This is the disk that could push Nu Metal into the drainage vortex and bring guitar rock back to the forefront of hard rock with a “Vengeance”. In fact, City of Evil may have the best Heavy Metal song on it that I’ve heard in years with Bat Country.
If you’ve been an A7X fan or you are at least familiar with their past work like their last disk Waking the Fallen, prepare yourselves for a somewhat new sound. Out is song after song of the angry shouting so typical in speed/death metal, and in is City of Evil with a disk of singing by M. Shadows that is a metalhead’s dream….Clear with great vocal harmonies.
The music is hard. Spectacular drumming by TheRev that seems to be preformed effortlessly but precisely. Head banging guitar solos and driving bass, put together with vocal melodies that move away from the death/speed metal sound of A7X’s past efforts to a sound that I can listen to with my wife in the car…well…almost.
The songs are epic (all well over 5 minutes each), complex but very tight. A fair analogy might be early Bruce Dickenson Iron Maiden meets Guns n Roses meets A7X’s own style of unique speed metal.
The jewel of this disk is track 4…the radio played Bat Country. But there are several standout tracks here. I think that there were only 3 tracks that I said that I probably wouldn’t rip to my library. Pantera fans will want to give track 10 (Betrayed) a listen; I think that it’s kind of the story of the last days of the late, great Dimebag Darrell (see my review of Damageplan’s New Found Power). Tracks 7,8 & 9 also shine.
City of Evil brings a refreshing, somewhat newish sound to Metal fans, and it is most definitely worth having in your collection if you’re into the genre. Give it a try.
Edit 12/27/2009 – RIP James “The Rev” Sullivan. Rock the Heavens with Dimebag and Davey Williams!