When I first looked at Avenged Sevenfold’s look and read their stage names, I laughed my head off. Long an indie favorite and now making a breakthrough on a major label, I mistakingly categorized Avenged Sevenfold with the current crop of metal pretenders like Atreyu, Trivium, etc. Then I decided to give these guys a listen, and once you get past their schtick, you’ll discover that there is some great hard rock/metal here. Lead single “Bat Country” (supposedly inspired by the late Hunter S. Thompson’s tripped out Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) isn’t anything real special, but opening track “Beast and the Harlot” isn’t only catchy and melodic, but it has possibly one of the most well played and catchy bridges and harmonies in recent memory. Other tracks, including “Trashed & Scattered” and “Seize the Day”, display some great duel guitar wizardry, which is refreshing in the mainstream metal scene considering the last few years were nothing but hip-hop beats and downtuned guitars. “City of Evil” isn’t perfect, and a majority of it is too mainstream aimed for hardcore fans of old metal like Pantera, Slayer, Morbid Angel, etc., but it’s a welcome surprise in the metal world today. All in all, if you’ve never checked out Avenged Sevenfold, give “City of Evil” a try.