Editorials

“CRITICAL ACCLAIM:” HOW AVENGED SEVENFOLD BECAME THE ANTI-LAMB OF GOD

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critical_acclaim.jpgSigh. I guess this why you shouldn’t pay attention to lyrics.

So we’ve known for awhile that the dudes in Avenged Sevenfold are conservatives (or, at least as conservative as you can be while openly running around drinking, snorting coke, and banging groupies) – and what did you expect? They’re five wealthy kids from the OC. Of course they’re conservatives.

But the band’s new single, “Critical Acclaim” – which is available for download on iTunes now and can also be heard on the band’s MySpace page – flaunts the band’s anti-liberal politics on its sleeve, and the results are equal parts nonsensical and disturbing.

From a musical standpoint, I actually think this song is pretty sweet – it’s the usual Judas Priest-Pantera hybrid that A7X specialize in, and perhaps more than anything the band has done before, it shows that lead singer M. Shadows (his real name, “Matt Sanders,” wasn’t cool enough for rock stardom, I guess) is being completely sincere when he says that Use Your Illusion I & II are his favorite albums of all time: the spoken word bit owes more than a passing debt to Axl Rose similar schtick in “Civil War,” and the vocals on the bridge right before the guitar solo bears some resemblance to “Don’t Damn Me.” And the pre-chorus vocals by drummer The Reverend add some nice shading to the song (and, to my ears, do not seem to be overly auto-tuned; take that, Atreyu).

But the song’s lyrical content is, to be honest, detestable. Shadows chooses not to call out George W. Bush and his administration for their incredible fumbling of the war in Iraq, but, rather, to lob bombs at the left for their “self-righteousness,” their “selfish agenda” and the fact that their “heart bleeds but not for fellow man.” Of course, these accusations might hold some more power if the current administration – the ones responsible for Iraq, the ones who so royally fucked up Hurricane Katrina, the ones whose Vice President of choice claims he’s not part of the executive branch, the ones who keep giving contracts to their buddies at big companies that used to employ them, the ones who have repeatedly failed to learn from history’s mistakes and are going to look pretty silly once this whole gay rights debacle has passed and homosexuals get married and divorced just like every miserable heterosexual in the world – wasn’t such a bunch of self-righteous, uncaring shit lickers that seem to exclusively push their own selfish agenda.

Then, of course, there’s Mr. Shadows’ two mid-song diatribes:

“So how does it feel to know that someones kid in the heart of America
Has blood on their hands, fighting to defend your rights
So you can maintain the lifestyle that insults this family’s existance
Well, where I’m from we have a special salute we wave high in the air
Towards all those pompous asses who spend their days pointing fingers”

and

“All the way from the east to the west
We’ve got this high society looking down on this very foundation
Constantly reminding us that our actions are the cause of all their problems
Pointing the fingers in every direction
Blaming their own nation for who wins elections
They’ve never contributed a fucking thing to the country they love to criticize”

These might be the song’s silliest moments. For one thing, if you’re upset that the kids in the heart of America have blood on their hands (or, just as likely, have their blood on someone else’s hands – lest we forget how many Americans are dying even as I type this), how about asking Dubya what the fuck he’s been thinking for the past four years? And “the country they love to criticize?” Of course they can criticize, you jingoistic cum wad. It’s called freedom of speech – it’s what allows you to write this dumb ass song, and what allows me to write this article telling you to stop acting like such a jack-ass. Meanwhile, calling the left “high society” and claiming that look down on the nation’s “very foundation” – e.g., the working class – is, uh… well, let’s just put it this way: pot, you’re black.

52704f.JPGOf course, the left isn’t perfect – I’m still waiting for Randy Blythe to pen that missive scolding the Democrats for being such pussies and allowing things to get so out of hand in the first place. But Shadows and company aren’t interested in exploring such a gray area, because A7X t-shirts with the American flag and the phrase “Love It So Fix It” don’t stand a chance of selling nearly as well as ones with an American flag and the slogan “Love It or Die.” At the end of the day, the band is just pushing the same kind of sensationalist bullshit upon which Fox News thrives. You’d expect a little more free thinking from a group that prides itself on being so rebellious. Alas – A7X will have to settle for touring with Ted Nugent.

-AR

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