Avenged Sevenfold has officially made its case for its place on the list of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums with the release of its sixth full length release, Hail to the King. The album is ten tracks of pure hard rock that will most certainly impress the band’s fans new and old alike. The main reason for this success is the fact that this is very much a guitar driven record. Front man M. Shadows’ vocals are as strong as they have ever been. And the guitar work of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance is equally impressive. Whether in their solos or their primary duties, the pair exhibits its talent from one song to the next throughout the record. Listeners should not forget new drummer Arin Ilejay more than holds his own, having taken over from the band’s former drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. The unit as a whole has crafted an album that shows even in the face of its previous tragedy has overcome that tragedy to successfully reclaim its place in the hard rock community once more.
One of the very first things that listeners will appreciate from this album is its obvious old school influences. From the album’s hard rocking opener, ‘Shepherd of Fire’ to its final number, ‘Acid Rain’, the entire album exhibits hints of influences from the likes of Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and even Motley Crue to a lesser degree. The driving guitars throughout the songs and the equally soaring solos from Synyster Gates and Vengeance show such a certain respect and reverence for their influences. Listeners can hear obvious Metallica influences in ‘This Means War’ and ‘Shepherd of Fire.’ And the album’s lead single and title track is just one of a number that boasts influences from the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. And fans of Motley Crue will appreciate the band’s seeming influence on the hard driving, semi-socially conscious, ‘Doing Time.’ Should audiences listen closely enough, they might even hear what sounds like the one and only Axel Rose guesting on the song. It might not in fact be him. But even if it isn’t him, it certainly sounds like him. Regardless of whether or not it was him, the discussion that speculation would generate is enough to make this one more positive for the album’s overall effect.
The members of AX7 pay due respects to the bands that have come before them throughout all ten songs on its sixth new full length release. Those influences are just one part of what makes this record so impressive whether this album is one’s first time being exposed to Avenged Sevenfold or one’s fiftieth. It’s not all that audiences will appreciate from this album. Along with the old school influences, audiences will also appreciate the lush orchestra arrangements included in a number of the album’s songs. The album’s opening number boasts a solid horn arrangement alongside some very dark sounding church bells. The effect of these elements combined with the rest of the song’s musical side makes it a solid and impressive re-introduction for the band. Other songs tout some very moving string arrangements that make said songs so much more moving, even in the album’s less hard rocking moments. The balance of these musical elements makes every song on Hail to the King worth the listen. And in the long run, it’s that balance of musical elements and influences that makes this album one of AX7’s best yet. It also makes this album an easy contender for a slot on the list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal records.
Avenged Sevenfold is currently touring in support of its upcoming album. It will perform Monday in Los Angeles, California’s Hollywood Palladium. It will follow up that performance with a performance next Friday, August 30th in Albuquerque, NM at the Isleta Amphitheatre. It will join Korn, Device, and Halestorm for the show there. A full list of the band’s current tour dates is available online now, along with all of the latest updates from the band at http://www.facebook.com/AvengedSevenFold and http://avengedsevenfold.com.
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