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    Avenged Sevenfold:

    City of Evil

    Thu, 09 Jun 2005 15:40:15

    Album Reviews: City of Evil by Avenged Sevenfold

    Don't worry, hard rock fans: That blast of fresh air you're feeling isn't your sunroof blowing off, it's the latest release from Avenged Sevenfold. City of Evil is a must-hear rocker -- an inventive and exuberant blend of hard rock power, melodic accessibility, and clever arrangements.

    While its driving, syncopated metal rhythms, Queen-like harmonies, and brief detours into classical orchestration will make comparisons to Extreme inevitable (and we're talking "Get the Funk Out", not "More Than Words" here of course), it would be unfair to throw labels at an album that segues from speed metal fury to nylon acoustic guitar without skipping a beat. Avenged's sound is mostly lead-pipe heavy, except for a few change-of-pace interludes and the mid-tempo, G'n'R-sounding "Seize the Day", a track which could easily find its way to a place on AOR radio.

    Not since the heyday of Faith No More has a metal band projected a sense of "anything might happen next" like Avenged Sevenfold does here. Vocalist M. Shadows even resembles Faith's Mike Patton and his nasal sound during the choruses of "Strength of the World." While the band clearly has prodigious musical ability, there is little that could be called "noodling" for its own sake, and no prolonged solos to distract from the songs themselves, which are consistently entertaining, and (refreshingly) at least as strong on the second half of the album.

    Dry production techniques and the liberal use of instrumental and vocal overdubs make City of Evil sound like the creation of devoted studio rats. So can these guys pull this stuff off live, or will drummer The Rev's legs explode during one of the more intense double-bass drum sections, as it often sounds like they're about to? Save me a seat for that gig. - Chris Allen

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