Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

Warner Brothers, 2007




For years, Avenged Sevenfold has been near the peak of popular music among teenage audiences, fitting into an awkward genre between hard rock and ‘80s metal.  They never really piqued my interest aside from a few decent songs, despite my brother being an avid fan of the group.  Having given their latest release a listen, I’ve come to realize that I was half right about them.  I can definitely see their appeal, as they’re a talented group of musicians who write some fun music, but then there are other aspects that really throw me off.

I honestly believe that if the band had a more fitting vocalist, I would proclaim myself a fan.  To be blunt, I find the vocals to be incredibly annoying and completely unfitting to the music, and they almost ruin the album for me.  Vocalist M. Shadows is clearly more suited for screaming and harsher vocals, judging from the band’s first two albums, but in this release as well as on their previous, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 City Of Evil, he’s stuck strictly to clean vocals, which I believe was a huge mistake.  His voice is incredibly raspy and whiny, and he constantly sounds like he’s straining himself to hit those higher notes. This, combined with the heavy and melodic sounds of the guitar, just doesn’t work. 

On the other hand, the rest of the band’s technical skill is pretty admirable. The group features a talented pair of guitarists and an admirable drummer who gives give the band a heavy ‘80s metal sound that is consistent throughout the whole album.  The only real gripe I have with them is that much like the vocals, some of the guitar work clashes violently with the rest of the music.  While the lyrics are all about this Gothic/romantic image that the band plays on, the guitar is often overly campy and upbeat, completely throwing off whatever emotions the lyrics were going for.  This is particularly obvious in the track “Lost;” the lyrics are all about war and hatred in society, while the guitar happily chugs along in a way more reminiscent of a victory ballad or a joyous reunion of some sort.  This song has become a shining example of what I dislike about the band: incredibly jarring vocals, cheesy lyrics, and a lack of identity or guidance in the music.

Despite all these negative aspects, this disc still has some good things to offer.  The songs “Critical Acclaim,” “Scream,” and “A Little Piece of Heaven” are particularly good and show off the positive aspects of the band, with great guitar and drum work, lyrics that actually match the feel of the music, and a few decent vocal performances. 

I still haven’t fully figured out who this band is supposed to appeal to, since I see fans of all ages and musical tastes raving about them.  If you’re already a fan, my ramblings aren’t going to change your opinion.  But if you’re curious and wanting to give Avenged Sevenfold a try, do so with caution. You may end up with a sour taste in your mouth, as I did.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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