Review : AVENGED SEVENFOLD – "Nightmare"

Avenged SevenfoldNightmare
Release Date: 2010Jul27 (US)
Label: Warner Bros.
Rating: 3/5

Well folks, here it is. Likely to be the best-selling metal album of the year, Avenged Sevenfold‘s new record, Nightmare, has dropped. Before even listening to it, my thoughts were already difficult to explain. City of Evil was my first metal album and it was one that I truly adored. I’m not gonna lie that it’s still a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, but once that self-titled album came out, I moved deeper into the vast ocean of metal. Now, three years later, and some incredibly life-changing years they’ve been, I get the opportunity to write to you how I feel about their new LP. Then there’s also the added factor that drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan (R.I.P.) is gone and Mr. Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater has stepped in. That threw quite a curveball at me.

If A7X have one thing going for them, it is that their sound is unmistakably theirs. Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates have arguably as solid chemistry as Dave Murray and Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) or Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy). The first time I heard the single “Nightmare” on the radio, I knew that no one else could possibly be playing that; I can’t say that about many other bands today. But they need to get rid of the cheesiness, because “It’s your fucking nightmare” might be one of the worst lines I have heard all year.

Mike Portnoy’s drumming fits into the bands formula very well. He and The Rev have always had similar styles, and this is especially evident here. However, Portnoy still maintains his instantly recognizable style. “Welcome to the Family” begins with a drum fill much like the one that opens up “Honor Thy Father” from the Dream Theater album “Train of Thought”. I doubt that Portnoy had much influence on the writing process, but he does, albeit to a small extent, breathe new life into the band.

Unfortunately, Avenged Sevenfold have fallen too far into balladry:  four of the eleven tracks, and they are not even very good. “Buried Alive” uses the “Metallica” formula, “So Far Away” sounds like a bad country western song, “Tonight the World Dies” rips on “Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots, and “Fiction” features a vocal technique which, as described by Longo, sounds as though M. Shadows is “chewing his face off.” That vocal style, might I add, is actually the worst singing I have ever heard; only masochists and raging fanboys apply.

Interestingly, A7X appear to be getting both heavier and softer simultaneously. Throughout Nightmare, you’ll find the occasional breakdown, while at the same time other songs sound almost like they could be done by The Fray. Clearly, the band is better at writing heavy stuff. For this reason, they need to just stick with what they know, because nothing tears a band apart more than indecision. Though Nightmare is a step up from their last album and may sell lots of copies, they are ultimately doomed for failure if they do not make up their minds.

FCC: 1, 7
Try: 2, 5, 9, 11

01. Nightmare
02. Welcome to the Family
03. Danger Line
04. Buried Alive
05. Natural Born Killer
06. So Far Away
07. God Hates Us
08. Victim
09. Tonight the World Dies
10. Fiction
11. Save Me

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