Customer Review

46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nightmare: A journey into the heart and soul of A7X, July 28, 2010
This review is from: Nightmare (Audio CD)
The central theme of Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold is emotion. Certainly with the death of a fellow member of the band and a brother, the members of Avenged Sevenfold were swimming in an ocean of emotions. This album has remorse, confusion, and pure hate among other varied emotions that enable listeners to intake a small taste of the experience these talented individuals underwent.

Nightmare (5/5): The title and opening track of Nightmare begins your journey with a bang. This track starts off with a dreamy chime before blowing you away with Shadows screaming "nightmare" leading you into a high paced experienced. This track was well chosen as the leading single. It's very catchy and it isn't long before you're singing along learning of the bands nightmare that is about to unfold before you.

Welcome To The Family (5/5): This track is probably a future single and perhaps the most accessible song on the album. After a shout out to a "Waking the Fallen" instrumental intro Shadows jumps into the melody of this very catchy track. Like Nightmare this song is also set to prepare you for what's to come. It addresses the cacophony of emotions running rampant with their minds. We see that even the members of A7X aren't sure exactly what they are feeling it's a mixture of so many raw emotions, "When our thoughts are so numb and our feelings unsure
We all have emptiness inside, We all have answers to find, But you can't win this fight." Among the catchy melody and chorus is a blazing a solo and Shadows intermixing a growl/whisper tone to conclude this track

Danger Line (3/5): This song starts off with a marching band type drum progression, before jumping into a moderately high passed jam. I enjoyed this song, but it just didn't seem to fit into the concept of the album. It's well known that Avenged Sevenfold are big supporters of the men, women, and children affected by war and the lives of soldiers, which this song exemplifies. There is an interesting surprise towards the end of the song when the melody and pace slows to almost a ballad, highly contrasting with the fairly quick pace the song initially sets. As I said before this is a pretty decent stand alone song, but just doesn't flow or mesh with the rest of the album.

Buried Alive (5/5): This track begins with a long, slower paced Metallica-esk intro of guitar bliss before finally jumping into the initial melody of the song. Maintaining the Thrash ballad feel the song jumps into a powerful chorus that takes you a little bit by surprise the first time you hear it. This song has a groove about it early on that will leave you feeling relaxed and intrigued before it hits the blistering solo that synyster shreds out with technical perfection. Soon after the solo, however, the song takes an adrenaline pumping twist, pounding out heavy chords and a deep base. With that we get the first real taste of Shadows screaming since Waking the fallen, which left my jaw on the floor. Lyrically, through the progression, the concept of the album is continued. While using the tracks "Nightmare" and "Welcome to the Family" as a basis for the album, Buried Alive suggest the feelings the band felt after the initial shock wore off. Without Jimmy the band felt, as the title suggests, trapped and helpless. The progression of the song also leans towards the experience of claustrophobia. At first the trapped feeling is subtle and leaves you vulnerable, but if the feeling continues to linger it doesn't take long before the feeling detonates into an overwhelming flurry of pain, as if not only were they trapped and alone but suffocating in their own hell. The final lines of this song bring Avenged Sevenfold forward to an angry acceptance of what has happened to them this past year as Shadows bellows "THIS IS NOW YOUR LIFE, DIE BURIED ALIVE"

Natural Born Killer (5/5): This track will blow your mind away the first time you hear it. This track begins at a blistering speed and only lets up a little during the chorus just so you can process the instrumental inferno that just took place and will undoubtedly continue post chorus. What stood out to me on this song was the drumming. Portnoy did a great job filling in for The Rev, but it's still very obvious that it was in fact Portnoy doing the drumming on this album, while doing his best to keep The Rev's memory alive. This track, however, just screamed The Rev in every direction. If I didn't know it was Portnoy I would have thought Jimmy was able to leave this beat behind. To me, due to the drumming, this song is the most complete. It not only has a nostalgic feel about it, seeing as how it could be a love child of "Waking the Fallen" and "City of Evil," but also the fact that you can almost sense Jimmy behind the kit.

So Far Away (4/5): This song dismisses any intro and jumps into the emotional ride. The lyrics for this song were written by Synyster as his goodbye or just his feelings for The Rev. The song begins with a very straight forward verse, a guitar, and Shadows singing his words, that's about it. This song wasn't meant to be impressive really, it was just meant to help heal. Synyster opens his heart for this song describing who Jimmy was to him and how he's felt upon losing his best friend. Even though it probably wasn't meant to impress, parts of it still deserve notice. The solo in this song is simply gorgeous. Synyster begins with an acoustic medley following a slight pause before jumping into the sweet sound of steel. It's nowhere near his most complicated piece, but it speaks to the listeners without remorse, leaving a long lasting impression. While this song can be hard to listen to without tears welling up in your eyes, you'll find yourself wanting to experience this one over and over.

