Friday, 26 September 2008

CD Review: Waking The Fallen, by Avenged Sevenfold (2003)

The second Avenged Sevenfold CD sees the band maturing nicely and taking on long, complex and for the most part successful compositions. There is more singing and less screaming from M. Shadows, and overall the band sounds more polished and controlled and less like a garage-band done good. It's easy to see why the band landed their deal with Warner Bros. after this CD.

Unholy Confessions and Chapter Four, effectively the two CD openers, set the stage for the songlist and are powerful expressions of Avenged Sevenfold's evolving sound. Both songs feature numerous speed changes and melody transitions with an unmistakable metal ethic. The rest of the CD never raises to the same heights, but it's all interesting and adventurous, with mixes of classical harmonies, acoustic guitar, and modern power ballads.

Waking The Fallen is also a coming-of-age for The Rev as an accomplished heavy metal drummer. His terrific but controlled pounding runs throughout the CD, and strengthens the foundation of all the tracks. Elsewhere, this is the first CD with a full contribution from lead guitarist Synyster Gates, and with Johnny Christ replacing Dameon Ash on Bass, the line-up that would produce the epic City of Evil is in place.

To be picky, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing -- Waking The Fallen has 12 tracks and other than the short intro, the shortest track is 4:43 and the longest is 8:58. It takes a lot of stamina to listen through in one sitting, and tighter editing of some songs and of the songlist would have been welcome. Specifically, the weak and meandering Desecrate Through Reverence should have been left on the studio floor. The other complaint is the absence of one killer, memorable track on the CD. It is a good average that the band achieves, but unfortunately without the one perfect song.

Just a word about the CD cover art, which is among the lamest ever produced for a heavy metal recording. So lame that it was covered up with a black sleeve featuring nothing more than the Avenged Sevenfold flying skull logo. Just as well.


M. Shadows - Vocals
Zacky Vengeance - Guitar
Synyster Gates - Lead Guitar
Johnny Christ - Bass
The Rev - Drums

Songlist (Ratings out of 10):

1. Waking The Fallen (no rating, short intro)
2. Unholy Confessions - 9
3. Chapter Four - 9
4. Remenissions - 8
5. Desecrate Through Reverence - 6
6. Eternal Rest - 8
7. Second Heartbeat - 7
8. Radiant Eclipse - 7
9. I Won't See You Tonight Part 1 - 8
10. I Won't See You Tonight Part 2 - 8
11. Claivoyant Disease - 8
12. And All Things Will End - 8

Average: 7.82

Produced by Mudrock and Fred Archambault.
Recorded by The Gatekeepers. Mixed by The Mud.
Mastered by Tom Baker.

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