Avenged Sevenfold -- Nightmare
Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare
Let me begin by saying that this might have been my most anticipated release of 2010. The only thing that might have been able to top it for most desired release of the year was if Seether were to get their album finished this year.
This album has been slowly leaked over the past week until someone leaked the whole thing yesterday. Naturally I had already preordered a cd version, but Didn’t turn down the leaked copy, to get to hear the whole thing.
The whole record is very good, well executed and produced well. At least so it seems. I am hoping a few of the sound issues I’m hearing are just bad versions for example Buried alive.
Nightmare is in many ways very experimental, even more so than their self titled. This band seems to be able to constantly reinvent themselves on each release, yet have that sound that makes them unmistakable. The guitar tone and Shadows voice as well as sinister gates signature style of guitar solos, stand out as defining their sound. These factors are present on all the records since waking the fallen. However each record has had its own unique sound. I like each of their records for different reasons. I like the rawness of waking the fallen to the experimentation of their self-titled. This one in many ways picks up where the self titled record left off, yet having moments that look back to city of evil, as well as exploring many new directions.
The album opens with Nightmare. The song begins with a bells and a strings intro which sounds sweet, yet dark. It goes into a guitar intro that in some ways reminds me of the way Critical acclaim be opens up the self titled. I have to tip my hat to Mike portnoy’s drumming in this song and throughout the album. He is incredibly talented, makes me want to listen to his work with dream theater. He stayed very true to the Rev’s style of playing and if I didn’t know it wasn’t the Rev I wouldn’t have been able to tell. The song continues to remind me of critical acclaim or other anthems that would be awesome live. However the chorus is more melodic than critical acclaim. The song has piano in the background, which adds to the overall feel. After the second chorus, the song goes back to the opening riff section, before going into a guitar solo, which is one of the mid tempo varieties, mixing speed and melody. The song then goes into a chugging bridge like section, which showcases shadows chanting and the rhythmic guitar part. I believe that’s a d they hit, Which avenged is fond of playing rhythms on that one note. Its not really a breakdown, but its that part that might have been a breakdown if avenged still played metalcore. The song then goes into another section, that is more singing, which then leads back into a final run-through of the chorus. Its one of my favorite tracks on the record. It manages to sound like a bunch of avenged songs, yet unique, almost darker than other songs of the past. It sets the darker tone of the over all record, telling the story of some sort of criminal that ends up in hell punished for his crimes.
Welcome to the family’s opening riff reminds me in some ways of the riff in the verse of afterlife, with its unique rhythm. Overall a mid tempo avenged song, that could have found a home on the self titled record. It manages to get into your head. The chorus has a counter melody on guitar, which is common in many Avenged chorus’s. The song then goes into something I would almost call a breakdown, before going into a guitar solo which has Gates shredding just a little. It then goes into a melodic bridge section which reminds me of sections of songs on city of evil, like blinded in chains, before segwaying back into the chorus, before going back into that breakdown ish section once again.
Danger line begins with a very staccato guitar rhythm, reminiscent of the intros of burn it down or blinded in chains, yet the rhythm backed by a snare drum remind me of a military march, which fits with the theme of the song. The song then goes into a almost punk feeling drumming, again continuing with the feel of burn it down or blinded in chains. It’s a very cool intro. It continues, sounding very much like it could have been on city of evil, which I don’t think is a bad thing. The chorus reminds me of the punk feel of Lost off the self titled record. It seems to be about the military, or dying for your country. The song goes then into a more melodic piano break, where shadows voice sounds as it did on some of the clean sections of waking the fallen, or the intro to M.I.A. off city of Evil. This section then continues with again the military sounding drums with a trumpet in the background, where shadows has some very pretty harmonizing vocals with himself. It then goes into a very melodic guitar solo. One that reminds me of that in seize the day, or other such solos. Solos that remind me that Gates is heavily influenced by Slash. The song fades out with piano and drum and someone whistling the melody.
Buried alive opens with a clean guitar riff, perhaps a little like M.I.A. or All things will end, backed by strings. Very pretty and almost haunting. Which becomes very haunting as it goes into the twin harmonizing guitars playing the melody. Here is where I hope that its just a bad version for the sound sounds fuzzy on the copy I have. Shadows vocals remind me of I won’t see you tonight part I. To some extent, or maybe Clairvoyant disease. Tit then goes into a distorted guitar driven chorus, almost like I won’t see you part I. Would do, even if the songs don’t really sound a like its just the best comparison I can find. Shadows vocals on the verses are very good, I like when he sings like that because he’s not forcing his voice. Which makes a good contrast with his scratchy yelled chorus. Very emotional. The tempo picks up after the second chorus, with a guitar riff with twin guitar soloing over it. Then it goes into a signature shredding solo by Gates, which reminds me a little of the style of afterlife or other solos of that speed. It then goes into that rhythmic section reminiscent of nightmare’s bridge where shadows chant/sings over the guitar rhythm. It goes into a second solo, which combines speed and melody, before more chanted vocals.