God Hates us (Holy **** 5/5): After So far away this track begins with a lighthearted intro meant to settle you in for the ride. Then out of nowhere this song jumps right out of the speakers drop kicks you in the face, beats you senselessly while you are down, and leaves you feeling entirely violated, yet somehow you enjoyed it. If there was any question as to whether Shadows would pull out some screams again, this track will solidify your belief. This is the hardest song I've heard from the band and it just devours you with raw emotion. Not only is this band hurt, but they are pissed. You can hear the anger and tears behind Shadows' words and it will drive you down the same path. This song will upset and offend some people while, taking the rest as its hostage of brilliance until this song comes to and lighthearted outro, leaving as subtly as it came.

Victim (5/5): This song begins with the chiming of what I would expect to be church bells and the choral female sounds influenced by Pink Floyd before transitioning into a very touching song. The feeling I got from this song was pure confusion. Avenged Sevenfold has vented some of their anger and beginning to accept what happened to them, but they still can't be sure. "And some say this can't be real, And I've lost my power to feel, tonight we are all just victims of a crime," the fairly catchy chorus sang by Shadows reveals that although they are accepting what has happened, they just don't know why. Why did this have to happen to their brother? Why did this have to happen to them? why did this have to happen to our fans? This track touched me unlike any other. We all do feel like something was taken from us, that there's really no just cause, and that it's something that we will never get back.

Tonight The World Dies (4/5): This song took me a while to warm up to, but it's actually a great piece in itself. This track continues the concept of the album with a blues influence to it. It remains blues oriented throughout rarely deviating from the somber feeling. This track illustrates that even with their loss they will continue to hold on, perhaps frozen in place with their emotions. Although the time moves on, they will live each day, perhaps feeling as if they could have done something to prevent this tragedy, but they know it's too late now. Even though time does continue to move their world has collapsed and they will never be the same. This song will probably only be appreciated by more hardcore fans. It's unlike anything Avenged Sevenfold has done in the past and true fans will understand the feelings and emotions behind it, but casual fans will probably be left unsatisfied.

Fiction (2.5/5 or 5/5): This song is what will be remembered as Jimmy's last legacy. It was originally entitled "Death" when Jimmy presented it mere days before his death. It was almost as if he knew his time was up and that he wanted us all to be ok without him. "Left this life to set me free, took a piece of you inside of me. All this hurt can finally fade ,promise me you'll never feel afraid." While listening to this song I was almost brought to tears. It's haunting hearing this song which is the only song to include Jimmy's vocals. The lyrics for this song are so appropriate considering the situation we are all in. Perhaps, with time, we can all learn to move on and celebrate his life properly, but for now we will continue to mourn. I gave this song two ratings, because of the perspective it can have. To hardcore A7X fans, this song is as much a blessing as it is a curse. We absorb as much of Jimmy as we can and this is a wonderful tribute to Jimmy's memory. To the casual fan, however, this song will not be satisfying. The gothic piano melody can be intoxicating, but as the band wanted it, the rest remained fairly untouched. The vocals from Jimmy were demos, though done very well, it's easy to think that they would be cleaner had Jimmy had the time to properly record them, especially during a few of the spoken parts where the quality is not what it could have been. Also, while the band could have probably altered this song with other instruments and melodic adjustments, they felt that would tarnish The Rev's memory. So for the hardcore fans this song is a masterpiece and something that will have a lasting effect on us. For the casual fan this song will just fade away as a memory of a song that just didn't seem finished.

Save Me (5/5): This song shows that perhaps Mike Portnoy and Dream Theater may have had a little bit of influence on Avenged Sevenfold much as they influenced him. This song is an epic progressive metal adventure with a catchy melody and haunting lyrics. This song moves through progression changes and melody shifts, with brilliant instrumental technicality over the 11min track. This track puts a wonderful conclusion to this concept album. The lyrics suggest that A7X knows they can't go back to a time where they can be with Jimmy again, but that's not to say they have seen the last of their fallen brother. In this song it sounds like the band is trying to speak directly to Jimmy hoping he can hear their plea. They wanted him to stay, but they want him to know that although they will walk this path without him that they will soon join their brother in internal life. As they march through the days alone, they are praying for the day when they can reunite with him once again. This song is a masterpiece, even those who are not huge fans can appreciate everything that went into making this song an epic journey.

