Avenged Sevenfold Ė Nightmare
Record Label: Warner Bros
Release Date: July 27th 2010
Itís about time that I actively listen to hard rock/alternative metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Theyíre one of the most popular bands in the genre, so why havenít I listened to them a lot sooner? Thatís a good question, and itís something Iíve never really thought about before, so letís examine that before I talk about Avenged Sevenfoldís Nightmare, shall we? Well, as huge music fan (music nerd, perhaps?), thereís a lot out there for me to really get into. I do listen to a variety of music, so Iím never running of things to listen to, but why is it that bands like this, who are so popular and either loved or hated, escape my radar, so to speak? Itís mainly just that I havenít had the time to listen to a lot of stuff, because new things come out constantly. Thatís mainly the problem, but of course, the secondary problem is merely just that they were never a band that I was way too interested in. I may listen to a lot of music, but hard rock was never a genre I really liked. Alternative, pop-rock, and pop-punk where what I mainly enjoyed. Thanks to some friends getting me into their favorite bands in the genre, Iím much more open to checking bands like these out. And since Avenged Sevenfold have a new record coming out in September, entitled Hail to the King, and I also saw a copy of fifth record Nightmare on sale at Best Buy for $5.99, and since it was for a rather cheap price, I couldnít complain. As someone whoís never listened to this band before, I wasnít quite sure what to expect, other than hard rock and alternative metal. I did some research on the record to really see where the band was when they wrote it, and I was disheartened to find that this was the record made after drummer James ďThe RevĒ Sullivan passed away. Essentially, this is a concept record thatís all about him, which I actually donít mind, because itís quite an interesting album. A bit long, at more than an hour, but it takes a lot of twists and turns. I wasnít surprised, though, that the record was quite dark, in terms of both the overall sound and the lyrics. Iíve never been interested in this band much, and I may not be hugely into hard rock, but this was a great record. I donít really know how the rest of their records stand, since this is the only one Iíve heard, but thatís a good perspective to have, because Iím going into this not knowing anything else about them.
The record begins with the title track, actually, and itís a monster of a track, clocking in at a bit over six minutes long. Every track on this record is actually over four minutes long, only two songs being under five. Itís not a bad thing at all, because the songs really do hold up, for the most part. The title track isnít the longest track, but one of the longest. It starts off quite slowly, with a rather ominous and daunting piano riff, then around a minute in, lead vocalist M. Shadows appears along with lead guitarist Synyster Gates and rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance chugging along. Honestly, I donít really care for Shadowsí voice much. No, itís not awful, but itís not the best I personally have ever heard. He just sounds like a lot of hard rock/alternative metal frontmen. He definitely has range and can sing, but his voice does get rather grating after awhile, just because he doesnít really do too much with his voice. He also doesnít really stand out to me. What I do like most about this record, though, is the instrumentation. Thereís a really cool guitar solo in the middle of the title track, and thankfully, these show up a lot. I like them a lot, because the whole band is clearly talented, even if I donít care for Shadowsí vocals too much. Lyrically, itís also quite dark, and itís obvious from the album title and the song titles. Itís not a bad thing at all, because I donít mind things that are dark and twisted, but sometimes, the lyrics do come across as rather clichť. I donít mean to heartless, because the record is dedicated to the Rev, but for what it is, itís enjoyable a lot of the time, but Iím not totally blown away, either. I feel the same about the whole band, and maybe itís just that I need to listen to more of their records to really get a feel for them, and maybe I will, but this record is all I have so far.
The title track is a really good way to start off the record, because it does ultimately give a feel for it. Itís pretty good hard-rock/alternative metal, and thatís the rest of the record, really. Thereís definitely enough to keep it interesting, even if itís not something Iím totally in love with. And of course, there are going to be moments throughout the record that do switch things up. One example is in third track ďDanger Line.Ē The song is a radio rock/metal track, but suddenly, the song slows down with a trumpet making an appearance and suddenly becoming a hard rock ballad. The tempo changes very quickly, but itís not a bad change. Itís kind of odd, but enjoyable. Following track ďBuried AliveĒ also has a rather odd sound to it, because itís more of a straightforward rock song. Itís a lot quieter, and itís actually one of my favorite songs, because this is a song that shows off M. Shadowsí voice more. As the record goes on, though, I still do feel like Iím not really blown away. The musicianship is easily the best part of the record, and that does shine a lot, on basically every song. Thatís something I really canít complain about, because they do deliver. There are songs that sound more rock-oriented, and others definitely have a more metal sound, such as the first couple tracks. Some songs even combine the two sounds, like fourth track ďNatural Born Killer.Ē That song is really interesting, because the verses have a rather metal sound while the chorus is a rather generic radio hard rock chorus. Itís good, but doesnít do much for me, personally. There are plenty of other highlights, though, especially within the second half of the record, such as fifth track ďSo Far Away,Ē sixth track ďGod Hates Us,Ē and closing track ďSave Me.Ē ďSo Far AwayĒ is a slower track, and itís still a dark song, but also relatable. I still donít really like Shadowsí very much, but itís still good, and he shows it off nicely here. ďGod Hates UsĒ is a much heavier track, which is rather odd, but it actually features what Iím pretty sure is a breakdown. Itís odd, but still really cool. ďSave MeĒ is the last track of the record, and itís actually the most interesting, because itís the longest as well. It goes into a lot of interesting directions. The song actually starts off as an instrumental for the first couple minutes, and it essentially ends the same way the record started. But then it suddenly becomes a crazy instrumental again around the halfway point, and itís frankly the most impressive song on the record. Itís absolutely fantastic, and this is the one that does kinda blow my mind. It goes into a lot of directions throughout the entire song, and it actually stays interesting. Itís eleven minutes long, so it is hard to keep the song interesting for that long, but it works.
This is a band that people either seem to love or hate. Personally, I was always in the neutral side, because I never really listened to them before, but honestly, I like what I hear. As I mentioned, Iím not in love with this record, but itís great. Almost every song is enjoyable, and keeps the listener on their toes, but a few things, like M. Shadowsí voice and his lyrics just donít really do much for me. While the instrumentation is impressive, it does get a bit dragged out after awhile as well. I wouldíve liked to hear some slower songs, instead of the two that we got, especially for being an hour long record, but thatís a nitpick. I do respect that this record was made for the Rev, which is a very nice thing to do for him, since he did play a lot on the record. Do I regret buying this record? Of course not, because while I didnít really love it, I still enjoyed it. And Iím very interested in picking up Hail to the King when it comes out.
I seem to stand alone, thinking that the Self Titled is their best album. Good review, and you should totally review their Self Titled!
I'd consider it their worst album personally. Some of the songs are quite good but it's so all over the place and experimental that it's not a very cohesive album.
I've been really digging Hail to the King personally, already listened to it 5 or 6 times and just can't put it down. The songs seem a lot more individually memorable to me than on Nightmare too where I felt there was a decent amount of filler. Favourite album is still Waking the Fallen though.