Avenged Sevenfold: Johnny Christ (bass guitar); Reb (drums); M. Shadows, Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance.
Personnel: M. Shadows (vocals); Synyster Gates (guitar, piano, background vocals); Zacky Vengeance (guitar, background vocals); Brian Haner (guitar); Alan Grunfeld, Sam Fischer, Mark Robertson , Bruce Dukov, Liane Mautner, Samuel Formicola (violin); Matthew Funes , Dave Walther , Alma Fernandez (viola); David Mergen, David Low , Victor Lawrence (cello).
Audio Mixer: Andy Wallace.
Recording information: Hobby Shop; ocean way.
Photographer: Chapman Baehler.
Even though Avenged Sevenfold's first two albums clearly got them lumped into the emo camp, the California quintet always hinted at the heavy metal influence of bands like Iron Maiden. With their major-label debut CITY OF EVIL, not only have they fleshed out these tendencies via the intricate riffing of dual guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates, but they've begun to dabble with more intricate, prog-like song structures. And with singer M. Shadows recovering from vocal chord surgery, he employs a considerably more melodic approach.
The first half of CITY cleaves to what longtime fans have come to expect: dive-bombing call-and-response riffing and furious double-bass-drum attacks, peppering cuts like the soaring "Burn It Down" and the equally ferocious "Blinded in Chains." Following the power-ballad tendencies of "Seize the Day," with its subtle piano accompaniment and Shadow's full-bodied crooning, things get really interesting. Song lengths start to hover around the seven-to-nine-minute mark, and intriguing nuances come into play, like the boys' choir and 14-piece string section that defines the epic grandeur of "The Wicked End," and the Latin jam complete with flamenco flourishes that close out "Sidewinder."