1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 281

City of Evil, by Avenged Sevenfold
Suggested by Nicholas Fitterson

I gave up on new music some twenty-odd years ago.

At that time, my tastes were suspended in amber, my palate pared down to the aural foodstuffs I already enjoyed. Things have changed in the past few months, of course, with fresh new sounds appearing on the menu day in and day out. I’m grateful for the opportunity to sample your suggestions, even if they are growl or hip-hop artists.

I didn’t feel I was missing out, the day my music died, but I did sometimes wonder what the most recent analogues were for my favourite bands and genres. Of particular interest was Heavy Metal, as although my interest in the form was on the wane before my musical collapse, it still lived rent-free in my hollow heart.

Was there a new Iron Maiden, say? Or Metallica? Or were these bands still ruling their particular niche roosts? Were Primus still cranking out the weirdness? Had Guns and Roses imploded? And was there anything, anything at all, that could penetrate my robust defences and take their place in the Hall of Frozen Headbangers?

From my initial play of Avenged Sevenfold’s City of Evil, I suggest that had this album slipped through the cracks at the time, it would have made my rotation with ease.

Avenged Sevenfold are an American Heavy Metal band with a metalcore root. In fact, had I heard either of their previous works before my City of Angels listen today, with their sludgy riffs and screaming diatribes, I’m convinced I would have hoofed my Alexa speaker into the sea in disgust. Thankfully, the band turned left instead of right before Album Number Three, and here we are.

Through eleven lengthy metal tracks spanning seventy-two minutes, Avenged Sevenfold, or A7X to their mates, travel the World of Heaviness and crib off some of the finest bands in Moshdom. The opening track The Beast and the Harlot couldn’t have a more Iron Maiden title without stapling To The Slaughter on the end of it, and the melodic guitar chorus is straight from the exultant power metal playbook of Helloween. There’s a clear Alice in Chains / Soundgarden sound to the vocals throughout, and the song Seize The Day is Guns and Roses through and through.

Comparisons to well-loved bands are particularly apt, as singer M Shadows underwent vocal training with coach Ron Anderson before recording. Anderson had previously worked with both Axl Rose and Chris Cornell, so such parallels are inevitable.

My standout track, Bat Country, is a rocking romp with delightful duelling guitars, lauded as A7X’s most commercially successful song to date. I start to have a few misgivings, as there is a certain corporate polish to the sound throughout, almost as if the separate parts have been assembled independently. It’s a small complaint, as is my second gripe: the album is too long. It could shave twenty minutes and be immeasurably improved.

City of Evil gets a fine 7/10, and a promise that I’ll check out more of their work at a later date. Their Wiki info suggests that the band skip and jive across the musical map with ease, so whether they’ll stand still enough to spark my passion for subsequent releases remains to be seen.

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