On the 30th of July, I went to the shops to hunt down the new Avenged Sevenfold album. Sanity didn’t have it, but thank goodness for JB HiFi, the stand right at the front of the store that holds new release albums had a whole stack of Nightmare.
Then over the course of the day, driving to and between jobs, I listened to the album. Here is my review from the first note of Nightmare, to the final note of Save Me. NB: I don’t do reviews, this is more a personal commentary on the album.
Nightmare: This song is the single that the band released earlier in the year. I must say it took me a few listens to get into it. In fact the first time I listened to it I thought it was far too complicated a song, too much packed into it. But then I really listened to it and I appreciate it now for the different parts. The concept of the lyrics are dark and the music itself takes the listener on a journey.
Welcome To The Family: All I have to say about this song is that it’s catchy as hell. Again, another one I had to ease into. The track is pop influenced, but is NOT a pop song unless you count the fact that it could fit easily on a popular listing along with something far more pop-based, for example Simple Plan’s Shut Up [but even that is a very weak thing to say.]. The whispering adds an extra dimension and elevates the track.
Dangerline: As with the first two tracks, I had to ease myself into this one. Several listens though served to give me time to pick up the nuances within the vocals particularly. This track is proof that M Shadows can do anything with his voice. It can tell a tale, carry emotions and I admire the band for writing something for the troops [even though their focus was the US troops, it fits for troops from all countries all over the world].
Buried Alive: I’ll start with one major point. THIS song is my favourite on the album. And one line stands out for me: ‘Meanwhile the mice endure the wheel.’ As M Shadows has stated in interviews the song has two choruses and moves seamlessly between the two parts. This was one song that I liked as soon as I first heard it. The breakdown between the first part of the song and last part is almost like a wakeup call.
Natural Born Killer: This is a fast, hard crazy song. The beat is reminiscent of a rapidly beating heart. The lyrics are heartfelt as it has been for the last few tracks. Not a favourite for me.
So Far Away: M Shadows is a great vocalist. He has the ability to sing clearly and convey a sense of emotion. This track was written by Synyster Gates as a tribute to the band’s fallen friend and drummer, The Rev.
God Hates Us: An angry song filled with M Shadows brutal vocals. Screaming in a guttural, visceral manner you can feel the pain and anger bleeding out. Again a track that took me awhile to appreciate. I was honestly scared to even listen to the track, not being a fan of screaming vocals at the best of times, I was ready to cringe. But when I got to listen to it for the first time, I really understood how well it suited the emotions. The beat itself is one which you could imagine bobbing your head to. Crank this one up on your car stereo, wind down the windows. And if you’re angry at the world, lost someone close to you in an untimely fashion…then this is an anthem for you.
Victim: M Shadows voice, gospel voice and church bells? A beautiful melody threading throughout? And heartfelt, heartwrenching lyrics? This track is everything and more.
Everyone can relate to the words he sings: “We’re all just victim of a crime.” Harking back to the passing of their friend…it gives deeper meaning.
Tonight The World Dies: This song honestly gave me a vibe similar to that of a track written by The Eagles. And that band to me is a collection of some of the most amazing singer/songwriters around. [They also have a drummer who can sing…just like The Rev could drum and sing…]. A track about loss, and listened with the passing of The Rev in mind…gut wrenching.
Fiction: Haunting. Written in a minor key the song is almost one of mourning. The mix of M Shadows and The Rev’s vocals is surreal. I had a vision of Shads standing in darkness with The Rev’s voices washing over him from above.
And then after a short vocal interlude Jimmy’s voice kicks in with this line: I hope it’s worth it, here on the highway; I know you’ll find your own way when I’m not with you…
The first time I heard it, it broke something in me and tears started to stream down my face. But after several more listens I noticed that there is a key change, just a slight one from minor to major. Giving almost a sense of hope for better things.
Save Me: First off, I found this a difficult track to get into. It is a long one with many different parts. I have only listened to it once all the way through. However, what M Shadows said in an interview is very true, it is cinematic. One could use it to tell a tale. It’s a journey.
The whole album IS epic. It has some technical flaws, yet one can overlook those.
It takes one through an emotional rollercoaster, it tells a tale and it is a wonderful tribute to The Rev. May he Rock In Peace.
Highlights: Buried Alive, Victim, Fiction