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Album review: Avenged Sevenfold's 'Nightmare'

AVENGED-SEVENFOLD_240_ The major labels may continue to wither, but they won't go out without a bang. After all, there's no other way to explain the recent promotional tie-in between the new Avenged Sevenfold track "Welcome to the Family," and its ideological brethren, the ultra-violent video game, "Call of Duty: Black Ops."

Set to a string of explosions, helicopters and assault rifles clutched by solemn young men with shaved heads, the unabashed militarism is frightening and almost pornographic in its zeal. Whether you appreciate the veteran hard rock/metal hybrid depends on your tolerance for spiraling guitars, avalanche drums and satanic screams. Or your inclination to the aesthetic spelled out in the video for lead single "Nightmare," with its bloody and cackling children, experimental surgeries and morbid obsessions. Consider it Edward Gorey as re-conceptualized by Hannibal Lecter and Korn.

Metal doesn't die, it mutates, and sonically, Avenged Sevenfold has cribbed from the usual suspects: Linkin Park and the Nu-Metal school, a little Black Sabbath, and the Orange County punk-thrash that inevitably influenced its formative years. The sincerity is palpable even if the style seems synthetic, particularly on "So Far Away," which presumably addresses the untimely death last year of their drummer, James "The Rev" Sullivan.

With imagery haunted by death and lyrical allusions to alienation and angst, Avenged Sevenfold's fifth full-length is almost impossible to appreciate unless you fit the prime demographic: tormented teenage boys.

— Jeff Weiss 

Avenged Sevenfold
(Warner Bros.)
Two stars (Out of four)

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Comments () | Archives (239)

WTF this dude just wrote something as a personal opinion which for me he has no taste in music he just may be angered that the album did so good on its release. this dude is just angry that he is a fat middle aged man sitting on his desk writing stupid reviews about people just to escape his reality which is his 1 bedroom apartment and frozen food on his fridge which he prepares to watch his basic cable programation on his 15 inch television. seriously i would prefer 1000 time be a tormented teenage boy than to be this dude So i recomend this dude to stop listening to Lady Gaga and RE-listen Nightmare(Which I doubt He even Listen to it at all) And Write an apology to The A7X Family. This Album will make History Just sit wait and watch.

Wow, great review. I guess I'm a tortured teenage boy. Even though I'm 35 with a wife and 2 kids. "Save Me" is without a doubt the finest effort by the band. They have grown up so much musically. Mike Portnoy, put in an impossible situation, performed greatly. Their best album to date, and the worst review ever.

You should probably listen to the album first before you review it based on a video game trailer and a music video. A7X put their heart into this album and you just spit on it.

Why would you review a genre of music for which you obviously have no sympathy? Actually, I'm being quite generous in using the word "review" since your cursory and dismissive descriptions hardly equate to a thoughtful analysis of any sort. An album review is supposed to be that, a review of an album, not a polemic against a style of music or its fans.

I'm a 42 year-old woman, far outside the "tormented teenage boy" demographic, and yet I have no problem whatsoever appreciating this album.

Ok. I was just going to read this review but I was horrified by what I read, "satanic screaming"? "tormented teenage boys"? What is wrong with you? This album was dedicated to the Rev, and he would be PROUD of what A7X created. Why are you even talking about CoD? The song isn't dedicated to CoD at all. Jimmy wrote the song before his passing. I think this is one of their best albums yet, millions have enjoyed this song, not just "tormented teenage boys". This is by FAR the worst review I have ever read and you sir have OBVIOUSLY never listened to the album or considered the hidden meanings in their songs. I recommend that you take this review down because as I read from earlier comments there isn't a single person that agrees with this horrid review.

The album Nightmare is an epic contribution to the alternative metal that Avenged Sevenfold have crept into; With powering songs such as 'Natural Born Killer' and 'God Hates Us' it reveals that Avenged Sevenfold have not lost their touch.
Mike Portnoy of Dream Theatre has done an excellent job filling in for the late Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan playing the drums exactly as Jimmy left them giving fans no difference in how the music is played.
This album also captures the pain and grief that the boys have suffered since the loss of their brother with songs such as 'So Far Away' and 'Tonight The World Dies' but the song that fans were eager to hear was 'Fiction' which is the last official recording of Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan; with painful lyrics and beautiful piano this song just shows what the band can achieve.

Here's my review, I suggest you actually listen to the album before you review it.

I cannot believe that the L.A.Times published this garbage. I am a 35 year old paralegal with two children, a 16 year old girl and a 12 year old boy and we are all HUGE A7X fans. The obviously clueless gentleman that wrote this article has no knowledge of A7X, their fans or their background and should not been permitted to review this ablum or write this article. This is an amazing CD and has a emotional tie between the band and their amazing fans. As a parent, I am proud to say that my children and I are and will continue to be Avenged Sevenfold fans and promote this band.

I thought to be a reviewer, you had to have an open mind to everything and give it a chance. Obviously you think you're an exception to this. If you can't tell this is a tribute album to their fallen friend, you must open your ears and actually listen past the "satanic screams". Read the lyrics, actually listen, THEN you'll get it out of the album what we have, all of us Avenged Sevenfold fans.

R.I.P. Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan.

This review means nothing to the fans or the band, just something to bash.

Avenged Sevenfold foREVer.

Jeff Weiss, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. This review is an insult to Avenged Sevenfold and the MILLIONS of fans, not just "tormented teenage boys" as you put it. I happen to be 16 years old with a wide range of musical interests, and an Avenged Sevenfold fan of 5 years.. Just because you are a middle-aged man who has no respect for a band who writes and records an album for their deceased brother, doesn't mean you have to write such negative and demeaning words about them. They wrote this for James Sullivan, not for some review writer who knows nothing of the subject. Why don't you listen to the words, then MAYBE you will understand what those four band members must have went through just to record the material, and even release it. Nobody wants to hear your negative words. So if you don't like Metal or Rock or meaningful music, just stick to what your good at, if anything.

