Muses by Tom

A7X – Nightmare review

Posted in Music,Reviews by Tom on August 3, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

On July 27, 2010, Avenged Sevenfold released their first album since the recent death of drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan. While the Rev did write a lot of the material for the band’s fifth studio album, entitled Nightmare, his death prevented the album from being completed. In order to get the album finished and released, A7X enlisted the help of Dream Theater drummer, Mike Portnoy. Portnoy will also be filling in on drums for the band’s 2010 tour dates.

Now that we have the background out of the way, let’s get down to business; the album itself. Nightmare wastes no time grabbing the listener’s attention with the title track. The first three tracks on the album are hard hitting, intense, and in your face. The dueling guitars and impeccable drumming, mixed with M.Shadows‘ vocals, leave you hungry for more. While the band has been criticized a lot for the change in vocal style (due to an injury M.Shadows sustained before City of Evil), Shadows has expertly adapted his voice and the band as a whole have done a tremendous job accommodating it without losing their identity.

As the album progesses, the pace is slowed down while A7X introduce their newest ballads and slower-tempo tracks. While the band can write a mean ballad, there seems to be an abundance of them on this record. Tracks like Buried Alive, however, throw listeners off guard with the sudden change in tempo.  While the ballad-like tracks are padded by ass kicking, vintage A7X, I still think the record is a little off balance. The use of keyboards, synths, strings, and choir-like vocals give the album a huge edge and add so much to the music. Tracks like Fiction have a haunting, tastefully melodramatic feel to them and keep the album diverse and focused.

The album’s stand out track has to be God Hates Us. This is the only track on the album to feature M.Shadows really screaming and is reminiscent of Waking The Fallen/Sounding The Seventh Trumpet era A7X. The track is fast and intense, the riffing is heavy, and the drumming is bone rattling. The vocals are fantastic and it is great to hear Shadows back on top of his game. Maybe this will open up more doors for the band again. One can only hope. Other stand out tracks include Welcome to the Family (for its epic solo), Danger Line, Natural Born Killer (featuring drumming that blows every other track out of the water), and Buried Alive.

The new album shows just how talented The Rev was, as the drumming is nothing short of impressive throughout. While no one will ever be able to fill his shoes, Portnoy does deliver a fair performance and represents Sullivan well. The Rev has left his legacy on Nightmare, the last record he wrote and will be heard on, and the rest of the band have shown great resilience and drive. Avenged Sevenfold did an outstanding job on this album and they deserve all the credit they get. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you did not check this album out.


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