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CD Review: Avenged Sevenfold – City of Evil

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First posted on Mark Is Cranky:

Back when I reviewed The Darkness’ Permission To Land, the rock and roll guilt floated heavily in the air. Every bad 70’s rock clich&#233 was trotted out, magnified and strapped onto moldy platform shoes…while I sat there lapping up every fricken’ note.

Avenged Sevenfold reminds me of my Darkness experience, mostly because they pull in several rock sub-genres while avoiding the smell of retread. Well, OK, drop the camp and the platform shoes too.

City of Evil plays around with the punky thrash of Megadeth and early Metallica, the theatricality of Queensryche and even the dual guitars (thank you Tipton and Downing) of Judas Priest. This isn’t to imply that Avenged Sevenfold have nothing of their own to say.

See, the thing that’s most noticeable about truly recycled music is the lack of passion (Kingdom Come, anybody? OK, I admit it…I bought that record too. Now let’s move on…). Not here. The blistering “Bat Country” (dedicated to the late Hunter S. Thompson) is stuffed full of careening drums, chunky guitar riffage, stuttering start & stop passages, full-throated singing (M. Shadows reminds me of a deeper-voiced Gary Cherone), and good ‘ole snarling lead guitar.

Chops display in any form of music can force some bad alchemy onto the artist. “Too much”, whatever that means (and we seem to know it when we hear it) and the band risks being ghettoized as “math rock” (or even “progressive”, but I’m avoiding that here because of the term’s current schizophrenic and overloaded nature). Well, these guys can indeed find their way around their instruments. More important, something interesting and fun comes out. More than any other criterion, its the fun factor that wins me over. I’m tapping’ my toe, bashing the steering wheel and suppressing the urge to play air guitar. Sure, I spend a lot of time gettin’ the “big wow” out of snazzy instrumental interplay and and jagged rhythms, but when a band makes all of that seem effortless, the fun takes over…and i reach for the volume knob.

Longtime fans of bands like to cry “sellout” when their cherished group makes a major label debut. I’ve never really bought into that reaction myself. If this record is a sellout, I’ll be in line to get the next one.

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About Mark Saleski

  • kelli

    i love the group the have inspired me 2 play a guitar and be more musical, the album 2 me is amazing the last album was great 2 but this one is the best it tops my album chart lol

  • http://vitiated-romance.net Jess

    Well First off, Anyone who says M.Shadows cant sing anymore is full of BS. Just because he doesnt scream doesnt mean he doesnt have an awsome voice. He have Surgery on his throat because he Busted a Blood Vessel. And his doctor or what said if he kept screaming like that, he’d lose his voice by 30. and hes 24 now. So umm, No voice at all, or still singing after 30. Lets think here. If you dont like the way m sings or scream or whatever the hell he does, GO OUT AND DO IT YOURSELF.

  • Karl

    I agree with these comments. I’ve seen pages saying that this album is crap and is nothing compared to the earlier Avenged Sevenfold’s albums but this is by far my favorite. The music is simply amazing. It has catchy riffs, great guitar, I love the vocals on it and the drums are amazing.

  • cole prediger

    this album is fucking great! a lot of people i know heard only one song from this album and said thoe whole abum sucked sucked mainly because it has no screaming. personally i think this album is incredible. before this album i wasnt much of an avenged sevenfold fan but when this album came out i decided to give it a chance and now i cant stop listening to it. if people dont like this album because there is no screaming really have to be more open minded.

  • dylan kerhin

    i dont know about all the other a7x fans, but i first got into them when i heard there second album. i bought headbangers ball and unholy confessions was on it. it blew my mind. if anything i loved the guitars the most. syn and zack(but mostly syn) are awesome and when there not doing a dou solo, zacks rhythme complements syns solos beautifully. i loved m. shadows voice, but wasnt a big fan of his screaming, so this new album is a treat for me. ive only heard bat country so far, but expect to buy the album.

