City of Evil

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City of Evil
City of Evil album cover.jpg
Studio album by Avenged Sevenfold
Released June 6, 2005 (2005-06-06)
Recorded 2004-April 2005
Length 72:43
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Avenged Sevenfold
Andrew Murdock
Avenged Sevenfold chronology
Waking the Fallen
City of Evil
Avenged Sevenfold
Singles from City of Evil
  1. "Burn It Down"
    Released: June 12, 2005
  2. "Bat Country"
    Released: August 9, 2005
  3. "Beast and the Harlot"
    Released: March 6, 2006
  4. "Seize the Day"
    Released: July 7, 2006

City of Evil is the third studio album by Avenged Sevenfold released on June 6, 2005[1] 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"[2] The album was ranked No. 35 in Kerrang's list of "50 Greatest Metal Albums Ever" in 2016.[3]

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. Also, it is the band's longest studio effort, at 72:52 minutes.

"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."[citation needed]

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 Hopeless Records label.[4] 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.[5]

Musical changes[edit]

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.[6] "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.[4]

M. Shadows' vocal changes[edit]

Shadows turned to Ron Anderson, a vocal coach that had previously worked with Axl Rose and Chris Cornell.[6][7] 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.[7]

"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."[7]

After the release of the album rumors spread that Shadows had lost his ability to scream due to throat surgery he had needed after Warped Tour 2003.[8] Producer Andrew Murdock put down these rumors by saying "When I met the band after Sounding the Seventh Trumpet...Matt handed me the CD, and he said to me, 'This record's screaming. The record we want to going to be half-screaming and half-singing. I don't want to scream anymore...the record after that is going to be all singing.'"[9]


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.

Appearances In Other Media[edit]

The song "Beast and the Harlot" is featured on Criterion Games's Burnout Revenge (2005)

A cover of the song "Beast and the Harlot" is featured in Harmonix's Guitar Hero II (2006) and the master recording later appeared in Guitar Hero Smash Hits (2009) and Rock Band 3 (2010).

The song "Blinded In Chains" is featured in the basic cable and satellite television network Disney Channel (including the hit comedy series Best Friends Whenever, Girl Meets World and Liv and Maddie) and EA's Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2005) as a clean and shortened version. Original length of 6:34 down to 5:55 for the game version.[10]

The song "Bat Country" is featured on Volition Inc.'s Saints Row 2 (2008), EA's NHL 06 (2005), 20th Century Fox's Big Momma's House 2 (2006)[11] and Activision's Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (2010).


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[12]
Blender 4/5 stars[13]
IGN 7.9/10[14]
Kerrang! 5/5 stars[citation needed]
Metal Hammer 8/10 [15] 3/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[17]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5[18]

The album debuted at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 selling over 30,000 copies.[19][20] Rolling Stone praised the guitar work, giving the album three out of a possible five stars.[17] 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".[12] 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.[21] 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.[22][23]


The lead single, "Burn It Down", was released shortly after the album's release. 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"). Although it was not as commercially successful as later singles, it helped get the band mainstream attention.

"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" 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.[24] The "harlot" referred to in the song is the Whore of Babylon, quoted in the song, "Fallen now is Babylon The Great."

Track listing[edit]

All songs credited to Avenged Sevenfold.[25] Actual songwriters are listed below.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Beast and the Harlot"   The Rev, Shadows, Gates 5:42
2. "Burn It Down"   Johnny Christ, Shadows 5:00
3. "Blinded in Chains"   Rev, Shadows 6:34
4. "Bat Country"   Rev, Shadows 5:13
5. "Trashed and Scattered"   Rev, Shadows 5:53
6. "Seize the Day"   Rev, Shadows 5:32
7. "Sidewinder"   Gates, Rev 7:01
8. "The Wicked End"   Gates, Shadows, Rev 7:10
9. "Strength of the World"   Rev, Shadows, Vengeance, Christ 9:14
10. "Betrayed"   Christ, Vengeance 6:47
11. "M.I.A."   The Rev, Gates 8:48
Total length:


Personnel listing as adapted from album liner notes:[25]



  1. ^ Avenged Sevenfold site Official release. Retrieved March 2012
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Weiderhorn, Joe (June 9, 2005). "Avenged Sevenfold Salute Dimebag, Shun Metalcore On Evil". MTV. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Avenged Sevenfold, "All Excess" (2007), 38:06
  6. ^ a b Weiderhorn, Joe (June 9, 2005). "Avenged Sevenfold Salute Dimebag, Shun Metalcore On Evil". MTV. 
  7. ^ a b c "Avenged Sevenfold Feature Interview". Blistering. 2006. Retrieved 14 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "Q101 Avenged Sevenfold interview". 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Mudrock All Excess". 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  10. ^ IMDB page for NFS9 sound track IMDB soundtrack listing. Retrieved May 2013
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b Loftus, Johnny (2005-06-07). "City of Evil - Avenged Sevenfold". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ "Avenged Sevenfold - City of Evil - Music Review at IGN". 2005-08-02. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  15. ^ Issue 141, July 2005
  16. ^ "Avenged Sevenfold - City Of Evil". Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  17. ^ a b Eliscu, Jenny (2005-07-28). "City Of Evil". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  18. ^ Freeman, Channing (2006-08-10). "City of Evil - Avenged Sevenfold". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  19. ^ Whitmire, Margo Coldplay Earns First Billboard 200 No. 1 Billboard. June 15, 2005.
  20. ^ Avenged Sevenfold's "City of Evil" Unleashed June 7 Market Wire. June 22, 2005.
  21. ^ Moss, Corey Avenged Sevenfold: Appetite for Destruction MTV.
  22. ^ 100 Greatest Guitar Album of All-Time Guitar World reprinted on Rate Your Music. October, 2006.
  23. ^ Avenged Sevenfold Capture Best New Artist Ultimate Guitar. September 9, 2005.
  24. ^ "Bible (American Standard)/Revelation - Wikisource". 2010-06-22. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  25. ^ a b City of Evil liner notes. Warner Bros. Records. 2005. pp. 4, 10, 11.