Avenged Sevenfold "Avenged Sevenfold" Review

Originally in The Oklahoma Daily on October 30th, 2007.

Avenged Sevenfold and its self-titled new release seem custom-made for Hot Topic. The band’s ill-advised fashion sense, pseudo-gothic imagery, flair for the overdramatic and general aim for rebellion all seem to appeal to the trendy goth/emo store’s target demographic.

The album opens with a gothic-sounding organ on “Critical Acclaim,” immediately reinforcing the clich├ęs of the band’s image. The organ gives way to a heavy breakdown and shrill screams, which are probably meant to prove that the band hasn’t strayed too far from its hardcore roots, even though it obviously has. The song features lengthy patriotic/pro-war spoken word parts. Regardless what political message he may be spitting, it’s simply impossible to take lead singer M. Shadows seriously. His awful stage name and massive grill render any serious message a joke.

By the time the record reaches the halfway mark, it’s clear the band’s only goal is to conquer mainstream radio. The band follows the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/solo/chorus song structure on almost every track, and everything just feels phoned in.

It’s only on “A Little Piece of Heaven” that the band seems to try anything legitimately new. This nine-minute epic seems straight out of a Danny Elfman score. It’s very “Nightmare Before Christmas”-ish (and definitely keeps with the misunderstood-youth theme). At first the song is quite enjoyable and provides a breath of fresh air, but after a few minutes Shadow’s obnoxious shtick takes over, and it just becomes annoying.

As awful as this record is, however, it will be huge — guaranteed. In spite of everything else, Avenged Sevenfold knows its fanbase, and seems to cater to them perfectly.