11 July 2013

Avenged Sevenfold - Waking The Fallen

Eddie chose this album for me as part of his review an album you will hate ‘project’.  Avenged Sevenfold are a band I have a deep and irrational disliking of. I despise quite a few bands and the reasons are, almost always, non-music related. Sometimes I don’t like a band member’s face, hair or just don’t like the cut of their jib. Maybe something I’ve read in an interview will put me off them or if they have a certain way of phrasing song titles. Avenged Sevenfold offended me, ahaha, threefold.

Reason the first: In a Kerrang interview I read years ago they kept going on about ‘banging chicks’ and how groupies were awesome dude. During the interview one of the band members spent most of it in the toilet chick banging.  The way they went on just smacked of 80’s hair metal and the kind of chauvinism we should have moved on from. It irked me.

Reason the second: Their stupid false names. Loads of people in bands adopt ‘cool’ monikers because Hellface Bloodpisser sounds way more metal than Gary Jenkins, I understand that. I’m not entirely sure what makes AX7 (ugh.)’s pseudonyms any worse than any other band (absolutely nothing) but I know that they are. Take, for example, guitarist Synyster Gates. Let me not dwell on the aggravating spelling, the problem I have with that goes without saying, but what’s so sinister about his gates? Do they have a habit of swinging shut a bit too fast and catching your ankle before you’ve fully passed through? Maybe they just LOOK like they might.  Another name that bothers is me is the singer M. Shadows. I get the Shadows bit; it’s dark, brooding and ham-fistedly gothic but the M confuses me. What does it stand for? ‘Mysterious’? ‘Malcolm’? ‘My Obsession With Hank Marvin And The’?.  If t’s just his name then that’s just lazy. I’ve Googled and it’s just his name, boo.

The third, final and, to my mind, worst reason I dislike them so much is that M. Shadows wore mirrored shades a lot. Vile.

So to the actual review; as I said earlier I’m only vaguely familiar with Avenged Sevenfold’s music. I know it’s Metalcore with hints of Prog and a slightly Gothic imagery. After a couple of play throughs of Waking The Fallen I’d say that was a fair assumption.

 After a pointless intro track (another of my irrational hates), the first track is lead single Unholy Confessions. It kicks in with an awkward twin lead riff, reminiscent of Iron Maiden. It’s very stop-starty and you can almost picture their earnest  concentration faces as you hear it. This soon leads into a stereotypically screamed verse and, bang on 30 seconds, the melodic chorus arrives. So far, so predictable. Sadly it only gets worse after this as Chapter Four, Remenissions and Desecrate Through Reverence are all forgettable, generic plodders.

Things pick up a little with Eternal Rest, the pace is faster, the screamed vocals are bearable and it descends into a chuggy, stoner riff. Halfway through some big, dramatic keyboards appear and parp away until the end of the song.
Second Heartbeat has a great duggyduggyduggy thrash riff and a decent chorus but is let down by more screaming and s far too long for no real reason.
Radiant Eclipse is by far the best song on the album, the intro slowly builds up for about 3 minutes until it fades into an oddly Nu-Metal; riff. The chorus is what sets it apart from everything else, it’s impressive, soaring and makes me wonder why the rest of the album isn’t like this?

Unfortunately after a surprise high point a low point very much occurs. I Won’t See You Tonight (Part 1) is a nine minute, piano led epic that is horrendously dull. It’s counterpart, I Won’t See You Tonight (Part 2) is much heavier but still fails to spark interest. The final two songs (Clairvoyant Disease and And All Things Will End) are slow, ponderous and not very interesting. A disappointing end to a disappointing album.

So in conclusion, it wasn’t a horrible listening experience but neither was it a good one. It often feels very forced and amateurish, the screamed vocals are much inferior to the clean ones and a lot of the songs hang around for a least 2 minutes longer than they need to be. 
From Wikipedia I gather they’ve moved away from both the metalcore sound and the screamed vocals, this, along with the fact this album is 10 years old now, would suggest they’ve improved and refined since then. I hope so.

3 out of 10- Not for everyone
Review by Luke

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