Avenged Sevenfold revealed the track listing for the album on their YouTube profile on August 9, 2007, as well as their text messaging service, A7X Mobile. The band has also posted a teaser on a recent YouTube blog featuring an excerpt of vocalist Matthew Sanders screaming in the studio.
On August 17, 2007, a clip was posted with about 2 minutes of their first track on the new album, "Critical Acclaim" on the band's YouTube. The single was later uploaded in its entirety on YouTube and released on the iTunes Store on August 28.
In the weeks leading up to the album's release, a series of ten video clips, called "webisodes", were recorded featuring "Wolfie the Fox". The first webisode was released on August 24, 2007; a 3:41 clip that was posted on the band's YouTube channel. The clip consists of a pre-recorded phone message from "Wolfie the Fox" and a few scenes of their process of making "Critical Acclaim". Each of the subsequent webisodes was similar in content. The clips featured a short mock-interview between Matthew Sanders and Wolfie the Fox, various band members during the making of various tracks for Avenged Sevenfold, and other background videos. About eleven days before the album's release, the Wolfie Trailer was posted on YouTube. In it, Wolfie sings "Critical Acclaim" and talks about the MVI version of the new album. The webisodes can all be viewed on the band's MySpace and YouTube pages.
By September 9, 2007, news leaked of the completion of a music video for the song "Almost Easy". It was directed by P.R. Brown, known for his collaborations with Mötley Crüe and Marilyn Manson, among many others. On September 12, 2007, the release date of the single "Almost Easy" was announced and was released six days later on September 18 to purchase via digital download.
The month of October was a busy one for the upcoming album. On October 3, Kerrang! released an article in which Matthew Sanders and Brian Haner, Jr. were interviewed about the new album. This day also saw the release of a live performance of "Almost Easy" at the Warped Tour 2007. Originally the band intended to release this footage if viewers watched the official music video for the track on YouTube 150,000 times. Though the goal fell short at 120,000 the band still released the footage. Another live video, featuring the third track "Scream" performed in Liverpool, England was posted on YouTube on October 11. The song was also heard during a commercial for the Scream Awards on Spike TV. Matthew Sanders can clearly be heard singing, "You know I make you wanna scream," which is an excerpt from the chorus. "Scream" was performed live at the 2007 Spike TV Scream Awards on October 23. Also, LoveLine played the radio premiere of "Afterlife" and "Almost Easy", which was guest hosted by Matthew Sanders and James Sullivan. Three days before, the Keyclub revealed an animated music video for "A Little Piece of Heaven".
On October 30, 2007, Avenged Sevenfold was released in stores worldwide.
Upon release, Avenged Sevenfold was met with mixed critical reaction not only from critics but also within the fanbase. Metacritic accumulated an average score of 56 out of 100 based on thirteen reviews on the website.
Jason Lymangrover of AllMusic had given the album a rating of three stars out of five and wrote "While their willingness to experiment is admirable, despite the fact that they've gone overboard with their overdubs, the overabundance of studio polish leaves one to wonder if it's not because the songs just aren't as strong this time around". A more positive review came from Andrew Earles of A.V. Club who commented "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". He graded the album a B.
The album wasn't without its more hostile responses. A much more negative review came from Dave de Sylvia of Sputnikmusic summarising "Avenged Sevenfold resemble a poor man's hardcore superstar" and rated the album one out of five. Andrew Blackie of PopMatters rated the album two out of ten and dismissed it as being "Unoriginal, overlong even at a ten track setlist, and riddled with banality..." He even went far enough to add "...the disc is even being released the day before Halloween, could it get more corny?"
Despite the mixed reaction the album won the Kerrang! Awards Best Album-award in 2008.
The USC Trojans Marching Band performed the song "Almost Easy" at the Rose Bowl halftime show on January 1, 2009.
During production the band had taken great freedom in exploring different genres and styles of rock and heavy metal music. A noticeable difference between Avenged Sevenfold and City of Evil is that some of the songs take a slower pace and tempo to suit a more hard rock approach, a decision that was met with mixed responses within the fan base.
