Mudrock's dry production focuses almost all of Waking the Fallen on Avenged Sevenfold's greatest strength. That, of course, would be performance, and the band delivers with unflagging aggression and precision. Never mind the lyrical ennui or throat-scrape yowling; there's more to this music than generic cliché. When he wants to, M. Shadows can passionately project in a way that turns even the grim "Desecrate Through Reverance" into an almost bouncy little melody. (Incidentally, Reverance? Remenissions? Reverand? Maybe doomsday is around the corner, but isn't there still time to run song titles and soubriquets through a spell check?) And whether attacking a riff in unison or in harmonized parts, the double-threat guitars of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance do their duty like search-and-destroy commandos -- in and out fast, leaving devastation in their wake. Especially noteworthy -- and note-heavy -- is the guitar solo that blazes through the last moments of "Second Heartbeat" and the head-spinning single-stroke virtuosity of the Reverand throughout the album.
Waking the Fallen Review
by Robert L. Doerschuk