For several days now, I've been trying to digest Nightmare, the latest from Avenged Sevenfold. Much of the pre-release hype for the album revolves around the album's relationship to drummer James 'The Rev' Sullivan, who passed away in late 2009 but also contributed mightily to the cause. Nightmare is both reflective, concerning the life and times of their fallen comrade, and imaginative as A7X continues their evolution into modern melodic heavy metal band of singular distinction.
Discarding current modern trends of hardcore and death vocals from the mammoth City of Evil onwards, A7X remains heavy, progressive, and melodic on Nightmare. Basically, A7X have become the voice of nonconformity in modern metal. Damn! That's a very good thing. I'm quite entertained.
Nightmare rocks. Whether it's the modern raucous metal of the title track, the post-grunge turning to modern metal of Buried Alive, the heavy and abrasive Natural Born Killers, or the modern melodic hard rock of Danger Line, Avenged Sevenfold is at their alarming and unconventional best. I dare any current band to keep pace with them.
While wholly A7X, listening to Nightmare makes me wonder what would happen if Metallica, circa the 'black' album, conspired with Iron Maiden, circa Powerslave. Comparisons are futile, but Nightmare is intriguing and entertaining. Listening to So Far Away or Victim reminds us all of why traditional metal still informs its modern generation. Again, flying in this face modern conventions, A7X gets it right and delivers.
Pardon my praise, but I dig this album. Nightmare will probably be the album by which they will be judged in the future. But how is that a bad thing? This is a band in its prime, and we are better for it.
Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare will probably be the album by which they will be judged in the future. But how is that a bad thing? This is significant and entertaining modern melodic metal.