Music for Sleepless Nights
To come back with a brand new album so soon after a crucial band member’s death is an amazing feat; debuting at #1 on the Billboard charts seems well nigh impossible. Avenged Sevenfold’s Nightmare accomplished both of these things.
James “The Rev” Sullivan had already helped write some of the songs before his untimely passing in December 2009. His voice can even be heard on “Fiction” and “Save Me.” Despite his persistent presence hanging over it, Nightmare is definitely not Avenged Sevenfold’s strongest album.
It incorporates all the elements you would expect, their Guns N’ Roses-meets-Metallica sound, except it all seems to be smashed together in a non-cohesive way. Songs like “Welcome to the Family” and “Buried Alive” start off heavy and hooky, then about 3 minutes in they turn into something completely different, something moody and slow. “Tonight the World Dies” is one of the best tracks on the album—heavy and epic with lots of bluesy guitar riffs—but only because it doesn’t change halfway through.
Nightmare probably perfectly captures how the band were feeling during its creation, happy on one hand they were able to get together and complete these songs but sad that their comrade wasn’t there with them to enjoy it. However, that doesn’t make for good songwriting, or make up for bad songwriting.