Avenged Sevenfold - City of Evil
Warner Bros. Records
Heavy/Power Metal
11 songs (72:47)
Release year: 2005
Warner Bros. Records
Reviewed by Aaron

Previous to picking up this album on a whim, I had largely avoided Avenged Sevenfold. Their massive base of Hot Topic fans had not helped the matter of most people dismissing them as one of those metalcore bands, but one with attractive guys for band members, thus bringing them an instantaneous audience among girls who had outgrown the Backstreet Boys, but had not quite outgrown the idea of the only good music out there being made by attractive people. This ideal doesn’t look like it’ll be fading anytime soon.

In any event, like I said, I avoided this band like the plague. Numerous raving 5-star/100-out-of-100 reviews of their second album, Waking the Fallen, did not help, especially after I checked out the single and judged it to be lackluster.

That having been said… what in the hell happened?

They went from metalcore to… bona fide heavy/power metal with a big dosage of Guns N’ Roses style sleaze rock tossed in there on top of everything. Gone are the lame screaming vocals, the repetitive breakdowns, the nabbed riffs. In their place, some pretty decent clean singing mixed with occasional attempts to sound lamely ‘tough.’ Not bad, not bad at all.

The production is clear, like glass, but suffers from overloud drums. The guitars should be louder, and the vocals just a bit lower in the mix. The bass drums are given an overtriggered sheen, but it’s alright, same with most modern metal releases anyway. You can’t expect much more than pristine production from a major label and City of Evil delivers that at least.

The songs are generally overlong, but for some reason, this doesn’t bother me much. There are so many great moments to pick out from the CD, like the chorus to Blinded In Chains, or the solo from The Beast and the Harlot, the very beginning of Bat Country (which happens to be a song based on Hunter S. Thompson’s book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) or the bass-heavy bridge in Trashed & Scattered… et cetera, et cetera.

Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Guns N’ Roses, and other such bands provided the base for this CD, and their influence is heard liberally throughout the music. Unfortunately, in songs like Bat Country, despite being one of the better songs on the album… well… it bears quite a strong resemblance to My Chemical Romance, that terrible pop-punk band. It’s the choruses, mainly; they’re the sort of catchy that beats you over the head with a lead pipe until you give in to it and just hum the chorus in your head. Rather irritating.

The biggest problem with this album is how it drags. After Seize the Day, a decent acoustic ballad that boasts yet another excellent chorus, the album starts to drag. Re-used riffs, boring drum patterns, lifeless basswork, repetitive songwriting… (See Strength of the World for a demonstration of this problem) and all the other problems that befall a band that tries to be ambitious before their time. Another huge problem would be the extreme lack of originality present in this album, there really isn't anything done here you haven't heard several times before. The execution does overshadow this fact more often than not, but at times it shows through, and this feels dated and recorded twenty years too late, only made in the light of the current 80's revival.

Luckily, it’s a good enough album before that drag, and accepting the dated factor, and does boast a couple of post-drag songs that are pretty damned good as well.

Do I recommend you pick it up? With reservations only. Try to give it a listen first, to see if you like it.

Killing Songs :
Blinded in Chains, Bat Country, Trashed and Scattered, Seize the Day, The Wicked End, Betrayed
Aaron quoted 70 / 100
Jason quoted 50 / 100
Other albums by Avenged Sevenfold that we have reviewed:
Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare reviewed by Tyler and quoted 90 / 100
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