Closing thoughts:

Hardcore Fans: Album (9.3/10)
This album is an amazing treat for hardcore fans. The band said that it was not a concept album, but the album very much plays as a concept album directed at the loss of Jimmy. With everything that has happened in the A7X family this album hits every emotion and directs us through the bands journey. We should all be happy that we got an album at all, much less one of amazing quality and delivery.

Win: Fiction - Getting to hear the Rev's voice and brilliance one more time.

Fail: Danger Line - Not a horrible track, but didn't mesh with the rest of the album at all.

Casual Fans: Album (7.5/10)*as well as I can think about it objectively.
Casual fans will find great interest in the albums heavier tracks such as God Hates Us, Natural Born Killer, Nightmare, and Welcome to the Family, but the rest of the album may be lacking for them. This album has a much darker mood and a generally slower pace than Avenged Sevenfold's previous albums, leaving something to be desired from casual fans, who enjoyed the party rock of Beast and the Harlot and Bat Country.

Win: Welcome to the Family - A high paced, very catchy, thrilling song that will make just about everybody who enjoys music bounce with approval.

Fail: Fiction - This track just can't be appreciated if you don't understand the meaning behind the album.

One last thing, this review was simply my personal perspective of the meaning behind the songs and the album as whole.
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Comments

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 30, 2010 4:33:40 PM PDT
sfgirl says:
As an ex-rocker/A7X junkie, I admit seeing their album had finally dropped (I figured they'd died with Jimmy) I felt a bit of excitement. Only because I know how talented and vocally blessed this band is. Knowing where their talents come from has always been purposely pushed out of my head to remove all blocks when I needed the strength of their angst to drive me. Not needing that now, and actually being happy(?) where Ive been since their last album, I still had to check out the sound post Jimmy. The first track pretty much lays it wide open, their stand and chosen lot in life and the chilling cover graphics immediately sing along.
I was thankful to hear they havent changed but there wasnt enough ballad-type songs to showcase Shadows amazing vocal abilities....UNTIL
I heard Fiction.
Without reading any reviews or knowing which song was dedicated/written for/by Jimmy, I immediately heard the melodic and quite unique range of Shadows talented cords and stopped to listen. And listen again. And again. And before I jumped on the "buy" button I needed to know more behind this. Would I really listen to it, now that I have found what I was driving to get through this band years ago? Is it consistently gorgeous and flowing with minor ups and downs?
I read the above review of the song, and my jaw dropped. Maybe I lost my angst, maybe I got what i wanted and can't even find it in me to hate me, which has NEVER been gone. But this track goes deeper than that. Deeper than screaming or pumping beats and heavy guitar riffs.
HOW THE "HELL" did I instantly choose this song to buy over all the others? What did Jimmy go through when creating this masterpiece? Apparently the foundation for an entire album and who knows how many more to come. Until the Devil's done with them I guess.
This track will find the dark, hidden rocker in anyone.
Well, it's a little refreshing to see A7X has chosen their fate and is being blatantly upfront about where they stand. Their last two albums only held a little teaser. I think they want to meet Jimmy ASAP. Their definitely on the right path.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2010 5:07:23 PM PDT
I just wanted to say this album is great! I disagree with the author that DANGER LINE is the worst song of the album. Danger Line is the best song on the Album.

Posted on Oct 27, 2011 10:38:01 AM PDT
thereaper says:
I LOVE Avenged Sevenfold. I'm a late fan, but I love everything they have done, and have thrown myself entirely into their music and learning what I can about them. That said, I consider myself a hardcore fan, and Fiction was certainly a treat, and So Far Away's raw emotion is heartbreaking. I can't listen to those 2 songs without crying! I love the entire album, including danger line, and yeah I guess it doesn't fit with a certain "concept", but it's still a great song alone and shouldn't get less points for being on this album.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 9:06:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 2, 2012 9:08:07 AM PDT
D. Bennett says:
I agree with Sean, the album is great, and Danger Line is also one of my favorite songs on the album. Gives me chills. Good review!

Posted on Jul 19, 2013 2:14:09 PM PDT
It just heard in a video that "Save Me" was what the Rev called his masterpiece. Unfortunately it's not Fiction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dro2lIfyMug
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