L.A. Times review of ‘Nightmare’ blasted as ‘an insult to all’ Avenged Sevenfold fans


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Avenged Sevenfold‘s latest album ‘Nightmare’ was born during a time of vulnerability, M. Shadows tells the Times in Thursday’s Calendar story. The frontman of the hard Huntington Beach-based rock outfit says that the album, completed after the sudden passing of 28-year-old drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, who was found dead at his home in Huntington Beach, represents a frank outpouring of emotions.

‘You can sit there and write about it all day, but if you haven’t been through heartbreak, there’s just a difference,’ Shadows says. ‘When I was writing lyrics, I didn’t really care what I was saying; I just cared about what I was feeling. And I think we made the album at such a vulnerable time that it shows.


‘A lot of people were like, ‘Wow, you’re sure getting over the death fast.’ We were like, ‘No, actually, we’re not — we’re bawling in the studio every day.’ But if we did the record now, there’d be a lot less I’d be willing to put out there. You get more guarded as you realize what’s going on.’

Shadows details the making of the album in the Times piece, written by Mikael Wood, which includes thoughts from Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, who was an idol of Sullivan’s and completed the drum parts Sullivan had written for ‘Nightmare.’

The piece appears the same week that a Times review of the album has inspired a barrage of angry comments from Avenged Sevenfold fans on this blog. Here is an excerpt, written by frequent contributor Jeff Weiss:

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.

The line that’s generating the most anger is the closing one: ‘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.’

Here’s a brief sampling of the more than 100 comments we have received -- many unfit for publication -- in response to the review. Only the posted user names are shown.

Nick: Saying the Prime demographic is ‘Tormented teenage boys’ is an insult to all the A7X fans, including me. I have a wide music taste and appreciate any music where you can feel the artist(s) put their heart and soul into their work. This album is one of the best examples of that. If you can’t appreciate different genres of music, because obviously you don’t enjoy metal, why are you doing music reviews?

Anahid Juarez: I’m a member of today’s youth so I never read newspapers or LA Times articles for that matter but as soon as I read Avenged Sevenfold I didn’t even think twice about clicking the link and what do I get for doing that? A crappy article.

Titus: Satanic Screams? ultra violent video game? morbid obsessions? Thanks for an insightful review Jeff! Did your mom have to sign a permission slip so you could listen to such a x-rated record? next time an open mind would only help.

Sarah: Sooo...I’m 22, enrolled in the pre-law program at the university I attend, a rabid a7x fan, and a girl. Do I still fall into that category of tormented teenage boys?? Not only was your poorly written review an insult to the band and the family of the recently deceased Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, but it’s insulting to me as well. You obviously despise the genre of metal in general, and used this poor excuse of a review as a means to attack the fanbase and artists so passionately invested in it. Here’s an idea, go comment on something you actually PETA or Greenpeace. I doubt you even listened to the album, your review revolved around music video and ‘Call of Duty’ anyway. At least change the title of your ‘review’ to something relevant, like ‘Why I Wish Metal Would Die.’

One fan went so far as to suggest we run an alternative review. Here’s an excerpt of a review published this morning in the Pop & Hiss comments by Graeme Lunn:

Fans of their earlier work circa Waking The Fallen will certainly appreciate God Hates Us, fans of their most recent Self Titled album most likely to enjoy the sing-along rock anthems Welcome to the Family and Victim, whereas fans of their City Of Evil album should generally enjoy most of the album as the variance in tracks and tempo is rather similar.

Most of the tracks are healthy in length with some taking twists similar to an episode of 24 in which the track you began with is entirely different sounding from the one you finished listening to - an outstanding example of this is the track Buried Alive from the opening gentle, melodic guitar intro, twisting through it’s duration to the pounding and more angry climax.

Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater has done an excellent job in replicating the drum style of Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan and his work in itself is both impressive and selfless in staying true to the style of The Rev whilst also offering his insight and experience to the band. I am sure they and their fans are eternally grateful for him to allow this, arguably Avenged Sevenfold’s finest album, to come to life.

Read the Times story: For Avenged Sevenfold, ‘Nightmare’ album is part of the grief.

--Todd Martens

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