Your review is literally disgusting. It sickens me and everyone else. Why are you mention Call of Duty? The album doesn't come with the game. Are you just judging this based off of a stupid video game trailer? It is clear that you didn't look at any of the songs' lyrics, which isn't a hard thing to do because they come with the album. Avenged Sevenfold isn't satanic, and it is stupid to think that they are anything like Linkin Park. Tormented teenage boys? Nope. My sister listens to them, and I ain't tormented by anyone. If you don't like the band to begin with, you shouldn't be reviewing them.

This is a disgrace to journalism. Jeff, you obviously know nothing about the genre you are reviewing, in claiming that Avenged Sevenfold has "cribbed" from Linkin Park. If you don't like metal and are too stubborn to be objective, then find a new career. No one wants to read an article written by a close-minded fool that claims to know what he is talking about. As for the audience this album appeals to, saying that it is only for tormented teenage boys shows how completely out of touch with reality you are. Clearly, "tormented teenage boys" alone made this album number 1 on Itunes. You would think a journalist working for the L.A. Times could bring himself to say at least one intelligent thing in a four paragraph article. Guess not.

ok so im 17 im enlisted into the marines and im a very heavy A7X fan and we are all considered brothers of the death bat family and your gonna sit here and say that this album is impossible to appreciate are you retarded you must not understand that when you lose somone special and you write songs about them thats its out of sorrow what till someone close to you dies and then imagine yourself as a song writer and come back to this review and regret everything you said.......thanks for insulting us fans and an enlisted member of our military

so... i am not tormented or a boy at that,i have not heard the whole album but from what Avenged had released before the album was released , buried alive and nightmare, i find that you are completely wrong. You obviously don't listen to this kind of music and when you do you don't have an open mind to it. You should not have written this review. And I fully intend to go out and buy the album.

LA Times, Jeff here needs to be put in another department cause he obviously is not a music critic! Why would a video game even be mentioned in a music review?!?! Has Mr. Weiss even listened to the full album? I would think that would be required before writing a review.
A tormented teenage boy.

First off for the record I am not a tormented teenage boy . Secondly this supposedly reputable newspaper needs to hire a unbiased music reviewer who knows the facts and can see outside a marketing campaign it was all opinion and yes I am a fan but I am an adult and can see when someone doesn't know their ass from their elbow.

This has to be not only one of the worst reviews but a really bad rating. You don't actually mention what the music is about, you just say about the music video and CoD. That really has nothing to do with the album has a whole, which is what you were supposed to be reviewing, right? You clearly didn't think how offensive this was going to be to all of Avenged Sevenfold and their fans. We're a family, we look out for each other and we will not let you give this a band rating, because it's obviously a biased response. "Satanic screams" Really, haha. I don't think you have a very wide range of knowledge in Rock or Metal in any way. Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold are two completely different bands that cannot be compared to one another.

And also, to suggest we are all "tormented teenage boys" What?! The Avenged Sevenfold fans are a wide range of young and old, male and female.

I suggest you look into these things in the future.

hahaha this is pathetic. if you have no idea what you're talking about, why write the review? this isn't a review, it's a bashing of metal simply because you aren't into this genre of music. I'm usually not an angry person but you should be lynched.

Someones been listening to a bit too much Justin Beiber...

What an offensive and ignorant review.

"which presumably addresses the untimely death last year of their drummer, James "The Rev" Sullivan."

You're obviously not aware that the majority of this album was a tribute, both musically and lyrically. Your slanted review has done nothing but harbor anger towards you and your publisher. Congratulations on proving to actual musicians (like myself) that reviews by middle-aged white men are only as important as the distance you can throw them.

this review is the stupidiest thing i've ever read, and i've read pretty stupid things. have you even listened to the album? this is the best album i've ever heard in my lifetime. I think avenged sevenfold are very talented musicians, timing everything and making every sound go together smoothly. im not even the big fan of a7x, i've known them since i heard bat country, and started to like them, now i really follow them BECAUSE of this album. AMAZING BAND, AMAZING ALBUM, AMAZING MEMBERS, AMAZING SONGS. Go actually listen to the album, and listen to fiction.

Just so you know, I'm not a teenager, nor a boy, nor in angst. The black ops machinima was made by the people of Machinima, not the band, they just gave the rights. You are allowed to have an opinion of not enjoying the album, but you clearly have no musical knowledge, seeing as you didn't even mention the musical abilities. Also you saying "which presumably addresses the untimely of their drummer" is the biggest insult to them an their fans. If you did your research, as a reviewer should, you would know that lyrics in all the songs but nightmare were changed to address their feelings of The Rev's death. I really hope A7X didn't read this.

I too agree with most of the people here on that this review is way too Biased to be even worth listening to. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but the album being awesome is not an opinion, its a fact. Also what does an "ultra-violent video game" have anything to do with the music. I hope that this guy did not get to some of you so much to not purchase this album. Also LA. Times should have this review deleted and changed for the good of them.

Wow... This is pathetic, and an insult not only to the memory of James Sullivan and his legacy as a musician, but also to his surviving band members. The courage it took for those 4 men to continue with this album after their brother passed was outstanding, and this review was an unprovoked attack on a legion of dedicated fans. I have no respect for the disrespectful p.o.s. who wrote this.

Jeff, after listening to the album and looking at your review, there is only one simple conclusion i come to.

you need to be fired so they can hire someone with half a brain to replace you.

The LA Times should fire this dude. What an idiot!! A7X's new album is thier brst because of the fact idit is real and personal on every level. Real music lovers metal or not will appreciate that.

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