  • Wilfredo Rosario

    This band rocks! i am from Puerto Rico, an small island, but watching the fuse chanel about a year ago I heared the song Unholy Confessions. Since, they are my favorite band. People that say negative stuff about this band,they really Know nothing about what is inspiration. Now I am learning to play guitar.

    Thanks! AX7 for all the great music, for me is like a life style, They were good but the new CD is even better.
    My favorite song is Bat Country, I hear it as loud as I can.

    If you love Metal, Rock, Punk, you better support the real good bands as I do.

    Anvenged Sevenfold!
    For ever!

  • Wilfredo

    I just need to say That I LOVE THAT FUCKING BAND!
    THANKS!

    When AX7 are coming to Puerto Rico?
    I need to feel it live!

  • Kyle Wlliams

    I think that Avenged SevenFold is a great band. I love the guitar solo in “Bat Country”. I can wait Till you guys come to louisville, KY and play.

  • stefan

    Man this album is awsome, Mr. shadows is still awsome even though he cant scream, and the guitars are fucking amazing. I just wish they’d come to saskatoon sk.

  • Jackson

    a7x are out of this world..”City of evil” is awesome! Some of the best drum work you’ll ever see..the guitar work is also insane..synester gates solo’s are FUCKING SICK! I still believe ”Waking the fallen” is possibly one of the greatest albums of all time! It’s a MASTER PIECE! Keep up the good work a7x..and hopefully you guys can come to Australia!! a7x for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • josh

    i agree with everyone on here, the album is awesome and waking the fallen is awesome but city of evil is by far the best, but can anyone tell me what kind of guitar synster is using for the solo in the bat country video? im pretty sure its a schecter but idk what kind…….i cant find it anywhere…….

  • jacob

    the guitar he is using in bat country during the solo is a schecter avenger. the reason you cant find it is because they dont make it anymore. i just bought one used yesterday at guitar center i love it so much.

  • http://www.myspace.com/Thats_not_a_Biology_Book Angela

    I think A7X is awesome they totally amaze me. I do like their earlier albums better than city of evil beacuse it does sound differant.
    I still think that M. shadows is doing awesome tho. Zacky is amazing and I LOVE HIM!
    MY fav album is sounding the seventh trumpet.
    It is awesome!
    A7X Is always going to be one of my favorite bands!

  • TheMilkMan

    id rather no screaming at all really. this album is the best one

  • nicole

    i like so agree who cares if he dosent scream anough who cares this alubum so ROCKS OUT LOUD!!!!!!!!and if you dont like it then your just full of B.S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brandi

    A7X new album city of evil is really awesome even though M. Shadows does not scream some people may not like that but who cares. they are my number 1 band.

  • yeah

    there new cd sucks [deleted] all of you

  • Ty

    This album is the BEST!! I Had never heard of Avenged Sevenfold before this CD came out and now they are one of my TOP 5 bands! These guys have the looks (Synister Gates) and the abillity to totally rip out some tunes. The solo’s are amazing and the vocals are awsome. Anyone who says this Album sucks must be out of their minds because IT DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!

  • mandy

    avenged is fuckin dope…….whoever says their new album is shit, doesn’t know the first thing about good music…….!

  • http://aus maso

    thay will change the world one day like thay have changed me thay r the pinikool of exserlents

  • amy

    hello,i´m think that they are so hot and more the one who is exactly like blilly of good charlotte i love him and hello again

  • dore

    cool, new wave of sound, i can’t called it rock, metal industrial, punk, emo or wtf.. i just can call it AWSOME

  • Doug

    I am not a metal fan by any stretch of the imagination. To say so would be insulting to hardcore metal fans. With that out of the way, I have to say that I can not take this CD out of my CD player. I absolutley love it! It is one of my favorite metal albums I have ever heard. In and age where signature guitar is becoming a lost art, Avenged Sevenfold definitely put theirs all over this one. While some cuts are better than others, none dissappoint. My favorite moment is the unexpected acoustic finale to “Sidewinder”. I am looking forward to their live show and will definitely be in line to buy their next CD!

