Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Avenged Sevenfold - "Avenged Sevenfold"

I can't get enough of this album.
Avenged Sevenfold is a band I was familiar with in the vaguest of ways. I had heard Afterlife and seen the music video, just like anyone else who had their televisions set to Fuse. However, that was the only song I'd heard by them, and didn't go out of my way to listen to anything more.
Once again, my mistake.

However, a friend of mine convinced me to go see Avenged Sevenfold with her when they came to our neck of the woods earlier this month. The show was epic. But, it wouldn't have been half as good if my friend hadn't let me borrow all of Avenged Sevenfold's albums beforehand, to let me "catch up" and maybe not feel like such a poser when they finally came on stage x]
From Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (2001) to City of Evil (2005), I got acquainted with all of the band's work. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Avenged Sevenfold's previous works were much more metal, much more hardcore, than their more recent releases; after hearing the melodic, soulful Afterlife, the full-on screaming in the band's previous albums was a surprise. But, what I noticed is that - no matter which style the band sought for -, with each album, I found something different to appreciate about this band.

In the end, though, it was the band's latest, self-titled album, released in 2007, which caught my attention. There were just so many chances taken on this album - the band really took a different spin on their sound with this one. While some old fans may not appreciate Avenged Sevenfold's drift away from their previous metal sound, I find it impossible to imagine how you couldn't appreciate the lengths this band went to in order to create a truly unique album.

This is an album review for Avenged Sevenfold.

Avenged Sevenfold- Avenged Sevenfold (2007)

1. Critical Acclaim - The band makes an impressive enterance with the first track of this album, declaring their new style and their new sound in almost a defiant manner, pairing organ chords with dramatic guitar melodies that send shivers down the spine. The song picks up shortly, with the drum line stealing the show. As a whole, every aspect of this song is overwhelming, and all you can do is sit back ... and enjoy. The band makes many powerful statements with the lyrics in this song; however, you're almost too drawn up in the sheer brilliance of the track to notice the message the band is making.
2. Almost Easy - The group doesn't even pause for a breath before running headlong into track two. With less elements incorporated than the opening song, it's easier to absorb the message behind this track; the lyrical impact. The hook is definitly one which strikes a nerve, as vocalist M. Shadows declares time and again that, "I'm not insane!". The bridge of this song is a standout, incorporating melodic, flowing backing vocals to really wrap up this track.
3. Scream - From the very beginning of this track all the way through, you just feel ... well, a little naughty listening to track three. The band backs down in intensity slightly, but makes up for it in plain and simple sexual tension. Not exactly a standout track, but not one to be ignored, either.
4. Afterlife - The stand-alone single from the album. As many times as I've heard this song, the strings which start the song off never lose effect; their shrieking high notes, followed immediantly by the guitars, still gives me shivers. Simple, melodic vocals are paired with the heavier guitars, bass and drums to give this track a unique style. Plenty of elements were incorporated into this track to make it the success it ultimately was.
5. Gunslinger - Any hardcore A7X fans were probably mortified to hear the acoustic, almost country-western guitar strumming which began this track. However, when the intensity picks back up after the first chorus, fans were allowed a sigh of relief. The styling of this track is a perfect example of the chances the band took on this album; and, to me, it paid off, in a huge way. The emotion in this track is intoxicating; I can't stop listening. The female backing vocals make their first significant appearance during the guitar solo of this song, and the effect is haunting.
6. Unbound (The Wild Ride) - One of two on the album which really just don't do much for me. I do adore the intricate piano melodies and backing vocals during the verses; however, as a whole, this track just doesn't stand out to me. The lyrics are okay, and, while the guitar parts are impressive ... but all in all? Just "alright". I really do love the bridge of this song ... but, honestly, my attention usually doesn't hold long enough to make it to that point in the track.
7. Brompton Cocktail - The second not-so-interesting track. There are parts of this song that I really enjoy; specifically, the string melodies during the verses. However, the vocal performance is only mediocre, and while the instrumentals are impressive at times, as a whole, the song just doesn't keep my attention.
8. Lost - The band takes another huge chance in track eight ... and, thankfully, it pays off. The guitars completely attack this song, starting off with a beautiful solo before taking off when the vocals begin. However, it's not until the chorus that this song really makes you stop and pay attention. The way they have altered the vocals in the studio, giving them an almost techno style, is a far cry from the band's old sound - and yet, it totally works. All the elements of this track, combined, just make it a unique song that I can't stop listening to!
9. A Little Piece of Heaven - My favorite track on the album, by far. A twisted tale of romance gone wrong, the story the lyrics tell are really only half the reason this song is so great. This song wouldn't be near the same without every element the band incorporated; strings, piano, brass; backing vocals, almost sounding like a choir ... it's almost a rock opera, but not quite. Besides these little "extras", the performance by the band is top-notch. Just a perfectly demented, beautifully skitzophrenic track.
10. Dear God - I was surprised when the band chose to end such a dramatic, complex album with an acoustic track. However, in a way, this was the perfect song to wrap things up. With simple, heartfelt lyrics and passionate performance by the whole band, this song is just beautiful. The acoustic, again, is almost country-western in influence, but not enough so to drastically change the sound - and a two-minute guitar solo at the end of the track reminds us that A7X is just as hardcore as ever.

Although the sound on this album may be quite different than anything the band has ever produced before, I think the changes Avenged Sevenfold took on this album are ultimately what made me respect them as a band. As a new fan, I can't justify an argument about how the band has changed thier sound, how they arn't what they once were ...
But, isn't that what being a band is about? Changing, growing, making something new?
I think Avenged Sevenfold has done just that. Please, check out these links and learn more about this unique band.

The band's website can provide you with all you need to know about Avenged Sevenfold, including tour dates; if you're lucky, maybe you can see this band perform live, as I have.

Lyrics to all the songs on this album and A7X's other releases can be found on this website.

I'm going to share with you the music video for A Little Piece of Heaven. I realize the video is as sick as the song ... but at the same time, it's as unique, as creative, as the album in which I've just reviewed. While maybe some of you cannot see what I see in this video, I hope some of you can appreciate the creative measures the band took in both the video and the song.
So, enjoy A Little Piece of Heaven, by Avenged Sevenfold; but, please, don't ignore the disclaimer ;)

Avenged Sevenfold - A Little Piece of Heaven Official Music Video


Savy said...

Whoa. That video/song combo totally scared the crap out of me. Like, whoa.

I totally have to get that video! lol it did scare me but it's still awesome.

Nice review! My reviews are now crying in a corner. They feel inferior (lol)

Great post!