Avenged Sevenfold Albums Ranked

Hate list features? Feel free to skip this article and others in this series.

Here I’ll be ranking the albums by certain bands in order from Best (actually my subjective favourite) to worst/least good (subjectively, in my opinion). Number 1 is obviously the best. The lowest number is my least favourite.

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DAY 6 – AVENGED SEVENFOLD:

Its strange, but Avenged Sevenfold are a band I feel kind of embarrassed to like. I don’t know why, but I would never wear an Avenged Sevenfold t-shirt or list them in a list of my favourite bands. I probably would give a non-committal answer and look at the floor if someone asked me if I was a fan. I have no idea why, other than I associate them with people I disliked in high school and an ex-girlfriend I’d rather forget. I mean, it can’t be because of how they look or act, because I will happily call myself a fan of Limp Bizkit or Twisted Sister or many others who don’t fit the exact metal sound or look respectively. That being said, after years of sticking my fingers in my ears and hoping they would go away, I eventually got into them through sheer force of recommendation from various friends, magazines and podcasts until I couldn’t justify ignoring them anymore. I slowly picked up all their albums, and I’ve seen them live twice, and they were excellent both times. I really have to work on whatever mental block makes me reticent to give in fully to being a fan.

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01. Avenged Sevenfold (2007) – It is kind of hard to imagine the same band recorded this album and the debut. I’ve heard people call this an experimental album, which I can kind of see as there’s an 8-minute comedy track about necrophilia with Danny Elfman sounding bits and a guest vocal from Randy Blythe. There’s a song with vocoder. There’s some political lyrics which you wouldn’t really expect from this band. It ends with an overly earnest country-tinged ballad.

 That being said, I would actually consider this one of their more normal albums. I mean, it’s a mess of different tempos, styles and tones, but then all of their albums are.

The real thing that elevates this album above the rest (except perhaps confidence) is simply good song writing. No prototypes of things to come. No good ideas lost amongst confusion. The songs here just work. The songs are memorable, the majority of the album is catchy and well balanced, it flows relatively well and doesn’t seem choppy.

Best songs: ‘Critical Acclaim,’ ‘Scream’ & ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven.’

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02. City Of Evil (2005) – This album is most fan’s favourite. Its definitely the most likely to make it into a Top 100 albums list. There’s a few things that rub me the wrong way, like the artwork and music videos, (and while we’re at it the bands pseudonyms have always seemed silly to me, but by this point they should have outgrown it) but after getting into the band I’d be crazy to have it any lower on the list than this.  

There’s a reason its popular with guitar fans. I feel like this was the record where Synyster Gates really stepped up and transcended the subgenre to become this generation’s guitar hero. Speaking of which, I feel like songs from this album are always popular in Guitar Hero video games.

What separates this album and the two which preceded it (apart from presumably budget) is a humongous influx of colour, fun and character. No one, not even massive skeptics could call this one samey. No one could call it boring. It’s a big hyperactive child running in four different directions wearing a propeller-hat showing off all the things it learned. I’ve never heard a song sound like a spring break beach party, a redneck sweaty metal show and a beard stroking prog metal track in one go before I heard this. I’ve never heard anyone combine Guns N’ Roses vocal patterns with Helloween lead guitar and NoFX drumming before. There is a basic framework of melodic metalcore, but they flip-flop through so many ideas it can be a bit dizzying. Its not always to my taste, but no one can deny the talent involved.

Best songs: ‘Beast & The Harlot,’ ‘Trashed & Scattered’ & ‘M.I.A.’

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03. Hail To The King (2013) – This album got a lot of grief in the press for so shamelessly ripping off riffs from Megadeth’s ‘Symphony Of Destruction’ and Metallica’s ‘Sad But True’ – check out ‘Heretic’ and ‘This Means War’ if you missed all the internet fury. But there’s a lot more to this record that the questionable choice to pinch other band’s iconic music (ok, it does sound pretty bad when I say it like that).

Besides the above taking wearing your influences on your sleeves too far, this album is a damn fine stompy, simplified, arena ready version of the Avenged style. Its Avenged made for pyro and inflatable 20 foot skeletons and it does a superb job of it.

That’s not to say it is dumbed down or unentertaining. The stompier pace allows for even better guitar solos, the first two songs are so catchy they cancel out the bad taste of the thievery and the album gets interesting and bombastic towards the end, foreshadowing a bit of the sounds that they would go into on the next record. Overall, it’s a hell of a lot better than its given credit for if you can overlook the fact that its been ‘cancelled’ by the internet.

