Album review: Avenged Sevenfold’s ‘Nightmare’


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

The major labels may continue to wither, but they won’t go out without a bang. After all, there’s no other way to explain the recent promotional tie-in between the new Avenged Sevenfold track “Welcome to the Family,” and its ideological brethren, the ultra-violent video game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops.”

Set to a string of explosions, helicopters and assault rifles clutched by solemn young men with shaved heads, the unabashed militarism is frightening and almost pornographic in its zeal. Whether you appreciate the veteran hard rock/metal hybrid depends on your tolerance for spiraling guitars, avalanche drums and satanic screams. Or your inclination to the aesthetic spelled out in the video for lead single “Nightmare,” with its bloody and cackling children, experimental surgeries and morbid obsessions. Consider it Edward Gorey as re-conceptualized by Hannibal Lecter and Korn.


Metal doesn’t die, it mutates, and sonically, Avenged Sevenfold has cribbed from the usual suspects: Linkin Park and the Nu-Metal school, a little Black Sabbath, and the Orange County punk-thrash that inevitably influenced its formative years. The sincerity is palpable even if the style seems synthetic, particularly on “So Far Away,” which presumably addresses the untimely death last year of their drummer, James “The Rev” Sullivan.

With imagery haunted by death and lyrical allusions to alienation and angst, Avenged Sevenfold’s fifth full-length is almost impossible to appreciate unless you fit the prime demographic: tormented teenage boys.

— Jeff Weiss

Avenged Sevenfold
(Warner Bros.)
Two stars (Out of four)

Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.