Avenged Sevenfold

Hail To The King

Written by: MN on 10/10/2013 19:19:09

Avenged Sevenfold must be one of the most hyped metal bands ever to exist, yet I somehow never jumped on the fanwagon, not because their music was uninspiring, I just never took the time to listen to them. Now after three weeks of listening to their entire discography, I feel like I’ve entered a safe zone where I can easily judge their newest record ”Hail To The King”. Following the death of drummer James Owen Sullivan (aka "The Rev"), heated discussions about the future of A7X started to arise. Being a primary songwriter for the band, the death of the beloved drummer spawned uncertainty around the band's ability to continue to compose inspiring and progressive songs.

“Hail To The King” is proof that Avenged Sevenfold still has a melodic edge and one of the most crisp sounds ever, yet I believe the record lacks the theatrics and “twists and turns” of their earlier records. With my newfound love of the “City of Evil” record where songs like "Sidewinder", "The Wicked End", and "Strength of the World" had the experimental edge and eclecticism that had me hooked, then “Hail To The King” just doesn’t cut it for me, despite having some positive aspects to it. Their latest album is essentially ten songs with massive hit potential, but they are simply way too conventional in structure and often sound painfully like material from another band, especially Metallica. The title does however hint at a certain tribute to the legends of heavy metal, so their borderline plagiarism has been justified. While every song is an instant ear clinger, they often seem to lack the Avenged Sevenfold personality.

“Shepherd Of Fire” commences the record with chimes of church bells which are eventually retired by a looming build up in the best "Enter Sandman"-style. The song is essentially quite good, with a killer solo midway, and a befitting tribute to Metallica. Singer M. Shadows' vocals sound slightly weathered, but still remain punchy. “Hail To The King” starts with an awesome guitar lick in the best Angus Young-style, yet in a similar way to the opener, the drumming remains insistent and steady, and I already find myself a little bit bored, despite some great guitar work. “Doing Time” introduces some of the theatrics that I yearned after, yet the conventionality starts to annoy me, there remains a lack of rhythmical variation. “This Means War” has a verse that sounds a little bit too much like "Sad But True" by Metallica, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the heavy fist-pumping riffs. “Requiem” ignites a bit of hope seeing as the introduction of violins and theatricalities reminiscent of older days is a refreshing turn. “Crimson Day” is a slow winded ballad a la Skid Row, which again doesn’t sound bad in any way; the solo is melodious and very 80’s like. The album also features another ballad in the form of “Acid Rain” which is proof of some great songwriting, but a little bit too tame of a finish for this album which should have gone out guns blazing.

It took me so long to decide what the verdict would be for “Hail To The King”. Like the last couple of records, the production of the record has been seamless and the crisp sound remains unbeatable. There is no doubt that the songs produced for this record are catchy, but I’m afraid to say too catchy. A fair bunch of the songs are so easy to digest that it becomes lazy listening where every element is served on a silver platter, there lacks a progressive edge and the drumming largely remains the same throughout the record. Hopefully Avenged Sevenfold have gotten this “tribute to the gods of metal” out of their system so they can get back to writing the killer music that characterized their pre-"Hail To The King" days.

Download: Shepherd Of Fire, Crimson Day, Requiem
For the fans of: Bullet For My Valentine, Stone Sour, Five Finger Death Punch
Listen: facebook.com/officialavengedsevenfold

Release date 23.08.2013
Warner Bros

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