Best songs: ‘Shepherd Of Fire,’ ‘Planets’  & ‘Hail To The King.’

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04. Nightmare (2010) – This was my first Avenged album and as such, I have slightly more regard for it that some of the fanbase. I remember I was absolutely opposed to the idea of even listening to one of their songs all the way through, but a friend who was a drummer turned me on to it with his seal of approval and the news that Mike Portnoy played drums for them.

Some people don’t like this album, thinking it is either too dark or too sappy, and not fun enough (but hey, it was finished by a bereaved group who’d just lost their childhood friend). If I was being super critical I’d say it’s a bit uneven. Even though there aren’t, due to the way the record is sequenced and the way some of the songs are structured it feels like there’s way too many ballads.

It does however have two of their absolute best songs to date on it, the title track and the fan favourite ‘Buried Alive’ are absolute classics at this stage and I don’t want to hear any playlist or see any concert without them ever again. Even when I watch their live DVD filmed on the album cycle prior to this, I still feel like it could use those two songs. If anyone wanted to know if this band was for them, those are the two songs I’d give them to try out.

Best songs: ‘God Hates Us,’ ‘Save Me,’ ‘Nightmare’ & ‘Buried Alive.’

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05. The Stage (2016) – Their newest album. Surprise released. Third album in a row to have a different drummer. Loose existential/space/religious themes.

The music on here is a lot more progressive and expansive than anything they’ve done prior. They’ve always been eclectic and diverse, they’ve always had medium to long songs, and they clearly like Prog if Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater drummed on one of their albums, but this is another step further than they’ve ever taken before. I guess the previous album was making things more simple and straightforward, so when that wasn’t as critically acclaimed as usual, they went completely the other direction and made it bigger, grander and broader.

Its got a very thick satisfying production with superb sounding drums which is always a plus for me. The vocals are a bit more tasteful. There’s a slight Soundgarden influence to it at times that doesn’t get talked about enough. Quite a strong album, I’m quite fond of it. Maybe a bit long, and not what people where expecting at the time of release, but it’s a grower and I think it will be looked upon kindly by the history books.  

Best songs: ‘God Damn,’ ‘Creating God,’ ‘Sunny Disposition’ & ‘Fermi Paradox.’

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06. Waking The Fallen (2003) – Some people think of this as the definitive Avenged album. I like it ok, but just not quite so much as all the others. I almost feel bad not liking it more, like somehow I’m doing it wrong. Imagine listening to Killswitch but not liking Alive Or Just Breathing. Doesn’t sound acceptable somehow, even though enjoyment of music is subjective.

This album probably has their most Pantera-influenced material to date on it, and the least clean vocals. It sounds kind of silly to say about a band as famously eclectic and diverse as Avenged Sevenfold, but the album sounds a bit samey to my ears. There’s usually the In Flames & At The Gates influenced sections, there’s usually the hardcore influenced sections, there’s usually twin guitar, then there’s usually a big clean catchy bit, and the transitions are usually a bit jagged which makes it sound kind of technical, and several times they used a mixture of harmonised guitars and clean vocals to create a bit of a Tim Burton flavour here and there. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was formulaic, but compared to other Avenged albums its closer to formulaic than it should be.

I think any one or two songs off the album are good in isolation and am happy to hear any of them on shuffle or live, but sometimes listening to the whole record just makes my eyes glaze over a bit. Especially in the early days of owning it, before I got more familiar with it and put the time in. The thin sounding production doesn’t help either.

There’s loads of memorable bits, but I often find myself thinking ‘what song was that bit I like in?’ and I can’t really tell them apart too well apart from my favourites. Although for a while it was ‘’that one with the power metal verse’’ or ‘’the one with the Spanish guitar and Axl Rose voice’’ and ‘’that one with the Pantera ending.’’

I’m very much in the minority here though. People go nuts for this record.

Best songs: ‘Eternal Rest,’ ‘Chapter Four’ & ‘I Won’t See You Tonight Part 2.’

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07. Sounding The Seventh Trumpet (2001) – I know, I know, I’m boring. The least favourite album is once again the weird demo-ish debut album from before they got famous, which isn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t recommend as your starting point, yadda yadda yadda, it’s a recurring theme with me at this point. I definitely listen to this album the least of anything they’ve ever recorded. I even listen to the B-sides collection which came free with their live DVD more than this.

Best songs: ‘Streets,’ Warmness Of The Soul’ & ‘Turn The Other Way.’

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2 Comments

  1. I get a bit like it with Linkin Park and Poison too, I reckon the poppier they are might have something to do with it. Or just how magazones treated them when I was a teenager

    Like

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