Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare

Nightmare

So I’ve been a big fan of Avenged Sevenfold (A7x) for years now.  I’ve enjoyed everything they’ve done from their original scream-o albums to their first step outside those boundaries on City of Evil.  I was highly anticipating the release of their new album Nightmare… but once I got it, I have to say I was surprised.

When I first finally listened to the entire CD, I have to admit I was disappointed.  A7x has never really been known for having a style that they stick to.  Most of their albums consist of hard-and-heavy music to some music that almost sounds like country.  Some songs have oboes and violins while others are nothing but thrashing guitars.  I always enjoyed this about them while I know many critics say that it shows that A7x has no idea what they want to do.  On the contrary, I believe A7x wants to expand their horizons and not be stuck in one specific category.

Anyway, back to the new album.  I got done listening to it and told my friend that it just seemed too… slow.  It didn’t seem heavy enough.  The majority of the songs seemed to be more melody than ass-kicking-ness and originally I didn’t care for it.

I have wanted to see these guys in concert for years and finally got tickets to the Uproar Festival in September so I will be able to see them.  When I finished listening to this newest album for the first time, I actually said, “I hope that they don’t play any of these songs except Nightmare at the concert.”  That’s how bad the initial impression was for me.  I couldn’t quite understand what had happened between the Avenged Sevenfold album and this one.  Then I thought about it a little bit…

At the end of 2009, James Sullivan (AKA “The Rev”) died of an overdose.  Let’s not get into semantics about it being his fault or not.  The fact is, this group of guys lost a brother, a part of their family.  A7x talks about how they contemplated breaking up after this but knew that “The Rev” would not want them to do that so they stuck together.  And that is what caused this album to be what it is.

As I listened through it a second time I realized just how full of emotion it was.  Almost every song seemed to be written for or about “The Rev” both during and after his life.  Nightmare opens up the album the way every album should; with a kick in the nuts.  It’s got awesome lyrics, an awesome guitar riff and solos, and makes for a great music video.  Welcome to the Family is a great song with a great beat and a great message; that we all have pain in our lives and problems but we need to just struggle through and live life to the fullest.

The entire album continues this way, emotion, life and heart poured into every song and every lyric.  Whether you agree with the message (see God Hates Us) or not, you can’t deny that there is more heart poured into this than a Michael Jackson anthology.

It only took the second listening to convince me that this was an amazing album.  It may not have chart-toppers or Grammy award winning songs, but who needs that when you have created a great album to pay tribute to your lost brother?

I will admit that I will miss hearing “The Rev” sing backup vocals while playing a drum like no other, but I cannot wait to see A7x in concert.  And I hope they play this entire album with all the emotion they can muster.

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