"Critical Acclaim" is the opening track on the album and features a gothic style organ in the intro. During the band's tour this song was a very frequent opener. "Almost Easy" is the second song on the album and features a thrash metal style reminiscent of City of Evil. The song also contains a keyboard overdub played by Greg Kusten. Other songs on the album contained overdubs for extra detail such as "Unbound (The Wild Ride)", which featured a background choir (this song has never been performed live), String quartet orchestras are featured in "Afterlife" and "Brompton Cocktail", the latter which was written by James "The Rev" Sullivan. "Scream" also contained overdubs in its bass line for extra detail. "Lost" made use of a vocoder and the song "Dear God" is a country rock ballad.
The most experimental song on the album is "A Little Piece of Heaven", which was originally written by Sullivan while he took a break from the recording sessions. It is an avant-garde metal song but is influenced by broadway show tunes and the work of Danny Elfman, using primarily brass and stringed instruments to take over most of the role of the lead and rhythm guitar. The song tells the story of a man and woman in a happy relationship, but when the man proposes to her, she laughs in his face. Out of anger the man kills her. Soon after that, the man realizes that he loved the woman so much, he couldn't cope with the fact that he killed her, so he resorts to necrophilia. Eventually, the woman comes back from the dead, takes back her body, and kills the man the same way he did to her. She winds up forgiving him and they both get happily married in the afterlife. It is one of the band's darker and more humorous songs lyrically and is a fan favorite. Although it has never been released as a single, the band released an unofficial animated video of the song, which plays during live performances.
- "Critical Acclaim"
- "Almost Easy"
- "Unbound (The Wild Ride)"
- "Brompton Cocktail"
- "A Little Piece of Heaven"
- "Dear God"
iTunes Bonus TracksEdit
- "Almost Easy" (Jam-Along Version)
- "Bat Country" (Live at Hammerstein Ballroom, Pre-order)
MVI Bonus TrackEdit
- "Crossrounds" (B-Side)
Japanese Bonus TrackEdit
- "Almost Easy" (Live from Warped Tour 2007)
- Matthew Sanders/M. Shadow - lead vocals
- Brian Haner, Jr./Synyster Gates - lead guitar and backing vocals
- Jonathan Seward/Johnny Christ - bass guitar
- Zachary Baker/Zacky Vengeance - rhythm guitar and backing vocals
- James Sullivan/The Rev - drums and backing vocals
- Jaime Ochoa - additional vocals on track 1
- Valary Sanders - scream on track 3
- Zander Ayeroff and Annmarie Rizzo - background vocals on track 6
- Shannon Crooks - additional vocals on tracks 5 and 10
- Greg Leisz - lap, pedal steel and banjo on tracks 5 and 10
- Juliette Commagere - additional vocals on track 9
- Lenny Castro - percussion on track 7
- Jamie Muhoberac - piano and organ on tracks 1, 6, 8 and 9
- Greg Kusten - piano on track 2
- Miles Mosley - upright bass on tracks 4, 7 and 9
- Cameron Stone - cello on tracks 4, 7 and 9
- Caroline Campbell and Neel Hammond - violins on tracks 4, 7 and 9
- Andrew Duckles - viola on tracks 4, 7 and 9
- Bill Liston and Brandon Fields - alto sax on track 9
- Rusty Higgins and Bill Liston - clarinet on track 9
- Dave Boruff and Bill Liston - tenor sax on track 9
- Joel Perskin - bari sax on track 9
- Wayne Bergerson and Dan Foreno - trumpet on track 9
- Bruce Fowler and Alex Lies - trombone on track 9
- Choir Vocals on tracks 6 and 9 by Beth Andersen, Monique Donnelly, Rob Giles, Debbie Hall, Scottie Haskell, Luana Jackman, Bob Joyce, Rock Logan, Susie Stevens Logan, Arnold McCuller, Gabriel Mann and Ed Zajack
- Produced by Avenged Sevenfold
- Engineered by Fred Archambault and Dave Schiffman
- Assisted Engineering by Clifton Allen, Chris Steffen, Robert DeLong, Aaron Walk, Mike Scielzi and Josh Wilbur
- Mixed by Andy Wallace
- Mastered by Brian Gardner
- Drum Tech by Mike Fisano
- Guitar Tech by Walter Rice
- Production on MVI by Daniel McLaughlin and Christopher Guinn
- Programming on tracks 1 and 3 by Jay E