Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold (a7x), a metal group from Orange County, California, is the band’s fifth, full-length studio album. This sixty-six minute long album composed of eleven tracks is a tribute to James “The Reverend” Sullivan, the band’s former drummer who died as a result of an accidental overdose in 2009 at the age of 28. The members of A7X include Zacky Vengeance, guitar, M. Shadows, vocals, Synyster Gates, guitar, Johnny Christ, Bass, and Mike Portnoy, who replaced The Rev on drums. The band while classified as metal, incorporates a variety of sounds into their music. Their influences range from rock to country to hip-hop to screm-o and everything in between to create a unique sound that defines and has grown with Avenged Sevenfold.
The album Nightmare, ranging in sound from wailing guitars and pounding drums to melodic ballads has very deep meanings. The song that carries the title of the album, “Nightmare,” was actually written by the Rev just before his death and can be interpreted as the effects of drugs on a person or as living through a personal hell as the result of some past horror.
The original purpose of the album was to be a concept album, however the sudden death of the Rev shifted the purpose to become a tribute to him. “So Far Away,” the sixth song on the album was written by Synyster Gates entirely about the Rev, as a way to say goodbye. “A final song, a last request. A perfect chapter laid to rest.” Many of the other songs on the album contain lines not only commemorating the Rev’s life, but also honoring him in death, and saying goodbye. This album is absolutely full of raw emotion that even without knowing the cause behind it, the listener can feel.
Nightmare is my favorite A7X album, and one of my favorite albums of all time. The pain of losing a friend and everything that comes with it is so clearly expressed that anyone who has ever felt pain in life can relate to. My favorite song on the album is “Buried Alive.” It has an epic instrumental introduction and builds in power as the song progresses. Like the other songs on the album it deals with the death of the Rev, however, the metaphor of being buried alive that is carried throughout the song can be applied to other problems people face. I highly recommend this album and give it a five star rating.