Natural born killers starts with a riff that sounds nothing like anything A7X has ever done before. My first thought upon hearing it was it sounded like something a band like mastodon might play, but no one take offense to that I’m not comparing the bands that was just my first thought. That riff leads into this very fast shredding speed metal like part, before going into a riff that reminds me of the self titled album or diamonds in the ruff, I can’t for the life of me think what song it reminds me of though. It then goes into a clean channel guitar driven prechorus which reminds me of the post chorus of bat country in sound, or the clean channel driven bridge section in demons. The chorus is good, nothing particularly noteworthy about it though. There isn’t as much to say about this track, its solid just nothing incredibly innovative or new about it other than the beginning.
So far away is an acoustic driven ballad type song. It has a very sad tone and lyrics. However, Shadows vocals stand out as some of the best on the record, sounding in his low register such as the intro to gunslinger or the verses to dear god. The band says that all the songs were written prior to the Rev’s death, however lyrics of certain songs especially this one make me wonder if all the Lyrics were written before his death because many of them could have been written in their grief and coping with his loss. Its jut overall a very pretty song, complete with two very haunting melodic guitar solos which really make me wish I could play better to learn them.. Its one of my favorite tracks, just because of its sad sweetness. Almost breathtaking in the emotion the playing evokes.
God hates us opens again with a clean channel driven guitar riff like that of buried alive or other similar songs. It goes into a riff which again is unlike avenged’s usual style, almost a thrash riff in my opinion. This song introduces shadows growl in brief periods for the first time since waking the fallen, and I believe they are well placed in this song. It is the first avenged song to not have a melodic chorus since, well probably waking the fallen. This track reminds me of waking the fallen, because of the growls and breakdown, but the guitar riffing doesn’t sound like anything else Avenged has done previously for the most part. The breakdown is something that would be common on their early material, and show that Pantera are still a influence on them. I’m fairly sure this isn’t a cover of anyone, although it sounds different enough from their style in places that it almost could be. The song ends with the soft clean guitars that it started with.
Victim starts out with a single guitar and a chime. Very haunting and dark, with what sounds like operatic vocals in the background. That leads into a section that sounds like a male falsetto vocal line, before leading into the acoustic and clean channel guitar driven sung verse. A very pretty and haunting song. It is one of the longest on the album at almost 8 minutes. It goes into a guitar solo and bridge after the second chorus. This second is followed by a longer guitar solo, again fitting the slower tempo of the song, followed by the chorus again. The song fades out with the falsetto section once again with the lone guitar and drum.
Tonight the world dies is acoustic driven like so far away but the tone is even darker, very minor and sound even more haunting. This continues with shadows very haunting minor key vocals. This song is again a new direction for Avenged. They previously have used acoustics, but before this album they never had so many songs driven by them. The chorus has shadows almost sounding pained as he sings, continuing the theme of bare emotions.
Fiction is piano driven and again dark in tone. It has vocals other than shadows in it, which I assume are the Rev’s since it is the song he last wrote before he died. That fact alone gives this song some gravity to add to its already dark sound. The rev and Shadows sing together in octaves, sounding very moving. The piano playing is very prominent, I am not sure who played it I would like to think it was shadows, although he doesn’t always do the playing on record. If that is the rev’s voice he sings in ways we’ve never heard him sing before. Its almost creepy to hear his vocals if those are his, knowing he’s dead now. At parts he almost seems to be trying to sing like shadows. Which if he was writing the song for shadows voice and making a demo of how it would sound he very well could be trying to sound like him.
Save me clocks in around 10 minutes, the longest track on the record. It opens with a prominent base guitar, which might be the only song of avenged to start that way. It goes into a haunting harmonizing guitar part over a chime and organ section. This one too has a darker gothic almost feel to it like much of the album. There are some whispered vocals before the first verse that add to the sinister feel to the song. This one too sounds unmistakeably like Avenged but doesn’t sound like anything else they’ve ever really done. The tempo picks up for the guitar solo, going from mid tempo to a ore fast speed. It has a longer solo much like the long solo in M.I.A. This is a good song but its length is a bit daunting.
Overall this album is very good. In some ways I feel there are too many slower songs which don’t exactly make the record drag, but its definitely a different feel than previous releases due to this. I would give it an 8/10 but I could see this rating going up with repeated listens.
Thanks for reading I hope this was of use to someone, I hope others enjoy the record as much as I did.
so close, no matter how far.
9/21: Uproar Festival
Last edited by The_jman; 07-23-2010 at 07:04 PM.