Waking The Fallen
Named after a quote from one of the less mirth-filled biblical stories (in which God’s wrath is brought unto Cain for killing his brother Abel), one would expect Avenged Sevenfold, or A7X as they like to be called, to be some sort of hardcore religious outfit, or at least a spiritual hardcore band in the vein of Zao or Living Sacrifice. But you’d be completely wrong of course, because A7X actually has much more in common with classic metal pioneers like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, or even Zakk Wylde than anything to do with the Christian music scene. A blessing, you say?
Having recently signed with Warner Bros, A7X has started to get a good deal of attention. And, rightly so. Waking The Fallen embodies the epic sort of no-holds-barred speed metal sound that made Metallica and Megadeth titans in the 1980s, and infuses the occasional punk rift and layered pop sensibility that very few of the modern crop of metal bands seem to understand, much less take advantage of.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this young outfit is the way they so comfortably segue back and forth between the abrasiveness of a doom metal dirge and the soothing melodies that might be found on one of Opeth’s more laid back numbers. But they never take it too far, meaning that there are no miserable Metallica ballads found anywhere on this album.
Unlike a lot of metal, which needs to be short and sweet for it not to grow boring almost immediately, the six to nine minute songs here seem justified by the band’s creativity and dynamic twists. The guitar work is admittedly over the top at times; but in a good, fun way that makes it a blast to listen to — artfully constructed to create the sort of devastation that Rohan or Mecha Mothra (there was a Mecha Mothra, right?) might visit upon a quaint defenseless Japanese village. One can only imagine what these guys can do during a live show. But without having seen it, the production here seems to give the listener a good idea what that might be like: Brutal. Nice job Mudrock, thou hast redeemed thyself.
The lyrics and themes explored on Waking The Fallen are similarly over the top, at times dipping into velveeta territory ala Type O Negative. But fun, nonetheless. And fun is essential. Definitely recommended for fans of old school Metallica, as well as the current crop of metal revivalists like Shadows Fall and In Flames. Particularly good tracks are “Remenissions,” “Second Heartbeat” and the 14-minute two-part musical opus “I Won’t See You Tonight.” Great musicianship throughout and lots of mixed influences all well-stirred help make this an enjoyable listen. But c’mon, lose the goth thing guys, unless you’re aiming to tour with Evanescence or Good Charlotte, which would truly be a tragedy (heh).