Welcome to Part 2. We’ll just jump right into it.
I ended part 1 with Avenged Sevenfold’s “Waking The Fallen,” so it only seems fitting to start part 2 with their follow up album.
“City of Evil” (2005) by Avenged Sevenfold
Genre: Heavy Metal, Rock, literally a blend of everything
As I mentioned in part 1, I have always hated Avenged Sevenfold’s albums for the first few listens, and this one was no exception. Now I want to build a time machine and go back to 2005 and beat up my younger self to a pulp for ever thinking this album was bad. But to be fair, I was not alone in this view at the time. Everyone I knew pretty much hated this album and it was only because we loved “Waking The Fallen” so much. When the band released “City of Evil,” their entire sound changed drastically. It was a lot to take in at first, having one of my favorite album’s successor be nothing like my favorite album. So what were the drastic changes?
For starters, the screaming is no more. I believe this was due to some sort of injury to the vocalist from screaming too much. The music was overall more metal, but it seemed wrong with just clean vocals. The songs themselves didn’t have the same feel, using entirely different tones on all the instruments and creating just a different sound and vibe all together. The songs were even longer and littered with guitar solos. Though everything was more metal at its core, there was so many other sounds sneaking into the album that you forgot it was metal, and felt more like a rock and roll album, just made by a band I could no longer stomach to listen to. Basically, I was looking for a true sequel to “Waking The Fallen,” and this couldn’t have been more far away.
But as usual, I forced a few more listens through the whole thing and something about it made my mind change. And that something was literally everything I just listed that I did not like about it. Long songs with twists and turns in riffs, style and genres in the middle of them made the whole thing seem like an amazing roller coaster ride. Everything done musically is incredible, especially the guitar solos I complained about originally. My personal favorite part about the album was the drums. They were just recorded, toned and mixed so perfectly, and are some of the best drum tracks to ever be recorded. You could tell the drummer really went all out, and it really helps drive the songs and keep the energy up through the entire album, all the while blowing your mind with his talent.
Slowly, this album grew to far surpass “Waking The Fallen,” and still is their best album in my opinion, only their follow up to this one ever even coming close to being as good. I absolutely love this masterpiece, from the first song to the last, there is never a dull moment. Even now, over 10 years later, every time I hear the album or just a song off of it, I get excited and feel like I am discovering it for the first time, and sometimes I do hear new parts and twists, because they are so jam packed with different things to listen for. I am pumped up right now just righting about it.
I recommend this album to absolutely everyone, because there is something within this amazing album for literally everyone to like.
“Hours” (2005) by Funeral For A Friend
Genre: Post Hardcore, Rock
Funeral For A Friend is a band with many different changes in their music over their career, seemingly always experimenting with their sound and trying to find what fits them best and what their fans prefer. They seemed to always go from a heavier, more metal sound with frequent screams to a completely mellowed out, clean and melodic sound. Personally, I find their earliest works to be the best, and I prefer their heavy sound compared to the other side of music they dwell in. I first got into FFAF back in 2003 with their, shall we say, demo “Seven Ways To Scream Your Name” and I was floored. Seven songs of amazing musicianship, fast, intricate song writing and screams worked into clean vocals that created something incredibly exciting and amazing for my middle school self.
Shortly after, I got a hold of their first full length to be released in America, which I admit, was a little disappointing. It lost the raw energy and feel the demo had I so loved and replaced it with a cleaned up, more refined sound that was only logical for a growing band just starting to break ground. Even the couple songs rerecorded from “Seven Ways To Scream Your Name,” though improved and added to, didn’t hold the same charm. Already it was evident FFAF was taking their music to a different direction, however slight it may have been at this point. It was still a solid album though, don’t get me wrong.
But I am not here to talk about their debut full length, but their follow up in 2005, “Hours.” This album gripped me the way “Seven Ways To Scream Your Name” did, though their music changed quite a bit as well, but I find it to be more of a perfect blend of their demo and debut album, combining the intense metal energy with the clean, refined melodic vocals and music, and for this band, it worked fantastically.
Every single song showed off their impressive musical talents and brought you something different. It is like they are offering something completely new with that comfortable familiarity listeners have grown to know about them hidden underneath all the new. They do not necessarily stick to one genre of music, adding to the surprise and diversity of each song. Every track is indeed a treat and I still love listening to this album over 10 years later.
“Hours” has some of the best guitar riffs I have ever heard, which really brings me back to their demo and what I loved about their driving metal sound, and other songs are sweet and soft, with powerful melodies pushing you through and keeping you attentive and admiring.
Unfortunately, Funeral For A Friend continued experimenting and have always tried something new in each album past this one, still searching for that perfect sound. But I always say they found it with “Hours.” This is like a quick golden light in a timeline of ever changing and growing musical art, so I hope this writing will remind and inform people about this wonderful album. The band has since released five more full lengths, but I lost interest in them after the two disappointing albums that followed “Hours,” so I can’t say in all fairness that this is their best one, but I’m betting it is. They just set the bar too high in my opinion and will likely always struggle to reach such heights again. Not only that, but it is in my top five favorite albums of all time. I recommend “Hours” to any music fan. They are diverse and exciting enough to give anyone a thrill.