Editors’ Notes Avenged Sevenfold’s fifth studio album is their first without drummer James “The Reverend” Sullivan, who died in 2009. Dream Theatre’s Mike Portnoy makes for a stellar replacement both musically and sentimentally as Sullivan was largely inspired by the talented Sullivan. Though some fans believe Nightmare to be conceptual, it plays more like a tribute album as the lyrics often touch on the subject of the band’s fallen brother — they also recorded a few of Sullivan’s songs for this project. The title-track opens with M. Shadows belting out fevered vocals like a young James Hetfield by way of the late Layne Staley from Alice In Chains. Synyster Gates’ dexterous guitar leads import the fretboard-shredding harmonic style that was forged in the fires of early-‘80s British metal, especially during the soaring melodies in the chorus of “Welcome to the Family” and all over the powerful “Danger Line.” The wistful “Buried Alive” proves that ballads can still sound tough. The bookending 11-minute epic “Save Me” goes out like a 21-gun salute to Sullivan.