Winter Music Conference

Whose Revenge?

Genesis 4:15 — "But the Lord said to him, öNot so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.' Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him."

Excuse me if I err — those catechism classes were years ago, and I wasn't exactly awake through most of them — but I was under the impression that the Lord's mark on Cain would be a little cleverer than the dopey "dolphin splash" hairdo and mascara. Sorry, big Guy, but you were snoozing in 1999 when a handful of teenagers got together in Huntington Beach, California, to form a band and get a little vengeance of their own. So if Cain's great-great-greatgrandson, Lamech, suffered 77 times for murder (Genesis 4:24), then Avenged Sevenfold's "vengeance" crime shall be suffered what, seven billion times? Or is it the fans who'll suffer?

More than biblical musings, Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) makes even wilder claims when it comes to name-dropping influences — Iron Maiden, Bad Religion, and Dream Theater. So to the casual listener, A7X should sound like a balanced mix of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Against the Grain, and Images and Words, right? No. Nice fucking try. What you get with A7X is the usual heavy-sounding riffage broken into the template that must include a slow breakdown, crackly solos, and vocals ranging from the low guttural to the high falsetto screams. Not that they are bad musicians — the quintet of M. Shadows (vocals), Synyster Gates (lead guitar), Zacky Vengeance (guitar), Johnny Christ (bass), and The Reverend (drums) can actually play their stuff quite well — but as noted on numerous fan and review sites, something has been a little off since they dropped out of cool indie Hopeless Records and signed with Warner Bros. for last June's City of Evil album.

What everyone seems to be peeved about is the production value of the album and how the band fails to catch it live. Sounds like WB brass meddling where it shouldn't — 'cause memory serves me better here than with theology, and the two Hopeless full-lengths were way more exciting and raw than this new album. And it's not indie purism at hand here; A7X has worked hard for its spotlight with heavy touring and four albums in a span of seven years.

If it wasn't broke, why did you fix it? Even Cain is gonna agree with that.

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Abel Folgar

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