Play it Loud
Upon first listening to Avenged Sevenfoldâ€šÃ„Ã´s latest, self-titled effort itâ€šÃ„Ã´s hard to tell if itâ€šÃ„Ã´s 1988 or 2008. It starts with an organ slowly playing a demonic riff; then a squealing electric guitar and heavy drums kick in and take over. Just when it starts to sound like a Dio album, an assaulting scream and blast beats make it clear this is no mistake; it is indeed an A7X album. This opening track, called â€šÃ„ÃºCritical Acclaim,â€šÃ„Ã¹ careens from this heavy assault into a groovy modern rock riff, then shifts into a rap-inspired rant by vocalist M. Shadows with lyrics like â€šÃ„ÃºSo how does it feel to know that someoneâ€šÃ„Ã´s kid in the heart of America/Has blood on their hands, fighting to defend your rights/So you can maintain a lifestyle that insults his family’s existence?â€šÃ„Ã¹This eclectic musical journey happening all within the first song sets the tone for an ambitious album which boasts such extravagances as string arrangements, guest vocalists, and pianos. Donâ€šÃ„Ã´t be fooled by the bells and whistles. A7X seems to have something to prove in the heaviness department. This isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t surprising, considering M. Shadows didnâ€šÃ„Ã´t scream most of his vocals on City of Evil and after it went gold inevitable cries of â€šÃ„Ãºsell-outâ€šÃ„Ã¹ came from some die-hard fans. This new album heads back to A7Xâ€šÃ„Ã´s heavier metalcore roots with expansive, scale- laden guitar work and heavy drum beats while maintaining the catchy song sensibilities of City of Evil. Songs like â€šÃ„ÃºAfterlifeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºLostâ€šÃ„Ã¹ prove that though A7X likes to experiment, they havenâ€šÃ„Ã´t gone soft and M. Shadows does occasionally scream. â€šÃ„ÃºAlmost Easyâ€šÃ„Ã¹, one of the singles, has modern rock sensibilities, with its catchy refrain â€šÃ„ÃºIâ€šÃ„Ã´m not insane, Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m not insaneâ€šÃ„Ã¹ but is played with distinctively metalcore style. â€šÃ„ÃºUnboundâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is one of the most interesting tracks on the album, with a piano incorporated into the verses along with the fast-paced guitar shredding and beautiful vocals by guest Annmarie Rizzo.
A7X is at its best when playing heavy, progressive, metal music, which Avenged Sevenfold delivers 7 fold.