Avenged Sevenfold: Avenged Sevenfold (Warner Bros. Records)
This is what I love about Avenged Sevenfold: They may be classified as a hard rock/almost scream-metal band, but they delve into other genres, from a bit of country rollick to an almost emo-tinged vocal oratory. And, best of all, the album doesn’t sound as if each track was slapped together into some sort of random listing, but rather sounds as if the band is taking you on a journey from start to finish. After 18 months of touring and headlining slots for this year’s Warped Tour and Ozzfest, the band jumped into numerous L.A.-based studios—and that live energy was easily translated from stage to control room. From the opener’s organ (played by Jamie Muhoberac) and easy transition to full-on, rock-ready, anthem-guitar work, you are submerged into a highly energetic, warp speed–ready onslaught of rhythmic vocal lines, pounding drums, subtle (a bit too subtle for my taste) bass work and, yes, the all-important guitar solo. While the album’s belly is full of rock and metal influences, there is a great assortment of instrumentation that brings a fullness to the album’s sound, with assistance from Marc Mann and Steve Bartek (who currently orchestrates for Danny Elfman). Check out the soaring strings in “Afterlife,” the Nightmare Before Christmas–worthy “A Little Piece of Heaven” or the gentle, if not a bit too freaky, vocals of a child in “Unbound.” A surprising finale to this masterpiece, percussionist Lenny Castro adds a bit of country flair to “Dear God.” Hey, I guess you never know what you’re going to get from Avenged Sevenfold, except for an interesting, genre-breaking album that you’ll be keeping on Repeat.
Producer: Avenged Sevenfold. Engineers: Fred Archambault, Dave Schiffman. Assistant Engineers: Clifton Allen, Chris Steffan, Robert DeLong, Aaron Walk, Mike Scielzi, Josh Wilbur. Techs: Mike “The Sac” Fasano (drums), Walter Rice (guitar). Mixer: Andy Wallace at Soundtrack Studios. Studios: Sunset Sound Recorders, Eldorado Recording Studios, Capitol Studios. Mastering: Brian Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering.