Making Of Avenged Sevenfold’s Self-Titled Album

Avenged Sevenfold is the fourth studio album by Avenged Sevenfold, released on October 26, 2007 by Warner Bros. Records. The album, originally slated for an October 16 release, was delayed by two weeks in order to provide more time to complete bonus material and production for the record, including the making of the animated music video for the song “A Little Piece of Heaven”. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200. On September 23, 2008, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA. The album has also been released as a vinyl. The band supported the album with a tour, beginning a day before the release of the album and ending in 2009.

Avenged Sevenfold is the last full-length studio album produced by the band before The Rev’s death which occurred on December 28, 2009, just two weeks before the band was to commence recording their follow-up album Nightmare. His vocals are recorded in all of the songs on the album.

Although critical reception to the album was mixed compared to previous releases, Avenged Sevenfold won the Kerrang! award for Best Album in 2008.

Avenged Sevenfold
Studio album by Avenged Sevenfold
Released October 26, 2007
Recorded 2007 at Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California, Eldorado Recording Studios, and Burbank & Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock
Length 52:59
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold chronology
City of Evil
(2005)
Avenged Sevenfold
(2007)
Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough
(2008)
Singles from Avenged Sevenfold
  1. “Critical Acclaim”
    Released: August 28, 2007
  2. “Almost Easy”
    Released: September 18, 2007
  3. “Afterlife”
    Released: January 29, 2008
  4. “Dear God”
    Released: June 15, 2008
  5. “Scream”
    Released: July 14, 2008

Avenged Sevenfold revealed the track listing for the album on their YouTube profile on August 9, 2007, as well as their text messaging service, A7X Mobile. The band has also posted a teaser on a recent YouTube blog featuring an excerpt of vocalist M. Shadows screaming in the studio.

On August 17, 2007, a clip was posted with about 2 minutes of their first track on the new album, “Critical Acclaim” on the band’s YouTube. The single was later uploaded in its entirety on YouTube and released on the iTunes Store on August 28.

In the weeks leading up to the album’s release, a series of ten video clips, called “webisodes”, were recorded featuring “Wolfie the Fox”. The first webisode was released on August 24, 2007; a 3:41 clip that was posted on the band’s YouTube channel. The clip consists of a pre-recorded phone message from “Wolfie the Fox” and a few scenes of their process of making “Critical Acclaim”. Each of the subsequent webisodes was similar in content. The clips featured a short mock-interview between M. Shadows and Wolfie the Fox, various band members during the making of various tracks for Avenged Sevenfold, and other background videos. About eleven days before the album’s release, the Wolfie Trailer was posted on YouTube. In it, Wolfie sings “Critical Acclaim” and talks about the MVI version of the new album. The webisodes can all be viewed on the band’s MySpace and YouTube pages.

By September 9, 2007, news leaked of the completion of a music video for the song “Almost Easy”. It was directed by P.R. Brown, known for his collaborations with Mötley Crüe and Marilyn Manson, among many others. On September 12, 2007, the release date of the single “Almost Easy” was announced and was released six days later on September 18 to purchase via digital download.

The month of October was a busy one for the upcoming album. On October 3, Kerrang! released an article in which M. Shadows and Synyster Gates were interviewed about the new album. This day also saw the release of a live performance of “Almost Easy” at the Warped Tour 2007. Originally the band intended to release this footage if viewers watched the official music video for the track on YouTube 150,000 times. Though the goal fell short at 120,000 the band still released the footage. Another live video, featuring the third track “Scream” performed in Liverpool, England was posted on YouTube on October 11. The song was also heard during a commercial for the Scream Awards on Spike TV. M. Shadows can clearly be heard singing, “You know I make you wanna scream,” which is an excerpt from the chorus. “Scream” was performed live at the 2007 Spike TV Scream Awards on October 23. Also, LoveLine played the radio premiere of “Afterlife” and “Almost Easy”, which was guest hosted by M. Shadows and The Rev. Three days before, the Keyclub revealed an animated music video for “A Little Piece of Heaven”.

To promote their new album, Avenged Sevenfold started their US tour on October 29, headlining in Los Angeles, CA at The Wiltern. Their opening acts were Black Tide and Operator.

On October 30, 2007, Avenged Sevenfold was released in stores worldwide.

Music Style

The album is more experimental than their other material. It also shows less characteristics of metal heard on their other albums as it moves away from the metal characteristics they have used before. It has been considered as a hard rock album with elements of symphonic rock. It also has some elements from gothic rock and country music. It also is considered experimental music.

During production the band had taken great freedom in exploring different genres and styles of rock and heavy metal music. A noticeable difference between Avenged Sevenfold and City of Evil is that some of the songs take a slower pace and tempo to suit a more hard rock approach, a decision that was met with mixed responses within the fan base.

“Critical Acclaim” is the opening track on the album and features a gothic style organ in the intro. During the band’s tour this song was a very frequent opener. “Almost Easy” is the second song on the album and features a style reminiscent of City of Evil. The song also contains a keyboard overdub played by Greg Kusten. Other songs on the album contained overdubs for extra detail such as “Unbound (The Wild Ride)”, which featured a background choir, String quartet orchestras are featured in “Afterlife” and “Brompton Cocktail”, the latter which was written by The Rev. “Scream” also contained overdubs in its bass line for extra detail. “Lost” made use of a vocoder and the song “Dear God” is a country rock ballad.

The most experimental song on the album is “A Little Piece of Heaven”, which was originally written by The Rev while he took a break from the recording sessions. It is an avant-garde rock song but is influenced by Broadway show tunes and the work of Danny Elfman and Mr. Bungle, using primarily brass and stringed instruments to take over most of the role of the lead and rhythm guitar. The song tells the story of a man and woman in a happy relationship, but when the man proposes to her, she laughs in his face. Out of anger the man kills her. Soon after that, the man realizes that he loved the woman so much, he couldn’t cope with the fact that he killed her, so he resorts to necrophilia. Eventually, the woman comes back from the dead, takes back her body, and kills the man the same way he did to her. She winds up forgiving him and they both get happily married in the afterlife. It is one of the band’s darker and more humorous songs lyrically and is a fan favorite. Although it has never been released as a single, the band released an unofficial animated video of the song, which plays during live performances.

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars
The A.V. Club B
Blender 3/5 stars
Entertainment Weekly B
IGN 7.9/10
Kerrang! 4/5 stars
Metal Hammer 8/10
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars
Sputnikmusic 1.0/5

Upon release, Avenged Sevenfold was met with mixed critical reaction not only from critics but also within the fanbase. Metacritic accumulated an average score of 56 out of 100 based on thirteen reviews on the website.

Jason Lymangrover of Allmusic had given the album a rating of three stars out of five and wrote “While their willingness to experiment is admirable, despite the fact that they’ve gone overboard with their overdubs, the overabundance of studio polish leaves one to wonder if it’s not because the songs just aren’t as strong this time around”. A more positive review came from Andrew Earles of A.V. Club who commented “The catchy Stone Temple Pilots vibe of ‘Scream’ is enough to put the band back on the charts, but that could happen with more than half of this album…And it probably will”. He graded the album a B.

The album wasn’t without its more hostile responses. A much more negative review came from Dave de Sylvia of Sputnikmusic summarising “Avenged Sevenfold resemble a poor man’s Hardcore Superstar” and rated the album one out of five. Andrew Blackie of PopMatters rated the album two out of ten and dismissed it as being “Unoriginal, overlong even at a ten track setlist, and riddled with banality…” He even went far enough to add “…the disc is even being released the day before Halloween, could it get more corny?”

Despite the mixed reaction the album won the Kerrang! Awards Best Album-award in 2008.

The USC Trojans Marching Band performed the song “Almost Easy” at the Rose Bowl halftime show on January 1, 2009.

Track listing

All songs credited to Avenged Sevenfold. Actual songwriters are listed below.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Critical Acclaim” M. Shadows 5:14
2. “Almost Easy” Rev 3:54
3. “Scream” Shadows 4:48
4. “Afterlife” Rev 5:53
5. “Gunslinger” Shadows, Gates, Rev 4:11
6. “Unbound (The Wild Ride)” Shadows, Rev, Gates 5:11
7. “Brompton Cocktail” Rev 4:13
8. “Lost” Gates, Zacky Vengeance, Shadows; Rev 5:02
9. “A Little Piece of Heaven” Rev 8:01
10. “Dear God” Gates, Johnny Christ, Vengeance, Shadows 6:33
Total length:
53:30

Singles

Year Title Chart positions
US Hot 100 US Mainstream Rock US Modern Rock UK Singles Chart UK Rock Chart
2007 “Critical Acclaim”
“Almost Easy” 106 3 6 67 1
2008 “Afterlife” 11 20 197 1
“Dear God” 3
“Scream” 9 26

MVI

  • The Making of Avenged Sevenfold
  • The Making of Avenged Sevenfold (animated short)
  • “A Little Piece of Heaven” (animated music video)
  • “Crossroads” B-side (song)
  • Studio tour
  • Producer for a Day
  • Pre-encoded MP3s for all tracks
  • Future Avenged Sevenfold updates (e.g. songs, videos, etc.)
  • Making of “Afterlife” video
  • “Afterlife” (live) from the band’s new CD/DVD

Personnel

Avenged Sevenfold
  • M. Shadows – lead vocals
  • Zacky Vengeance – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, additional vocals on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • The Rev – drums, co-lead vocals on “Critical Acclaim”, “Afterlife” and “A Little Piece of Heaven”, backing vocals
  • Synyster Gates – lead guitar, backing vocals, additional vocals on “A Little Piece of Heaven”, acoustic guitar on “Dear God”
  • Johnny Christ – bass guitar, additional vocals on “Critical Acclaim”, “Almost Easy” and “A Little Piece of Heaven”
Session musicians
  • Programming by Jay E on “Critical Acclaim” and “Scream”
  • Piano and Organ by Jamie Muhoberac on “Critical Acclaim”, “Unbound (The Wild Ride)”, ‘Lost”, and “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Piano by Greg Kusten on “Almost Easy”
  • Upright bass by Miles Mosley on “Afterlife”, “Brompton Cocktail”, and “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Cello by Cameron Stone on “Afterlife”, “Brompton Cocktail”, and “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Violins by Caroline Campbell and Neel Hammond on “Afterlife,” “Brompton Cocktail”, and “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Viola by Andrew Duckles on “Afterlife”, “Brompton Cocktail”, and “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Background vocals by Zander Ayeroff and Annmarie Rizzo on “Unbound (The Wild Ride)”
  • Percussion by Lenny Castro on “Brompton Cocktail”
  • Choir: Beth Andersen, Monique Donnelly, Rob Giles, Debbie Hall, Scottie Haskell, Luana Jackman, Bob Joyce, Rock Logan, Susie Stevens Logan, Arnold McCuller, Gabriel Mann, and Ed Zajack on “Unbound (The Wild Ride)” and “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Alto sax by Bill Liston and Brandon Fields on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Clarinet by Bill Liston and Rusty Higgins on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Tenor sax by Dave Boruff and Rusty Higgins on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Bari sax by Joel Peskin on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Trumpet by Wayne Bergeron and Dan Foreno on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Trombone by Bruce Fowler and Alex Iies on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Additional vocals by Juliette Commagere on “A Little Piece of Heaven”
  • Lap, pedal steel and banjo by Greg Leisz on “Gunslinger” and “Dear God”
  • Additional vocals by Shanna Crooks on “Gunslinger” and “Dear God”
  • Additional vocals by Jaime Ochoa on “Critical Acclaim”
  • Scream on “Scream” by Valary Sanders
Production
  • Produced by Avenged Sevenfold
  • Engineered by Fred Archambault and Dave Schiffman, assisted by Clifton Allen, Chris Steffen, Robert DeLong, Aaron Walk, Mike Scielzi, and Josh Wilbur
  • Mixed by Andy Wallace
  • Mastered by Brian Gardner
  • Drum tech by Mike Fasano
  • Guitar tech by Walter Rice
  • Fan Producers for a Day (MVI) by Daniel McLaughlin and Christopher Guinn

From: en.wikipedia.org

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