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A little ballad-y for metal

Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold
By Avenged Sevenfold

Warner Bros. Records: 2007

This review first appeared in Turbula in January 2008.

The fourth CD from Huntington Beach's Avenged Sevenfold opens like classic heavy metal gangbusters before devolving into an eight-minute art rock song near the end that kind of sucks the air out of album.

The opening track opens with a soaring guitar lead from Synyster Gates (really) that recalls the popular heyday of metal in the early 1980s. And while after that opening, the band quickly reveals – and revels in – its 1990s roots in speed and death metal, screamo and rap, M. Shadows' vocals also at times possess the kind of shimmering roar that recall Judas Priest, Accept or Motley Crüe.

Most of the rest of the album consists of high-energy power metal that displays influences ranging from Aerosmith to Metallica to Iron Maiden. The band is tight and its members have some serious chops to go with their crazy stage names. (Johhny Christ, The Rev and Zacky Vengeance round out the band. Really.)

But "A Little Bit of Heaven" is a slow ballad anchored by an acoustic piano and punctuated with horns and strings, – and at eight minutes, it's an even more jarring change of pace than was "Beth" on Kiss' "Destroyer" album. It's not a bad song – it's just weird to hear Frank Zappa break out in the midst of a Slayer album.