City Of Evil is Avenged Sevenfold’s third album and their first being signed to Warner Bros. With the success of their 2003 album Waking The Fallen, - a dark and mysterious one at that, thrusting them into the spotlight, you have to wonder why they would want to change a thing. But if fans ran out in anticipation to buy what they thought would turn out to be somewhat of a Waking The Fallen part 2, you would have to think they would be greatly disappointed to learn, that the blistering screams and scratchy production style that hardcore fans came to love is virtually non – existent. Then again that disappointment wouldn’t have lasted long. City Of Evil is an album that A7X simply needed to make. An album that will define how much their music has matured and just why exactly they are one of the best, if not, the best band in the world right now. It is an album that will ensure nobody easily forgets about them, at the same time, it will wash away any doubts you might have had about them.
Hailing from Huntington Beach, California, Avenged Sevenfold has always been greatly influenced by everything from Metallica to Guns N’ Roses, from The Misfits to Mr Bungle. They have become a band that is well known for its versatile playing and style of music. And with this album, they will become one band that can say they have discovered their own style of playing and can hold their own alongside any other band in the world.
With no track on this album lasting less than 5 minutes, and the longest lasting a lengthy near 9 and a half minutes long, there is a certain swagger about the band and music alike. Whether it’s front man M Shadows flexing his vocal chords beyond reason, or the fact that this album contains some of the most exciting and fascinating guitar solos and duels (performed by guitar maestros Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance) you will have ever heard, there is not an ounce of disappointment among the 11 tracks.
The first track Beast and the Harlot sets a precedent for the rest of the album. It has attitude, pulse-pounding rhythm and a chorus that is catchy as hell. More importantly, it’s turned straight up to 11! This continues throughout songs such as Blinded In Chains and the exceptionally harmonizing Bat County – a song based on Hunter S. Thompson’s brilliant novel - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Trashed And Scattered is a song that shows you just why Avenged are as clever as they are creative. A song that will leave you with a foot-print in your ear, you will understand why you would never want to get into a fist fight with any member of the band (as if seeing M Shadows wouldn’t convince you enough.) Musically, this album is as unpredictable as anything, the guys have gone all out with a string orchestra that presents itself on a number of songs, including the wonderfully over the top and pretty much epic Strength Of The World and The Wicked End, both of which are breath taking. The lyrics on the album deal with a lot of different issues. From war and ignorance to end of the world concepts and the tragic and devastating murder of legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott – who greatly influenced lead guitarist Synyster Gates. The song simply titled Betrayed portrays the band’s feelings on Dimebag’s untimely and disgusting death at the hands of the shameful Nathan Gale with the up most emotion. This is very evident both vocally as M Shadows shows off his great vocal range and musically throughout the song, one that is dedicated to one of the greatest musicians of all time.
Seize The Day is a step in a different direction. Following in the footsteps of the great Guns N’ Roses ballads of the 80s, this song is much more smooth and passionate as well as harmonic.
M.I.A. is the final song. It’s a song that is just a astounding as the rest and deals with the turmoil of having friends of the band members fighting in the war. The song starts off slow with soothing vocals and eventually kicks into a thrashy and inventive skyscraper of a song with sweeping guitars and harsh drumming, a great way to end the album.
Through all of this, you will learn that Avenged Sevenfold has mixed their many influences together in an intensely creative way. Any other band and this combination probably wouldn’t work. But this band is different. They have stunning musimanship and a firm grasp on what it takes to make an amazing album. This album will shake things up like no other band has done for a long time. Certain bands and acts that will change the face of music forever and change the world forever. Not only will A7X do this, they will drag the face of music into the future and likely turn the world upside down and steal its lunch money!
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- Amy Parker