Category Archives: Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold – Hail to the King [Review]

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Avenged Sevenfold – Hail to the King
2013, Warner Bros. Records

1. “Shepherd of Fire”
2. “Hail to the King”
3. “Doing Time”
4. “This Means War”
5. “Requiem”
6. “Crimson Day”
7. “Heretic”
8. “Coming Home”
9. “Planets”
10. “Acid Rain”

Band:
M. Shadows – Lead Vocals
Zacky Vengeance – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Synyster Gates – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Johnny Christ – Bass, Backing Vocals
Arin Ilejay – Drums

Producer: Mike Elizondo

Well, this one seems to be mildly controversial for a number of reasons. First, Avenged Sevenfold continues to evolve their sound. They originally started out as metalcore and slowly began to incorporate more traditional/classic heavy metal influences and now they are writing songs that I would categorize as hard rock. They are still writing heavy metal songs as well but there’s definitely some mainstreaming and a greater sense of melody going on here. Although there are cries of the band selling out, I actually think the the band is taking quite a risk of alienating their long-term fanbase by releasing an album that’s not as heavy or fast as they are known for. The band has addressed the complaints of selling out and having stated that they are simply making the music they want to make.

This is NOT a retro metal album but the band says they were listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and Metallica while writing this album and that’s extremely apparent in the case of Metallica & GNR. There are so many similarities to the point where people are saying A7X is ripping off other bands. Certainly, you can make a strong case for “This Means War” sounding like Metallica’s “Sad But True”. As much as I love A7X, yeah, that song rips off Metallica’s “Sad But True”. Also, I think “Doing Time” sounds very much like Guns N’ Roses. There are a number of Slash-esque solos peppered throughout the album as well.

I am not surprised with the style being played on Hail to the King at all. The Iron Maiden influence was obvious on City of Evil (and is again on “Coming Home”) and with each successive new release they were moving away from metalcore & nu metal and towards a more commercial hard rock/metal sound. The band has said they set out to record a classic rock/metal album with Hail to the King and that they have no interest in returning to their early metalcore sound. They wanted this album to be a modern version of Led Zeppelin’s IV or AC/DC’s Back In Black. They haven’t done that at all (that’s a ludicrous intention to announce to the world) but I do think this is a good album. It just isn’t great. I don’t have a problem with the new straight-forward direction (though I do miss the intensity and frenzy that the band has been known for) but Hail to the King falls short with compared to the band’s 2007 self-titled album and 2010’s Nightmare.

This is not to say there aren’t a number of great tracks here. “Shepherd of Fire” is a fantastic and people want to talk about Metallica but this one reminds me of Megadeth a bit, as does “Heretic”. The lead single, “Hail to the King”, is another new classic from these guys, IMO, but it’s also got a different vibe to it so I can understand why long term A7X fans may not like it.

Like I said, the album is good, but not great and certainly not the classic the band set out to make. I definitely prefer the last two albums over this one.

Highlights: “Shepherd of Fire”, “Hail to the King”, “This Means War”,  “Heretic”, “Coming Home”, “Acid Rain”

http://avengedsevenfold.com/
http://www.facebook.com/AvengedSevenfold

Buy the album at Amazon.com

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Avenged Sevenfold – Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough

Avenged Sevenfold – Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough (2008, Warner Bros. Records)

Live in the LBC DVD:
1. “Critical Acclaim”
2. “Second Heartbeat”
3. “Afterlife”
4. “Beast and the Harlot”
5. “Scream”
6. “Seize the Day”
7. “Walk” (abridged) (Pantera cover)
8. “Bat Country”
9. “Almost Easy”
10. “Gunslinger”
11. “Unholy Confessions”
12. “A Little Piece of Heaven”

Diamonds in the Rough CD:
1. “Demons” … 6:17
2. “Girl I Know” … 4:26
3. “Crossroads” … 4:33
4. “Flash of the Blade” … 4:05
5. “Until the End” … 4:46
6. “Tension” … 4:51
7. “Walk” … 5:24
8. “The Fight” … 4:09
9. “Dancing Dead” … 5:54
10. “Almost Easy” (CLA Mix) … 3:57
11. “Afterlife” (Alternate version) … 5:55

