Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Avenged Sevenfold – Hail to the King

A7X’s gift to Wills and Kate, no doubt.

Anthony Easton: I always thought that they loved Jesus, but apparently they are not a religious band. Figuring out if this kind of metal has a specific Christian eschatology, or just apocalypticism for the sake of the apocalyptic, is always a bit of a pain. Extra point for being this consistently excellent for this long.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: The moment I knew the 2003 album Waking the Fallen was a close friend came when I heard M Shadows’ melodramatically squealing the following over the late Jimmy Sullivan’s louder-than-hell drum fills of all time: “I came here to kill you! Won’t leave until you’ve diiiiedd!” Avenged Sevenfold sounded like real rock stars, a group of Orange Country hardcore jocks who reinvented themselves as over-the-top power metal cartoons, fucking and fighting through the rock world. They were modern enough to appeal to the hardcore-loving teens, traditional enough to get horns thrown by metalheads and showy enough to draw in Guns’n’Roses comparisons. Post-WTF (the truest acronym of all time), they became simply another band, their transgressions too polished to truly thrill, their saviours of rock stance more laughable than laudable. “Hail to the King” won’t reverse these turns, plodding through ruined-world metal clichés that Shadows simply can’t make exciting anymore until a standardised axe solo. Ten years sure can take the wind out of your sails.

Alfred Soto: They lean hard on the Metallica mannerisms but when the riffs flex there’s no muscle, and the drums could have been played by Rikki Rockett.

David Turner: Shredding? That is the word here, these guys are shredding right? People enjoy when guys play guitar and shred well? They must, because how else would we have arrived at the Guitar Hero series. That was a moment wasn’t it *hi-fives 2007*.

Jonathan Bogart: I’ve never listened to Avenged Sevenfold before. If I’d known they were a tribute act to Metallica’s Black Album, I might have.

Brad Shoup: Such a sludge: a mid-tempo glammy tale of a tyrant and his iron syntax. (I know it’s obvious, but I was hoping the title was a reference to this.) It’s on the chorus, when Shadows trades pulpy imagery for shrugged platitudes, that things get interesting. I appreciate A7X taking it back to the 80s and beyond. I just want more songs that sound like Dokken, not Dokken music videos.

Jessica Doyle: Avenged Sevenfold apparently prides itself on having moved away from metalcore and towards a more accessible, or at least familiar, sound: lead singer M. Shadows invoked Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin when talking about plans for Hail to the King. So what does a self-confessed metal newb think? That “Hail to the King” sounds more competent than compelling. Hasn’t metal been playing around with quasi-medieval, vaguely-Christian folklore since Gary Gygax was printing up the first-edition rules? Shouldn’t this qualify as only a bare skimming of the themes?

Will Adams: Five minutes of by-the-numbers guitar work and a feeble chug that, if all else fails, will make for a challenging Guitar Hero level.

Edward Okulicz: Your rawk reference points here are a mixed bag, sadly. At least two bits remind me of AC/DC (one of “T.N.T.” and the other of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”) and the opening of the verses is straight out of “Enter Sandman” and that’s just peachy. It’s too wussy to thrash my brain — it’s the lifeless drums — but it rocks along nicely enough for my ears. I confess my initial uncharitable opinion was that it was about as fierce as that Kiss comeback record 15 years ago — again, blame the drums.


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