Avenged Sevenfold: Waking the Fallen
Mike Hess
12/3/2003 3:17:23 AM

Over the past two years, a big crop of bands have emerged taking aspects of metal -- real metal -- and tossing it into a blender with punk and hardcore. Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage were the main beneficiaries, but Avenged Sevenfold is on deck with their latest release Waking the Fallen [Hopeless Records].

Slowly stepping back from the all-screaming all-the-time approach, most verses are actually sung. Not rapped. Ya know, singing with notes and melodies. Remember that? Granted, there's screamy interludes and backing, but nothing overly macho and thuggish.

The strength of Avenged Sevenfold lies in its rhythm section, but naming the culprits leads me to their one major, major downfall.

I, for one, hate cheesy-ass nicknames and pseudonyms. When they're done right, for example: The Hives, they work wonders and show wit, attitude and modesty. But metal is different from Swedish fun-punk, and names like Synyster Gates (lead guitar) and M. Shadows (vocals) are really intolerable. Bass player Johnny Christ is cool with me, as metal has always been at war with religion, but Zacky Vengeance (guitar) needs some lessons in cool stagenames. People don't need to be gag-fed goth/80s D&D references in order to figure out what's going on.

But I digress... Off with the names, and on to the tunes. "Remenissions" and "Desecrate by Reverence" are by far the strongest cuts on the album, utilizing speed changes, heavy-soft intertwining and stringy guitar bridges to bolster Maiden-esque choruses.

Pleasantly missing is the overabundance of double-bass percussion, something that's become more of a problem than a helping hand to modern metal. Indie production in metal is a refreshing whiff of air in this Pro Tools world.

For Avenged Sevenfold, the future should be interesting. There's nothing groundbreaking or incredible, and at times the vocals are a bit too '80s for my liking, but it's good to see a band take it back to the roots rather than just sound like everyone else.


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