City of Evil
|City of Evil|
|Studio album by|
|Released||June 6, 2005|
|Avenged Sevenfold chronology|
|Singles from City of Evil|
City of Evil is the third studio album by Avenged Sevenfold released on June 6, 2005 by Warner Bros. Records. Co-produced by Andrew Murdock, City of Evil contains a more traditional heavy metal and hard rock sound than Avenged Sevenfold's previous two albums, which showcased a predominantly metalcore sound. The album is also notable for the absence of screaming vocals. M. Shadows worked for months before the album's release with vocal coach Ron Anderson, whose clients have included Axl Rose and Chris Cornell, to achieve a sound that had "grit while still having the tone". In order to increase stamina and strength on the pedals, The Rev would sit for hours practicing until he could get up to 210 beats per minute. The album was ranked No. 63 on Guitar World magazine's "100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time". City of Evil also appears in Kerrang's "666 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" and "50 Albums You Need To Hear Before You Die" The album was ranked No. 35 in Kerrang's list of "50 Greatest Metal Albums Ever" in 2016. Rolling Stone listed the album at No. 100 on its list of The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.
The album contains some of Avenged Sevenfold's most popular and famous songs, including "Bat Country", which is arguably their most successful to date, being one of their two singles certified Gold by the RIAA. City of Evil was very successful after its release, debuting at #30 on the Billboard 200 chart and certified as a platinum record by the Recording Industry Association of America in August 2009. It went on to sell over 1,500,000 copies in the United States, and 2,500,000 total worldwide, making it the best-selling album out of Avenged Sevenfold's discography as of 2015.
"Bat Country", "Beast and the Harlot" and "Seize the Day", were also released as music videos, directed by Marc Klasfeld, Tony Petrossian, and Wayne Isham, respectively. The Rev performs backing vocals on the tracks "Bat Country", "Strength of the World", and "M.I.A."
The album title is derived from a lyric in the song, "Beast and the Harlot".
Previously, Avenged Sevenfold had written and released two albums, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet in 2001 and Waking the Fallen in 2003, under the Goodlife Records and the Hopeless Records labels, respectively. Although neither album was a smash hit, the latter has been certified gold by the RIAA. Waking the Fallen attracted several major record labels to the band, and eventually they signed with Warner Bros. Records after consideration of several others.
When they began to write the album, Avenged Sevenfold turned to their influences for a change in style. The album abandons the band's metalcore sound. "When we started working on this record, we said, 'You know what? None of our favorite bands are super extreme, they just write really good melodic songs that are still heavy," said singer M. Shadows in an interview.
M. Shadows' vocal changes
Shadows turned to Ron Anderson, a vocal coach that had previously worked with Axl Rose and Chris Cornell. Shadows was specifically looking to add a more gritty, raspy tone to his voice and worked with Anderson for several months on this before City of Evil was recorded.
"Ron taught me how to have that grit to my voice while still having the tone. He brought all of that to the table and he brought that technique to my voice. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now, but I worked with him for nine months before the record," said Shadows, "I told him that I want my voice to sound different from everybody else, but I wanted those characteristics in my voice...It was one of those things that we just wanted to go all the way with it."
City of Evil features most of the songs that Avenged Sevenfold has made videos for. On May 4, 2005, they released a promotional video for "Burn It Down", which was done in the same way as "Unholy Confessions" from Waking the Fallen (live footage with dubbed music). On July 28, 2005, their first professional video for a song on the album, "Bat Country", was released. It was directed by Marc Klasfeld. On February 6, 2006, "Beast and the Harlot" was released. This was a few weeks after it had been leaked on YouTube. It was directed by Tony Petrossian. Most recently, on June 30, 2006, the video for "Seize the Day" was released on Avenged Sevenfold's MySpace. The video was directed by Wayne Isham.
The album debuted at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 selling over 30,000 copies. Rolling Stone praised the guitar work, giving the album three out of a possible five stars. Johnny Loftus of Allmusic rated the album three-and-a-half stars out of five and commented "...Avenged Sevenfold gets all the pieces right, and sound like they're having more fun here than in the scattershot approach of the first couple records". The British version of the German magazine, Metal Hammer gave the album an eight out of ten rating with Katie Parsons concluding "They have done it their way, they're having fun and who the hell can blame them?".
In addition, "Bat Country" was one of the breakout singles of 2005, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, No. 6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, and No. 1 on MTV's Total Request Live. Additionally, the band won Best New Artist at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, beating out Rihanna, Panic! at the Disco, James Blunt, Angels & Airwaves and Chris Brown.
Burn It Down
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|"Burn It Down"|
|Single by Avenged Sevenfold|
|from the album City of Evil|
|Released||June 12, 2005|
|Format||Compact Disc, 7" vinyl|
|Label||Warner Bros. 5439 15736 2|
|Avenged Sevenfold singles chronology|
The promotional single, "Burn It Down", was released on June 12, 2005, shortly after the album's release. As opposed to their other released videos from City of Evil, such as "Bat Country", which features a performance as well as a scenario running with the song, "Burn It Down" simply features the band's live performance of the song. However, the audio itself is not live but the album track synced over the live video with the exceptions of the first and last few seconds.
It features a mix of guitar technique highlighted by dueling arpeggios at the beginning of the song and the famous heavy metal technique, the gallop, in the first verse. The song is lyrically taking perspective from someone who has been betrayed time and time again, and will take no more ("Don't need you fuck camaraderie") and vows revenge ("Hatred fuels my blood"). The song "Beast and the Harlot", which is the previous song on the album, segues into Burn it Down. It is the shortest song on the album and is the only one under 5 minutes in total length.
Although it was not as commercially successful as later singles, it helped get the band mainstream attention. "Burn It Down" was also featured in the Saw III soundtrack.
"Bat Country" was inspired by Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the title itself also comes from a line from the book spoken by Raoul Duke, the alter-ego pseudonym of Thompson himself. While Duke was being affected by drugs, he had hallucinations of bats in the night sky, thus saying "We can't stop here. This is bat country."
Beast and the Harlot
"Beast and the Harlot" is about the fall of Babylon the Great from the Book of Revelation (particularly chapter seventeen), from which many quotes are taken, such as "Seven headed beast, ten horns raise from his head", "hatred strips her and leaves her naked", and several others. The "harlot" referred to in the song is the Whore of Babylon, quoted in the song, "Fallen now is Babylon The Great."
|1.||"Beast and the Harlot"||5:42|
|2.||"Burn It Down"||5:00|
|3.||"Blinded in Chains"||6:34|
|5.||"Trashed and Scattered"||5:53|
|6.||"Seize the Day"||5:32|
|8.||"The Wicked End"||7:10|
|9.||"Strength of the World"||9:14|
Personnel listing as adapted from album liner notes:
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