Sound — 10
What a difference a year can do to a band. In 2004 Avenged Sevenfold were a real heavy band and now in 2005 just a year later they have completely changed there image and genre. There sound now is more classic like early Metallica. There sound has been cleaned up. Many people believe this is because of singer Matt Shadows bursting a blood vessel, but it's not (check wikipedia if you don't believe). They are now a more melodic band with dual guitar harmonies being swung in from all angles. Synyster Gates has really progressed in his playing and throws in rather poppy arpeggios in a lot of the songs, these can be quite tricky to play on guitar. Zacky Vengeances rhythm guitar is very consistent all the way through but I would like to see more imagination with his use of chords. The star performer of the band has to be The Rev who once again plays his heart out on each track. He has got to be the best drummer in the world at the moment. And you can finally hear the bass! Awesome stuff.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are still very metal and have plenty of references to the bible, as was found in the last album. Listen to Beast And The Harlot and The Wicked End. Shadows has cleaned up his voice and it appeals more to the masses. He does not scream as much anymore but there are signs of his voice returning in Blinded In Chains and Betrayed. Technically he is a very good singer with an amazing voice and is added in most of the songs by backing vocals from Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is one of the best in a long time. A well known guitar magazine voted this as the 63rd greatest guitar album of all time. The sound is something completely new and is technically impressive. The best songs on the album would have to be Bat Country for the guitar solo mainly and it's infectious chorus. Another song that I would pick out would be Sidewinder. This song starts of quite heavy but progresses into a more flamenco sounding song with a spanish scoustic solo at the end. The ending track M.I.A is another track which I would pick out. The songs that could, no sorry should of been better would be Betrayed and Strength Of The World. Both because of the length of the two, I fell that shaving a couple of minutes of each of the tracks would of kept my interest going. Still it made a very good impression on me and the catchy chorus and infectious guitar solos are now firmly cemented in my head.