Band:
M. Shadows – Lead Vocals
Synyster Gates – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Zacky Vengeance – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Johnny Christ – Bass, Backing Vocals
The Rev – Drums, Backing Vocals

Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough is a DVD/CD release. The DVD is from a Long Beach, California concert at the Long Beach Arena that took place in April 2008 and the CD is comprised of B-sides, covers and unreleased songs. Honestly, I have not watched the DVD. I’m much more into listening to the music rather than sitting down and watching a concert. If I’m gonna watch a concert, I want to be there in person! Having seen the band live in 2009, I’m sure the performance here is just as good as the show I was at but that’s not why I bought this album. I’m sure I’ll sit down and watch it some day.

I bought the album (used and online) strictly for the CD since I’ve become a huge fan of the since since 2009. I wanted to hear these rarities and I wasn’t disappointed. From what I’ve read, many of these songs were leftovers from the group’s 2007 self-titled album though I’m not sure which ones but a few are easy to pick out like “Demons”, “Until The End” and “Dancing Dead”. Either of these could’ve easily made the album and I’m assuming the only reason they didn’t make the cut is because they didn’t want the album to seem bloated. “Dancing Dead” has actually become one of my favorite A7X songs. It’s crazy to think this one didn’t make it to an album. I’m pretty sure the covers of Iron Maiden’s “Flash of the Blade” and Pantera’s “Walk” had previously appeared on tribute albums.

Sometimes it seems like I’m one of the few classic-mind rock/metal fans that actually gets A7X. I’m not sure why that is. The classic metal influence on these guys is obvious, they just put a new and modern twist on it. I think it’s really cool these guys have been able to become one of the biggest metal bands while their music holds some of that old school metal sound.

Odds ‘n’ sods compilations like these are sometimes hit-or-miss. It’s the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with B-sides and unreleased songs but had the band thrown this out and said “hey, here’s our new studio album”, I still would’ve thought it to be great. This is how good these songs are. I’m certainly not saying a collection of B-sides and covers is equal to or better than Avenged Sevenfold or Nightmare but this is still a very good album that should please anyone who likes the band.

Highlights: “Demons”, “Girl I Know”, “Flash Of The Blade”, “Until The End”, “Tension”, “Dancing Dead”

www.avengedsevenfold.com
www.facebook.com/AvengedSevenfold
www.myspace.com/avengedsevenfold

AVENGED SEVENFOLD – Nightmare

Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare (2010, Warner Bros. Records)

1. “Nightmare” … 6:14
2. “Welcome to the Family” …  4:06
3. “Danger Line” … 5:28
4. “Buried Alive” … 6:44
5. “Natural Born Killer” … 5:15
6. “So Far Away” … 5:27
7. “God Hates Us” … 5:19
8. “Victim” … 7:30
9. “Tonight the World Dies” … 4:41
10. “Fiction” … 5:13
11. “Save Me” … 10:56

Band:
M. Shadows – Lead Vocals
Synyster Gates – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Zacky Vengeance – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Johnny Christ – Bass
The Rev – Drums, Lead Vocals (“Fiction”)

Additional musicians:
Mike Portnoy – Drums
Brian Haner, Sr. – Guitar
Sharlotte Gibson – backing vocals
Jessi Collins – Backing Vocals
David Palmer – Piano, Keyboards
Stewart Cole – Trumpet
Mike Elizondo – Keyboards

Producer: Mike Elizondo

Another 2010 release that I had great anticipation for! I was never big fan of City of Evil, other than loving the song “Bat Country”. I think at the time Avenged Sevenfold was just too new and too different to me to really understand them and I decided I wasn’t a “fan”. Years later, I gave their 2007 self-titled release a try when I saw it on sale in late ’08. AMAZING ALBUM! One of my favorites from the past decade and I know Nightmare had quite a task ahead of it if it was even going to equal their 2007 album. I’m pleased to say I think it has!

