Avenged Sevenfold have spent the last decade building quite a substantial following and name for themselves within the metal community. They have numerous successful albums under their belts and although they’re not the band that they once were, they’ve kept on with music and recruited a new permanent drummer in Arin Ilejay. Previous Avenged Sevenfold albums have hit a home run toward previous metal titans, but Hail to the King has gone and firmly knocked it out of the ball park.
For years the band has said that they want to one day join the metal titans and pull themselves into that class above and beyond the rest. They’re not quite there yet with Hail to the King, but they’re certainly heading in the right direction and there are some tracks on the album that would certainly put them firmly into metal titan status. If you love guitar solos with passion and flair, then you will just adore this album.
Shepherd of Fire
The album kicks off with the new Call of Duty: Black Ops II ‘Origins’ multiplayer map pack track Shepherd of Fire. In true A7X style there’s a killer guitar solo that will leave Avenged Sevenfold fans dumbfounded as to how Synyster Gates still manages to come up with such original and exciting content. He seems to have somehow excelled himself beyond anything before. The drums are contagious almost instantly and you find yourself tapping along, even on a first listen and the feel for this album is immediately set as this song is packed with big instruments and big sounds.
Hail to the King
Hail to the King is the band’s first single and certainly boasts influence from many classic metal titans, such as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. It’s not instantly catchy, but the lyrics are as ever incredibly well thought out and the message they portray gives the impression of medieval England. The more you listen, the more you’re sucked in to this world of war and mutiny.
Doing Time feels very much like the Avenged of old. It’s got a dirty feel to it and oozes itself in swagger. It’s balls out rock ‘n’ roll. Think of the midnight party going nowhere in particular, but moving very fast. Dancing girls, dirty rock bands and everything in between. It’s the 80’s inside one track.
This Means War
This Means War has elements of Metallica to it but the dual lead guitar is all Avenged Sevenfold. It’s catchy as hell and mixed with a spattering of driving drums makes this song a definite toe tapper. The track rips out of its confines and sucks you in. Larger than life and with a riff that will be in your head for days. This track is a classic from the off.
Requiem starts incredibly weird. There’s a choir who bring the song in. It’s orchestral and unusual. It’s also incredibly unexpected, but it takes the track to a whole other place. Next thing the tune starts. It’s like a mix between heavy metal bands like Pantera and Iron Maiden. However, the creepy horror movie vocal is pretty cool and very A7X.
Crimson Day feels like a classic A7X power ballad. This is the first track to truly have that familiarity that this is an Avenged Sevenfold record. The track speaking of love and loss. It’s a standard for any Avenged Sevenfold album, but has that epic rock ballad feel.
Heretic is catchy as hell and is probably what fans would expect from A7X. It feels like it could have easily made the last album and is a nice link between the newer sound and the old classic. The bridge is where M Shadows can truly show off his vocals; just melodic and all encompassing. Everything about this track screams Avenged Sevenfold, but without overdoing it. It’s freeing and just got the best groove.
Sounding like it’s straight out of an Iron Maiden album, Coming Home is catchy and an instant classic. This track definitely sets the band up for classic titan status. It speaks of travels and gives you this cinematic feel. The imagery presented throughout the song are very strong and you can feel yourself in this movie of old.
The band are hitting the double kick hard in this track. Planets is a huge number. There are skins and cymbals left, right and centre, plus a riff the likes of no other on this album. They’ve got the sound to go with the title of this track perfectly and the lyrics just add to the scape further. It feels like War of the Worlds but done modern and metal and with all those bits we know and love so well.
The album ends with Acid Rain and instantly you fall in love. The track opens with some beautiful piano and the melody quickly takes you over as the rest of the instruments join in. The lyrics are stunning from beginning to end and quickly the story and tone is set. It’s a beautiful track to end with and one that will obviously lead to good ends for gigs before the classic tracks of an encore. I’d love to see this track used to it’s full potential in a Doctor Who episode or a movie that needs this gem type of feel behind it. This track is a heartbreaker and love maker all in one instant.
Whilst the feel Avenged Sevenfold were going for was a single vocal on this album, you do miss the group vocals. They can create a big fuller sound in that area, but whilst that is a downside, the instruments have been seriously stepped up on this album and used to tell the story themselves. Each part is an important as the last and pushes each track on. The album isn’t instantly what you would think of as Avenged Sevenfold, but after a few listens you’re wholly behind the record and each cinematic journey the tracks have provided have given a sound and scape that you long to dive into and stay in forever.