In case you missed it, Avenged Sevenfold’s eponymously titled fourth album entered the Billboard charts at number four last Halloween. If you’re feeling like you’ve totally missed the boat on this Southern California metal quintet’s rise to stardom, don’t be. Even MTV, always the bastion of new and noteworthy music, declared the band as the Best New Artist in 2006, even though the band had been making records for seven years prior to receiving the award.
But the real reason why you’re probably not familiar with the catalog of Avenged Sevenfold is because they suck and you’ve got better things to do than keep up to speed on a band that still, even after four albums into it, can’t seem to figure out who they really want to be.
What I’ve been able to gather is that AS set out to make a really important record with this record. And, if you don’t already know, to make a really important record you need to throw every fucking thing you can get your hands on into the mix.
I mean everything: Avenged Sevenfold features horns, strings, pianos, female vocals, children’s choirs, and even an unbelievably retarded vocoder on top of their usual array of hyper-kinetic kick drums and dual-guitar fireworks. It all seems like every instrument found in the mix was picked on the same shopping spree as their hair products, clothes, and eyeliner were.
Seriously, in looking at the band’s endless array of press photos I’ve never seen a group of such heavily inked fellows look so perfect in their visual malice.
But even though the members probably grace the wall of more than a few teenage girls’ wall, it doesn’t stop vocalist M Shadows at suggesting that he prefers to force his will on frightened chicks. No shit: On “Scream” he boasts “With your arms by your side there’s no struggling/Pleasure’s all mine this time” while even going to the extent of suggesting that such acts of potential rape are the result of human behavior (“Protest the way we’re built/Don’t point the blame on me”).
This kind of heartless lyricism shouldn’t have surprised me as there is so little heart at all to be found anywhere in the album’s collage of shit. Guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance (I swear I’m not making these names up) tap their frets and choke their whammy bars until the listener is numb from fatigue. Drummer The Reverend (who also contributes to some of the band’s lyrics even when he should hide this fact from all press releases) pounds away with such speed and precision that I don’t believe for a minute that he played any of his parts straight through during the recording.
Even at a meager ten tracks long, Avenged Sevenfold feels like it lasts a lifetime. And even after a few spins, my head was so punch drunk with their ADHD production values that I couldn’t remember a goddamn thing about the album other than the last track (“Dear God”) featured a steel guitar and sounded like the band was considering a future in “nu-country” if this whole “nu-metal” gig doesn’t work out.
Look, I have no problem with bands trying to unleash a masterpiece, but AS seem to associate masterpiece with a bunch of worthless clutter. They would have been better suited to come up with a plan of attack and, here’s an idea, some fucking riffs before flinging out pointless orchestration like a bunch of monkeys flinging their own feces.
YouTube: Avenged Sevenfold – “Almost Easy”