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Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare

Many bands have lost members to the great Rock Show in The Sky but few have survived long enough to pick up where they once were heading before a tragic loss. Avenged Sevenfold drummer 'The Rev' left this mortal coil just when the band were entering stadium status, so to come back is a triumph in itself but to come back with an album of this strength and depth is some achievement.

As you can imagine, Nightmare is thwart with lyrics of angst, bitterness and hurt and is about as heavy as they dare to go. Title track 'Nightmare' sets the scene with the lyric "You should have known, The price of evil, And it hurts to know that you belong here, yeah it's your fuckin' nightmare"- read into that what you will but the frustration is plain to see.

'Natural Born Killer' stomps along like a battering ram headed for a castle door, starting with a thrash like riff and a double bass beating rhythm it begs to be turned up to eleven just to piss off the neighbors. With drum duties handled by Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy, it by no way replicates The Rev's drumming style but it certainly brings a powerful edge to proceedings. With the album being used to a certain degree to help in the grief process one cannot deny how dark and twistingly beautiful many of the songs are. 'Victim' oozes quality in a slow tempo meandering way until that massive guitar solo blasts you from your eloquent slumber. AX7 have brought with their grief a sense of maturity that the proceeding four albums merely hinted at.

Certainly an album of two halves, with the second half taking a deep moody atmosphere. 'Fiction' with its piano led melody haunts and scares, while relaxing at the same time. Ending with the eleven minute 'Save Me' AX7 has not only made an album of dark, powerful, beautiful, grief laden tunes but quite possibly exorcised a few demons and frustrations that were lurking deep inside the souls of all band members. As a result they have produced what could possibly be 'Album Of The Year'… Jimmy 'The Rev' would be proud of their achievements, and it's now time for Avenged Sevenfold to move on….


Track Listing:-
01. Nightmare
02. Welcome To The Family
03. Danger Line
04. Buried Alive
05. Natural Born Killer
06. So Far Away
07. God Hates Us
08. Victim
09. Tonight The World Dies
10. Fiction
11. Save Me

Added: November 29th 2010
Reviewer: Mark Davies
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1513
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-11-29 17:01:03
My Score:

My Welcome into the Family

Avenged Sevenfold was a band that I wrongfully avoided for such a long time. Their popstar image and emo-kid fanbase wasn't something that I really wanted to be involved in, so I never gave them a fair listen. Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan's death didn't give me any added interest in the band, though I was curious as to who would be filling his shoes. When it was announced that Mike Portnoy would be playing the drums on Nightmare, my interest was officially piqued. Being the huge Dream Theater and Mike Portnoy fanboy that I am, I knew I had to get Nightmare when it came out. After having the album on heavy rotation for a decent chunk of time, it's safe to say that my initial ignorance was a huge mistake. These guys are fantastic! Their mix of traditional heavy metal, thrash metal, progressive hard rock, and some metalcore bursts works perfectly. The songwriting is memorable, the arrangements are perfect, and the musicianship is spot-on. There's really not much more to ask for from a modern metal album. Although there are definitely a few highlights that tend to overshadow some of the more average tracks, the album as a whole is a shining achievement for Avenged Sevenfold. May The Rev rest in peace; he would have been proud of this album.

The decision to include Mike Portnoy as their guest drummer was surely no coincidence on A7X's part - this is a very progressive album. Songs like the 11-minute epic, "Save Me", are almost pure prog metal. There are also some ballads like "So Far Away" and the first half of "Buried Alive". Add in a heavy metalcore tune like "God Hates Us", a heavy rock song like "Welcome to the Family", and a unique opus such as "Fiction", and you have quite a diverse album. The highlight on the album is the title track for me, though "So Far Away" and "Save Me" are quite close. As a whole, the album is amazingly consistent, despite the occasional dull moment. The musicianship is generally one of the best things about the album. Avenged Sevenfold is an extremely talented group, and Mike Portnoy has a plethora of talent on his own. One of the best things about Nightmare are the terrific vocals from M. Shadows. His somewhat strained style is highly distinguishable, not to mention some of the breathtaking vocal melodies that he delivers on the album. The guitar and bass department is terrific as well.

The production is perfectly suited for the music. It's professional and clean, yet still organic.

Conclusion:

I was really taken by surprise with Nightmare. This is one of those cases where my preconceptions about the band were extremely misleading, considering this is one of the best metal albums of 2010. If you are curious what this band is really about, pick this up as soon as possible. I was hugely impressed by Nightmare, and it's hard to imagine a rock or metal fan that doesn't at least moderately enjoy this album. 4 stars are well-deserved. Let's hope these guys keep making great music!

Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-26 17:34:07
My Score:

When tragedy strikes it will either make a band give it up completely or fuel them to create. With the death of their drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan it seems that the band took the later route and decided to make an album that is not only a great tribute to their fallen member but also a disc which shows the maturity of a group that lived through some tough times and came out stronger for it.

Having Mike Portnoy take over the drumming duties in the band is a little like losing Mario Lemieux from your hockey team and replacing him with Wayne Gretzky. Sullivan was a great stick man but there is no doubting the ability of Mr. Portnoy. It certainly fueled the creative juices to have one of the best drummers in the world take over and the results are here for your enjoyment.

Kicking off with the title track "Nightmare" it is readily apparent that this is going to be something a little different from the band. Darker and much heavier than a lot of their previous work AX7 takes the bitterness of their loss and channels it into an extremely tasty bit of metal. I wonder how many places have fallen under the spell of this tune like my workplace. When things are going bad and nothing seems to make it better, you can now be assured that someone will do their karaoke version of M. Shadows and his perfect description of this kind of situation; "It's your fucking nightmare". I am sure that this song is the one that we are all going to get sick of hearing by the end of the year. Enjoy it now while you still can!'

Avenged Sevenfold hasn't reinvented the wheel on this disc but they did supply a bit more traction with an album that from beginning to end is a far superior product to any they have given us before. From massive metal to melodic power ballad, AX7 delivers on every facet of this musical gem. I might lean a bit toward the heavier songs on the disc such as the title track, "Natural Born Killers" and "God Hates Us" overall but it is the melodic moments that make this one stand out. The heavy and totally mesmerizing "Buried Alive" is an example of how they take the melodic approach and turn it into something stunning. It is one of my favorite moments on the disc and the one that is like glue. It has a definite Metallica feel to it and one of the standouts for sure.

The haunting "Victim" with female backing vocals is another stunner in a toned down way, eerie piano greets you on the slightly twisted tune "Fiction" and when you get to the epic "Save Me" you will not be surprised to find progish influences creeping in. The boys draw from a much deeper well this time around and the outcome is a much more appealing album which I find to be one of the best so far this year.



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