving. I would definitely buy it again if it went missing, this is an album I need. Every second of every track is worth listening to, and from start to finish you won't be disappointed. For fans of metal and hardcore, and possibly everyone else. Standout tracks for me are "Second Heartbeat", "I Won't See You Tonight Part I", "Chapter Four" and "Eternal Rest", in which the guitars are really let loose. Amazing.