  • Vic

    Well, it seems like everyone just talks about the screaming issue. The so called “screaming” is not what made Waken The Fallen one of the best albums my ears have ever had the pleasure to listen to. Although I love his screaming vocals. I agree that M.Shadows has a spectacular voice when he chooses to use it (listen to I wont see you tonight part 1….. Man that guy can sing). The music in City of Evil is good…. not great. What makes this album difficult to listen to, is the fact that he tweaks his voice to sound bad. There are no more epic songs like Second Heartbeat or Remenissions, instead they choose to write songs that appeal immediately. The problem with those kind of songs (ie. Bat Country, Sidewinder, etc.) is that they get old really quick. There is no depth. There is no lasting appeal. Oh well, this album will appeal to people that have a shallow musical taste or people with short attention spans. Not sure if this made sense, but someone out there might understand.

    PS. A7X are just horrible live now as well. Just saw them recently at Irvine… wow just plain bad. I saw them first time at the Henry Fonda theater when they made the video for Unholy Confessions… that was just amazing. One of the best live performances Ive ever seen.

    All legends must die sometime, A7X just chose to do it after 2 albums.

  • ronnie banks

    i love A7X they are the best. i love matt’s new singing hell, i liked his other voice too it’s different, shit so many other bands do the same thing in heavy metal. i seen them live in louisville the best show i’ve ever been to and i’m not just saying that cause they’re my favorite.

  • me

    Smooth running engine of music
    melodic hardcore and poetic
    Masters of music, kings of guitar
    dark yet uplifting.
    Tremendous variation of metal core,
    Outrageous bursts of hardcore rage,
    Mesmerizing wails

    They say you are becoming sellouts
    For I have heard about your visits on MTV
    And your Warner brothers contract
    And they say you had your first hit “Bat country”
    Yes that is true but don’t be deceived from whom
    your new fans are and your true ones.
    And they say your music isn’t as good.
    It has changed but its still remains original.

    But anyone come and show me a band like this one
    Yet that is incapable.
    They are different from the rest
    With their harmonious tunes,
    careening drums,
    chunky guitar riffage
    stuttering start & stop passages,
    full-throated singing,
    and snarling guitars

    But I was a fan when you began
    Original and marvelous

    ….finish later

  • http://TENNESSEESWEETHART FRANKI

    M.SHADOWS-GET RID OF THE FUCKING GLASSES–,
    YOU HAVE AMAZING EYES SWEETHART!!!

  • Ash

    does anyone know where the guitar solo part comes from? i mean like a part of it sounds like some music from an old Nintendo Entertainment System game, i just dont know what. but this song is great!

  • Ross

    This CD is completely amazing. every song on it is and epic masterpiece and its catchy too. i know everyone in the band is really good, but nobody ever says anything about the rev. he is, in my opinion, the best metal drummer right now. he can play fast, then just start playin jazzy funk beats. i just bought this cd and i cant stop listening to it.

  • shawn holroyd

    its not that they were sellouts it just didnt catch my attention, the cd was horribly put together in my opinion, the transitions were sloppy, m. shadows vocals just sounded scratchy, and the recording just didnt excite me, the only really good thing is that the lead gui8tarist pulled out all the stops with the solos, and the melodies are awsome when they play them but even then when they transition out of them it just sounds like they didnt know what they were doing, i dont blame it on ax7 i blame it on the record company and the producer. its good to see that they put a good solid album together with there new cd, its not amazing but its catchy and sounds better, m shadows vocals sound better. sinister could have played some better solos but it definetly more solid and well rounded then city of evil

  • Chris

    This cd sucked ass. That simple.

  • Katie Sue

    I was really excited about this cd… until I heard it.
    After going through this album once, I wanted to break it in half, stab my ears, and throw the cd into the fiery pit of hell, back to where it came from.