AVENGED SEVENFOLD — City of Evil

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AVENGED SEVENFOLD - City of Evil cover
3.63 | 28 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2005

Tracklist

1. Beast and the Harlot (5:40)
2. Burn It Down (4:58)
3. Blinded in Chains (6:34)
4. Bat Country (5:13)
5. Trashed and Scattered (5:53)
6. Seize the Day (5:32)
7. Sidewinder (7:01)
8. The Wicked End (7:10)
9. Strength of the World (9:14)
10. Betrayed (6:47)
11. M.I.A. (8:46)

Total Time: 72:53

Line-up/Musicians

- M. Shadows / lead vocals
- Synyster Gates / lead guitar, backing vocals
- Zacky Vengeance / rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Johnny Christ / bass, backing vocals
- The Rev / drums, backing vocals

Additional musicians:
- Brian Haner Sr., Suzy Haner, Valary DiBenedetto and Michelle DiBenedetto on "M.I.A"
- Brian Haner Sr. on "Sidewinder"
- Justin Meacham / Additional piano on "Sidewinder"
- Scott Gilman / Producer, orchestrations, string conductor, additional keyboards and percussion

About this release

Released: June 7th, 2005
Recorded: April 2005
Label: Warner Bros.
Producer: Avenged Sevenfold, Andrew Murdock

Thanks to UMUR, adg211288 for the updates

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AVENGED SEVENFOLD CITY OF EVIL reviews

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Necrotica
Avenged Sevenfold are perhaps the band that I have the most "love-hate" relationship with when it comes to metal music. They have great records (Waking the Fallen, this album); they have absolute trash (self-titled, Hail to the King). Many of the band members are very skillful at their instruments, and yet they frequently choose to waste their talents on lazy songwriting and recycling musical themes from past greats like Metallica and Iron Maiden. Even vocalist M. Shadows is in the same position; sometimes his vocal performances are solid and varied, and at other times they're absolutely grating or completely boring. However, many people will say that the band's better work lies in their early releases, namely their first three. Aside from Nightmare, which was pretty solid (if inconsistent) in its own right, I can get behind that. Where does City of Evil fit into all of this?

Well, it's pretty much in the bittersweet zone between the lengthy harmony-driven metal tunes of Waking the Fallen and the uninspired and boring moments of the self-titled record. You could view it as a transitional record in that right, but admittedly that would be selling it short at the same time. Essentially, the album's quality heavily depends on which side of it is being heard. Tracks 1-6 are on the more conventional side, whereas tracks 7-11 give off a more ambitious and "epic" character. The latter is definitely the strongest of the two, clearly more inspired by classic bands like Iron Maiden and even putting some progressive metal touches here and there, most obviously displayed by the longer length of these tracks. Highlight "The Wicked End" even manages to throw in a choir around its halfway mark, leading to one of the most emotionally resonant climaxes of the band's career. "Sidewinder" experiments with classical guitar soloing courtesy of guitarist Synyster Gates' father, while "Strength of the World" uses an acoustic intro and outro that utilizes an orchestra and prominent crescendos in drummer The Rev's percussion work to create something more dynamically varied. Even while the songs have a tendency to drag due to their length and occasional lack of ideas (ESPECIALLY with "Betrayed"), the attempts to keep things fresh and varied are welcomed, particularly for a group who are generally known for their derivative nature.

The first half is definitely a more mixed bag compared to the second half, focusing more on shorter and catchier tunes. There's one particular problem with these songs that needs to be addressed now: M. Shadows needs to shut his mouth and let the musicians shine a bit. I'm not kidding; he overdubs over himself almost constantly, drowning out the exceptionally solid and enjoyable instrumental work. While it's more understandable with the album's sole ballad "Seize the Day," it would have been nice for the metal songs to focus more on the instrumentation itself. The reason this wasn't brought up with the second half of the album is because it isn't as frequent of a problem there. It would also be less of a problem if M. Shadows' vocals were better, but this happens to be his worst performance in Avenged Sevenfold's discography. He basically has two vocal settings here: nasally whining (see: the chorus of "Strength of the World") and constipated high shouting (see: many songs, but particularly the climax of "The Wicked End). It probably seems ridiculous to single out this aspect of the album so much, but it really gets distracting. However, if you can get past that, there's still plenty to enjoy from a songwriting standpoint. "Beast and the Harlot" is a strong opener with a neat guitar solo in the middle that emphasizes harmonized chromatic runs effectively, while "Bat Country" and "Burn It Down" are faster cuts that display the band's technical skills and particularly The Rev's flashy drum work. For that matter, the entire band upped their game from a technical standpoint from the previous album Waking the Fallen. Whereas that album was more cohesive and consistent, City of Evil is more technically accomplished and varied.

City of Evil is not the best Avenged Sevenfold album, but it's certainly among their best. While a bit overlong and placing too much emphasis on vocals, it's still very solid if you go in with the right mindset. If you can't get past the annoying vocal work, this probably won't do much for you; however, if you can, there's plenty of great musicianship and ambitious (particularly in the second half) songwriting to enjoy.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)
arcane-beautiful
This album was released around the same time I had gotten into this band.

I seen the video for Bat County, and I was impressed (although they did look a little odd). Then more videos came out (one in particular that made me laugh).

This was my second buy from them, because I wasn’t too impressed from the singles, but I still liked them. And yes, the album versions of the songs are amazing and way better, and in my opinion shouldn’t have been edited.

I do think Avenged do excel at longer songs, but on this album, they did seem at times a wee bit forced, just to be a wee bit too long.

1. Beast & The Harlot - Amazing intro. It’s a bit like if the book Of Revelations had a pop vibe about it (lyrically I mean, dealing with references to Babylon and beasts). Overall, a classic composition. 10/10

2. Burn It Down - Great chorus. Love the vocal harmonies throughout and the odd key changes. 10/10

3. Blinded In Chains - Why do all these songs begin with B (well the first few do). Obvious Metallica influence. Some pretty kick ass moments. 8/10

4. Bat Country - Love the odd key changes. Great progression throughout. Synyster’s best solo in my opinion. 10/10

5. Trashed & Scattered - Quite frantic. But in a good way. Some amazing changes and odd vocals. 10/10

6. Seize The Day - Way too cheesy (and the video is hilarious, because it seems too forced to be serious). It is really well written though. 9/10

7. Sidewinder - Steely Dan metal? Best song on the album. Phenomenal instrumental and vocal work. 10/10

8. The Wicked End - Love the chorus. Pretty good, and some quite anti theist lyrics. Beautiful middle section. Very epic. 9/10

9. Strength Of The World - Intro sounds like something from a Quentin Tarentino movie. Very nice though. Very well arranged. But to too long to be honest, but still pretty impressive. 9/10

10. Betrayed - Whenever tribute songs come out, they are always very cheesy and too farfetched. But when it comes to the murder of a well respected person, and it’s from the killers perspective, but it’s a still a tribute, then that is an achievement well earned. Really well done, with a good song behind it. 9/10

11. M.I.A. - Good chorus, but a bit too cheesy for my liking. I really don’t like the lyrics. 8/10

CONCLUSION: This album is a perfect example of a band finding and progressing their sound. I think it’s perfected in the next album, but this album does show a lot of potential.

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