Over the last decade or so, we have all witnessed the rise of Avenged Sevenfold. While worshiped by suburban teenagers worldwide, this is one of those bands that has only caused me immense frustration—that is until now.
Coming fully loaded with insanely talented guitarists and a tight rhythm section, it has always made me wonder: why in the hell would they recruit such an awful singer to lead this army? In all honesty, M. Shadows is not that bad, but compared to the musicianship of Synyster Gates (Lead Guitar) and Zacky Vengeance (Rhythm Guitar), there seems to be a lack of balance in talent, fueling a massive disequilibrium en route to their compositional mastery.
With the death of drummer The Rev, Avenged Sevenfold hired Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater (who has since quit Dream Theater because of this…err), literally one of the true all-time greats. One would think that this would throw M. Shadows even further out of his league. However, on the latest Avenged Sevenfold album, Nightmare, M. Shadows owns the mic, killing it, proving that he can stand up and lead this beast.
It is no secret that this band puts on a sick live show. However, on previous releases that live vibe was hardly existent. Nightmare finally offers that energy which past records have been missing. This is partly due to none-other than M. Shadows. On some tracks, he’s an absolute animal and on others, he channels his inner Axl Rose (it may be “Chinese Democracy” Axl, but still Axl nonetheless).
The lead guitars on the slower tracks throw out a Slash vibe (a “November Rain” Slash vibe), while the leads on the faster tunes are worthy enough to stand next to Mustaine and classic Maiden. Portnoy’s influence can be distinctly heard in several spots, especially the expanded tom fills. But then again, Portnoy was a huge influence on The Rev, making this transition very fluid.
Nightmare is one of the better albums of the year, as it contains the best studio material from Avenged Sevenfold to date. This is one that you will still be banging a year from now.
Avenged Sevenfold is M. Shadows (Vocals), Synyster Gates (Guitars), Zacky Vengeance (Guitars), Johnny Christ (Bass), The Rev (Drums), & Mike Portnoy (Drums).
- “Welcome To The Family”
- “Danger Line”
- “Buried Alive”
- “Natural Born Killer”
- “So far Away”
- “God Hates Us”
- “Tonight The World Dies”
- “Save Me”