Avenged Sevenfold's third album, 2005's City Of Evil, brought the band a hit ("Bat Country"), a headlining slot on Ozzfest, the Best New Artist Award at MTV's 2006 Video Music Awards, and a stretch on Total Request Live. With that level of mainstream success, it'd seem safe to assume that the follow-up would completely embrace My Chemical Romance-style pop-metal—but that assumption would be wrong. Avenged Sevenfold is still heavy by most standards, incorporating Black Album-era Metallica (especially on the politically charged opener, "Critical Acclaim") into the band's composite of '80s European power-metal, eyeliner emo, late-'90s alt-rock, and modern thrash. 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.
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