A7X’s music and lyrics have always been dark, angry and borderline emo with a twisted sense of humor. For the most part, the twisted lyrics are gone (other than the usual about death and what not) and all that’s left is a much more somber and melodic album than anything they’ve done before. There’s a real melancholy atmosphere to the whole album, the band doesn’t seem to be going as heavy and as fast as they have in the past (I think Synyster Gates sounds particularly restrained), though their are exceptions like “Nightmare” and “God Hates Us”.

The songs aren’t as in your face and didn’t immediately grab me like songs off the last album did. It took me 2 or 3 spins to really start enjoying the whole album. I’m not sure if it was a calculated move to go this moodier route or if Nightmare is a band captured at less than 100%. And that’s completely understandable given the The Rev passed away during production of this album. I know he recorded some tracks and then Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy came in to finish the album. From my understanding, most of the lyrics were written after his death and many of them deal with the band’s loss.

On a creepy note, The Rev wrote the song “Fiction” by himself and the working title of it was “Death”. He also performs some lead vocals on it and the lyrics make the whole thing an odd affair.

As for the rest of the album, the hooks just keep on coming. Every track on here is really a winner except for “God Hates Us”. It’s okay, but it’s the band going back to their metalcore roots. A sound I really don’t care for. If you like Avenged Sevenfold, you’ll like this album. If you’re still one of those people that can’t accept the blending of modern and classic metal, this album isn’t going to change your mind even if the band seems to be spreading their wings a bit more (“Tonight the World Dies” sounds like a somber mid’-90s Stone Temple Pilots tune!).

As always, the lyrics are a real treat. I love the dark imagery A7X uses when talking about love gone wrong and things that go bump in the night. I can relate to a lot of it and for this album their words have added weight.

It took me forever to get this CD in the mail thanks to screw ups by USPS and BestBuy.com but it was totally worth the wait and is one of the year’s best releases as far as I’m concerned!

Highlights: “Nightmare”, “Buried Alive”, “Natural Born Killer”, “So Far Away”, “Fiction”, “Tonight the World Dies”, “Save Me”

www.avengedsevenfold.com
www.myspace.com/avengedsevenfold

AVENGED SEVENFOLD – Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold (2007, Warner Bros. Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Critical Acclaim” … 5:15
2. “Almost Easy” … 3:55
3. “Scream” … 4:50
4. “Afterlife” … 5:55
5. “Gunslinger” … 4:11
6. “Unbound (The Wild Ride)” … 5:11
7. “Brompton Cocktail” … 4:13
8. “Lost” … 5:02
9. “A Little Piece of Heaven” … 8:02
10. “Dear God” … 6:36

Band:
M. Shadows — Lead Vocals, Keyboard
Synyster Gates — Guitar, Backing Vocals
Zacky Vengeance — Guitar, Backing Vocals
Johnny Christ — Bass, Backing Vocals
The Rev — Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Avenged Sevenfold

I first noticed Avenged Sevenfold thanks to their hit song “Bat Country” from 2005’s City of Evil. The album was an okay mix of modern metal and 80s metal, but I had trouble getting into it fully.

Knowing that I was planning on seeing this band in concert soon, I decided to pick up this 2007 self-titled release to get familiar with some more of their songs. I have to say, I really love this album. It’s very ambitious and the band tries to spread their wings a bit with songs like “Lost” (which uses auto-tune to a very poppy effect) and “Dear God”, a country rocker, which funny enough was originally titled “Country Rocker”.

I’ve seen some reviews knock the band for going in this more layered and polished direction (tons of orchestration is used, so much I didn’t even bother adding them in the Additional Musicians credits) but I love it. I really enjoy the lyrics as well.

I’ve definitely become a fan of this band and now I need to go find City of Evil and give that another listen…

Highlights: “Almost Easy”, “Scream”, “Afterlife”, “Unbound (The Wild Ride)”, “Lost”, “A Little Piece of Heaven”, “Dear God”

www.avengedsevenfold.com
www.myspace.com/avengedsevenfold

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