September , 2010
Review by Chris Apaliski
Label: Warner Bros.
There’s no doubt this was the saddest, and most difficult album, Avenged Sevenfold ever needed to complete. Portnoy’s drumming is a true highlight. This isn’t to say that Nightmare – an appropriate title – as a whole is a bad record, it’s just very uneven. Despite the circumstances under which it was created, this fifth disc from the California natives is going to leave the listener with mixed feelings. There are moments of creativity and stellar playing, in songs like “God Hates Me” and the 11-minute rock opus “Save Me”. And then there’s the rest of the album. Though the title track received a lot of airplay, there’s something about those eerie bells interrupted by an in-your-face rhythmic guitar assault, coupled with cheesy lyrics, that just doesn’t make sense.
“Save Me” is the true gem on this album. The song is a heavy yet progressively melodic, and finds the twin guitar assault of Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates firing on all cylinders. From incredible drum fills to elaborate layered guitars, the song also showcases an amazing vocal performance from M. Shadows.
Another stand out track already noted is “God Hates Us”. This song too starts out with melodic, clean-tone guitars (a la old school Testament), and then rips into some vintage shred-inspired greatness. There's even some hardcore screaming – which will please older Avenged Sevenfold fans – who haven’t heard Shadows yell like this since blowing out his vocal chords after the second album. The highlights of Nightmare are somewhat overshadowed by some lacklustre tracks, but considering the circumstances, this is a fitting tribute to The Rev’s legacy.
If you're an old school Avenged Sevenfold fan, this album may not be for you. This is no longer the band that recorded Sounding the Seventh Trumpet or Waking the Fallen. If you jumped on-board after City of Evil, then this album will be more to your liking. Regardless, Nightmare is a heartfelt tribute to their fallen brother, so it’s difficult to criticize music on what must have been an extremely tough and emotional record to make.