Avenged sevenfold are a band who will always court controversy no matter what they do - whether it be snorting avalanches of cocaine or lewd acts with foreign prostitutes, however, with the release of their new album it seems that they are trying to lose their old sleazy goth image once and for all and instead move on up into the realms of the rock gods.
Since the release of City of Evil Ax7 have been criticised for dumbing down their vocals - the screams which were often associated with their hardcore roots on Waking the Fallen were replaced by more melodic singing - and on their self titled album this has never been more obvious, and the nasal whinings of vocalist M. Shadows were never the bands best attribute. You will be pleased to hear, however, that the dual guitar lines of guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance are still as awe inspiring as ever - even if Gates' sweeping solos of do become a little bit repetitive near the end of the album. The drumming of The Rev is getting better with each album and he is now showing more than ever why he is regarded as one of metal's drumming elite.
The band have taken inspiration from many sources, but it seems that they are beginning to emulate Guns N' Roses a little too closely (which some would argue is not necessarily a bad thing), but if I wanted to hear a Guns N' Roses clone I'd wait around for Chinese Democracy or go and watch a tribute act.
Standout tracks include the single Almost Easy with it's ridiculously catchy chorus and stomping Metallica styled riffage, and the Tim Burton-esque A Little Piece of Heaven sounding as if it's been stolen from the set of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The spirit of Johnny Cash is invoked during Gunslinger, whilst Brompton Cocktail is an air guitarists wet dream come true.
This album is definitely worth a spin, but be warned you may not like it the first time round.