Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold [Clean]

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Coming off a Best New Artist Award at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, the members of Avenged Sevenfold returned to the studio, ambitious to create an exciting follow-up to City of Evil, and their self-titled release often focuses hard on pushing the songs into non-metal territory. Their signature blistering Yngwie Malmsteen guitar arpeggios and lightning fast double-kick drums are still evident, while AS show their unbridled enthusiasm to be as inventive as possible as they run through a staggering amount of production enhancements: four songs have string arrangements; violinists, pianists, and vocalists make guest appearances here and there; "A Little Piece of Heaven" is a strange Mr. Bungle-type number with sax, clarinet, trombone, and trumpet; and "Unbound (The Wild Ride)" throws in the most un-metal addition of all -- a children's choir. Some of these enhancements help take the songs to the next level, while others give the sensation of inappropriately mashed-up styles. Vocalist M. Shadows, who required surgery on his vocal cords after Waking the Fallen, shows that his training with Ron Anderson (vocal coach for Layne Staley, Axl Rose, and Chris Cornell) has been for the greater good. Rather than screaming or doing the metal growl, he sings in a few gritty voices, showing an obvious Mike Patton influence, and actually sounds pitch-perfect. His skills and the entire band's technical ferocity are flawless as ever, and although they get lost in a cluttered vision, their willingness to experiment is admirable. [A clean version of the CD was also released.] ~ Jason Lymangrover, Rovi