Avenged Sevenfold – City of Evil Album Review

Posted: April 16, 2014 in Album reviews
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As you may know by now Avenged Sevenfold are headlining Download Festival this year, which is awesome. So in honour of the occasion I thought I’d review an Avenged Sevenfold album. I already talked about their Hail to the King album, but now I’m looking at what a lot of fans and critics consider their best album yet, City of Evil, released in 2005. So the big question is how does this album hold up?
City of Evil

Before I talk about City of Evil I just want to say that I’m less familiar with Avenged Sevenfold’s earlier albums. I’ve never heard Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (Mostly because they don’t play it live anymore), although from what I’ve heard I’m not missing much. Waking the Fallen was when they started to take off, and whilst it has some good songs like Chapter Four and Unholy Confessions it has perhaps too much screaming. Their third album City of Evil though was the first one to really catch my attention.

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First thing to talk about is the shift in musical style since Waking the Fallen. Whilst that album had more an emphasis on metalcore this album is more hard rock flavoured, a change which in my opinion benefited the band. To me M Shadows is better at melodic singing than he is screaming. In some of the albums heavier songs like Burn it Down or Bat Country the power of his voice pulses throughout. Synyster Gates however certainly doesn’t skimp when it comes to the guitar riffs, as each song on the album contains some rather meaty riffs. A personal favourite solo is the opening to Beast and the Harlot with the dark tone and bells giving the feel of a ritual, and the rest of the guitar work shines as well. What a way to kick off the album. Another standout track is Sidewinder which has a sinister sounding tone singing about snakes, ending off with a bit of an acoustic flamenco.

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While they keep their dark edge a lot of the song’s lyrics are more thoughtful as well. The album’s obligatory ballad Seize the Day is a prime example, reminiscing about the inevitable end and how we perceive to think about it. On first hearing it was a good album track but when I really sat down and let the lyrics sink in it really is a brilliant piece. Another standout track is M.I.A., a song which talks about the soldiers who fight wars for different reasons and questioning their morality choices. It definitely breaks the claim of the band being just a row. Sure the album has a lot of heavy tracks but it’s nicely balanced out by the more mellow ones as well.

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Whilst Hail to the King ended up being one of their shorter albums City of Evil is very much one of their longest. 11 tracks may not seem too long but the songs lengths can range from 5-8 minutes. Even the shortest track (Burn it Down) still clocks in at roundabout 5 minutes. The first half of the album is where there are 5-6 minute tracks, but the latter half of the album contains epics which clock in at 7 minutes or more. It’s subjective as to whether this is a good or bad thing. Personally I think it’s good. For one thing it means your getting better value for your money, but also it has more time to make sure each track leaves a long lasting impact on the listener. There are very few songs which sound similar and each track feels like it has it’s own distinct personality to it. It’s not an album you just buy for those couple of songs you want the full package, and in that respect it succeeds.

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When all that is said and done what do I think of City of Evil? Well it’s my personal favourite album of Avenged Sevenfold. In a lot of respects it marked a breakthrough point for the band. They got more of their hard rock roots here, had some shredding tunes along with meaningful lyrics and really highlighted what they’re best at. It may be City of Evil but it sure brings a lot of goodness to the listener.

Overall Score: 10/10

Favourite Track/s: Seize the Day, Beast and the Harlot

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