Sunday, August 1, 2010
At long last, Avenged Sevenfold have released Nightmare, the band's fifth studio album and perhaps the most interesting to me thus far, for a number of reasons.
Of course, any decent review of the album has to begin by acknowledging the untimely death of Jimmy Sullivan (AKA The Rev), Avenged's drummer, due to a drug overdose back in December. Most of the songs that appear on the album had already been composed, but the drum parts had yet to be tracked. Luckily for metal fans, the band reached out to The Rev's drum idol, Dream Theater percussionist Mike Portnoy, and asked him to fill in for Jimmy. Portnoy agreed, and ended up turning in a not-unexpected superb performance.
Nightmare is, in my opinion, Avenged's most musically diverse album to date. It opens with the current radio hit "Nightmare," a catchy and groove-heavy song that kicks the listener right in the face to jumpstart the album and set the tone for what's to come. Here's the video:
"Welcome to the Family" has a sound reminiscent of the self-titled album, with soaring choruses and an angry, whispered bridge section.
"Buried Alive" is my personal favorite from the album, with a very Metallica-sounding progression from a bluesy intro into a progressively heavier and heavier sonic assault.
The raging "God Hates Us" should placate fans of the band's early stuff, with intense screams and a relentless rhythm coupled with downright filthy breakdowns. Sure to be a crowd-pleaser live.
Another highlight for me was "Fiction," said to be the last song The Rev wrote before he died, and is the only song on the album to feature his vocals. The lyrics are dark and foreboding, and it gives the listener a bit of perspective on The Rev's state of mind in his last days, which, combined with the haunting piano backdrop makes for a very eerie listen.
That being said, the album has a few too many ballad-y songs for my taste. "So Far Away," "Tonight The World Dies," "Victim," and "Save Me" are all solidly in the soft rock or modern rock category, and while the lyrics reflect the band's dark state of mind in the wake of the loss of their bandmate, there's not much more to them. As much as I hate to classify them as filler material, that's what my gut has me saying.
This album doesn't take many chances, doesn't particularly innovate in any real way, and trods on a lot of familiar territory for this band. However, it's still an enjoyable listen, and a fitting tribute to the loss of Jimmy Sullivan. Even a good, not great album by Avenged Sevenfold is leaps and bounds ahead of most releases this summer. Worth picking up, but I recommend the digital download on Amazon for only 10 bucks.
My overall, extremely scientific rating? 7.67/10
If anyone has the album and wants to tell me I'm full of shit, please feel free to do so in the comments!
Posted by Alex Larsen at 3:53 PM