Avenged Sevenfold's 'Nightmare' indecisive
In this CD cover image released by Warner Bros., Avenged Sevenfold's, "Nightmare" is shown. (AP Photo/Warner Bros.)
Avenged Sevenfold, "Nightmare" (Warner Bros.)
Making good metal music requires commitment. And no one can say the current members of the metalcore band Avenged Sevenfold don't work hard at their craft. But their latest album "Nightmare" rides the fence on exactly what type of metal it wants to be.
And indecision has cost them.
On "Nightmare," Avenged Sevenfold speeds through most of the songs, driven by the frenetic pace of their drummer, Mike Portnoy. The band's original drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, died last year and this is the band's first album without him on the drums, though his vocals can be heard on one track, "Fiction."
Soaring guitar leads add to the mayhem, and the vocals from M. Shadows are technically perfect. All this from a very technical metal band.
But that's where they go astray. Much of "Nightmare" is metal by design. It's mostly overproduced, as on the title track "Nightmare" and "God Hates Us." Producer Mike Elizondo could be blamed for this odd attempt to appease various flavours of metal fans. But the blame must be shared.
"Welcome To the Family" has great energy and purpose, but there is a sonic disconnect. There's simply too much separation between the energy of the instruments and the too-clean delivery of the vocals.
"Natural Born Killer" has the most pell-mell pace of them all. Speed is king here, with guitar licks whizzing by so fast they threaten to outrun the rest of the band. If the entire album had been made at this pace the listener would likely run out of breath just humming along.
Avenged Sevenfold's "Nightmare" is what happens when highly technical metal musicians dabble in too many sub-genres. It's a fine display of abilities, but there is no theme to the delivery and the approach to most songs feels random, like the guys couldn't decide what type of metal to play.
Their ultimate decision was to play them all and let the listener sort it out. Bad call.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Buried Alive" starts slow, but quickly builds up steam. The guitar leads often sound so fast and clean they could be mistaken for something spit out of a computer.