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Avenged Sevenfold - "Avenged Sevenfold" (CD)

Avenged Sevenfold - "Avenged Sevenfold" CD cover image

"Avenged Sevenfold" track listing:

1. Critical Acclaim
2. Almost Easy
3. Scream
4. Afterlife
5. Gunslinger
6. Unbound (The Wild Ride)
7. Brompton Cocktail
8. Lost
9. A Little Piece Of Heaven
10. Dear God

Reviewed by on February 16, 2009

"Lead singer M. Shadows' voice is as strong as ever, but if you're partial to his previous screaming ability, you may not be impressed with this album."

Avenged Sevenfold's self-titled album, their fourth release in six years, vaulted them to even bigger fame in 2007, as they experimented with matured music. Leaning more toward Guns N' Roses than the metalcore turned metal sound from their first three albums, many fans may have fallen off the bandwagon. But Avenged Sevenfold never wanted to make music that sounded similar to their previous albums, and they've accomplished that with each release. "Avenged Sevenfold" delivers a markedly different feel than the epic, "City of Evil," released in 2005.

Lead singer M. Shadows' voice is as strong as ever, but if you're partial to his previous screaming ability, you may not be impressed with this album. Their latest effort is decidedly less heavy than the rest of Avenged Sevenfold's resume, but if you listen openly, you will notice an acquired clarity in the dueling guitars played by Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance. The Rev continues to show off his talent on the drums, bringing high energy to each song.

The opening song, "Critical Acclaim," hits hard and heavy, with obvious political statements, and is reminiscent of "City of Evil." Their first single off the album, "Almost Easy," seems like cookie-cutter metal, generic and mundane. However, they follow it up with "Scream," a highly sexual song, with a booming bass line laid down by Johnny Christ, that will make your chest pulse.

"Afterlife" discusses deeper notions of life after death, and definitely delivers. Opening with an orchestral intro that leads to harmonizing guitars and a well-composed overall song, "Afterlife" is one of the best offerings on the album, although it is a much cleaner and less edgy effort than previous Avenged Sevenfold music. This song shows a heavy influence from both "Use Your Illusions" albums released by Guns N' Roses in the 1980s.

The album becomes a bit ordinary until the second to last song, "A Little Piece of Heaven," which is much less uplifting than it sounds. A dirty, disgusting song full of sin, sex, and a Tim Burton-influenced orchestra, the larger-than-life creation weaves through eerie strings and demonic-sounding chants to generate a creepy tale and a definite highlight of the album.

Though Avenged Sevenfold stepped out of the box with their self-titled effort, it's a solid choice. You might miss the screaming, and you might think the music is light metal bordering mainstream, but M. Shadows' voice still resonates powerfully and their guitar harmony is impressive. "Avenged Sevenfold" may not match up to "Waking the Fallen," but the band never planned to stay stationary.

Highs: Sounds remarkably different from all previous albums.

Lows: Not as heavy or original as "Waking the Fallen" or "City of Evil."

Bottom line: A good album for diehard Avenged Sevenfold fans or people new to the light metal bandwagon. Otherwise, don't bother.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)