City of Evil – Avenged Sevenfold

I know I’m only reviewing albums I love, but this is a highlight even here. “Beast and the Harlot” and “Bat Country” are two of my favorite songs, and they fill me with absolute glee. I know Synyster hates playing the brilliant arpeggios of “Beast and the Harlot”, but they knew a freaking whole-step key change at the end of a chorus that’s practically a parody of joy was a perfect goddamn choice, so they have to spend eternity playing that song’s exceptional drum riffs, waltz-time intro, and breakdown. Of course, the whole album is filled with incredible drumming from A7X’s visionary drummer The Reverend Tholomew Plague, who only writes masterpieces, and this rhythm work fits into amazing fast grooves on every single song on the album. One of the really cool rhythmic things Avenged Sevenfold likes to do to create strange and infectious grooves is to hanging onto specific beats with held melody notes and drum hits; this is the source of the phenomenal chorus on “Bat Country” and parts of “Blinded in Chains”, “M.I.A.”, and “Trashed and Scattered”. (“M.I.A.” also has a solo I could gush over.) The album also boasts really cool harmony, especially on “Sidewinder”, which has awesome minor/major mode mixture; “Bat Country”, which I think inspired some of my own work with its beautiful Dorian breakdown; and “Strength of the World”, which uses the same cool scale changes in its gorgeous orchestral intro as in the rest of the song. Seriously, even if you’re not into metal, just check out the gorgeous Latin riffing that ends “Sidewinder”. Even the bass, which you won’t usually hear unless you listen for it, is great, especially on “Burn it Down” and “The Wicked End”, but what else would you expect from this masterwork of an album?

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