Rock Sound’s review of Avenged Sevenfold’s latest album ‘Nightmare’
Stepping away from the mainstream-friendly metal / pop albums of recent years, ‘Nightmare’ is A7X’s heaviest record to date. Crucially the ferocious and aggressive edge that hasn’t been heard since 01’s ‘Sounding The Seventh Trumpet’ shows the Californians can outlast their current poster boy status, as fair-weather fans are unlikely to bestow the same plaudits afforded on 07’s self-titled effort here. Nearly every song deals with themes of loss, and after the death of drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan in December 09, there are plenty of moments where frontman M. Shadows’ lyrics seem to be bidding farewell to this world. Offset against the utter malice prevalent on ‘God Hates Us’, there are more than a few striking resemblances to Metallica, as instrumental moments give way to epic guitar solos (‘So Far Away’, ‘Buried Alive’) – there’s even a ‘Master Of Puppets’ James Hetfield laugh two minutes into the title track! Though The Rev died before recording took place, he demoed the tracks with drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) using them as a template for the album. If there’s criticism, it’s that ‘Nightmare’ still falls back on clichés, building with aggressive force to then rely on a safe melodic chorus. However, there’s enough of a change to see A7X lash out beyond their core sound, making ‘Nightmare’ their greatest achievement to date.