Thursday, August 29, 2013

Avenged Sevenfold - Hail to the King

Overview: Hail to the Kings indeed.

Let's not sit and pretend like you don't know who Avenged Sevenfold is. To my generation (I'm 19), we remember them for "Bat Country" as that was their first huge hit. Looking back I still love that song but back in 2005 I didn't realize how much more there was to the band. City of Evil is an incredible album, that's less of an opinion, more of a fact by now. 2003's Waking the Fallen has grown to become my favorite album of theirs, it's heavy as shit while showing us the catchiness that we would come to love on later albums. If you know me and have talked to me about the band, you know I'm not the biggest fan of their self-titled album, it gets an "okay" in my book and for me, the low point of their discography. The band came back with a vengeance with 2010's Nightmare which was a cross between Waking the Fallen and City of Evil and was a surprisingly good album.

The Positive: First off, cause this is important, the riff in "This Means War" is godly. It wasn't until a friend told me that I realized it sounds pretty similar to Metallica's "Sad But True" which is one of my favorite riffs. Now I wasn't too big on the lead single and title track when it came out but it seriously grew on me. "Requiem" is probably my favorite song, with a choir singing the intro and M. Shadows singing to the same melody, it goes back to the haunting days of Waking the Fallen where they had an evil sound to them. "Heretic" continues the creepy atmosphere with Shadows speaking parts of the verses, the chorus isn't the best but the rest of the track holds it together. A7X has always, in my opinion been good at doing slow songs, "Warmness on the Soul", "Tonight the World Dies" and "Fiction" are some of my favorites from the band in general and "Crimson Day" on this album joins them. "Coming Home" has a very Iron Maiden-esque sound to it; from the riff to the way Shadows sings over it, I could see Bruce Dickinson soaring over this track on one of Maiden's newer albums. "Planets" is a monstrosity of a track, I don't know how to explain but the song just sounds huge, like watching planets collide into each other, that's what this sounds like, and it's a great sound. Lastly, I enjoy the opener "Shepard of Fire" but I don't think it should've opened the album, it's mid-tempo and doesn't pump you up for the album, but upon further listens, the song is great. The bonus track is worth buying off of iTunes, "St. James" is pretty killer, I wish it was on the standard, store-bought edition but I'll pay the $1.29 for it and so should you.

The Negative: They hit a homerun with "Crimson Day" but they hit a single with "Acid Rain", I find it rather boring, the chorus is pretty solid but what's built around it falls flat for me. Reworked it could be better, maybe they'll rework it and do it acoustically, that could work, but overall I wasn't big on the song. I'll keep it for now to see if I can hammer it into my ears. "Doing Time" is really the only track I can say I fully don't like on this album, it's just cheesy and doesn't offer much. We're used to A7X doing rather complex things but this song seems very basic to me. I was a little disappointed that M. Shadows didn't scream on this album since it made a return on Nightmare. I guess it wouldn't really fit with any of the tracks except maybe "Requiem", it doesn't hurt the album though, just don't expect them.

Overall: This album is one you need to listen to more than once, on my first listen through I only like 2 songs, I've now listened to it 4/5 times and it's grown on me immensely. The album is somewhat a simplified version of what we're used to as the songs are very riffed based. Pretty much it's like an Iron Maiden album from the mid 80's (Powerslave or Somewhere in Time) in that the guitars shine when they're meant to while the vocalist soars over the instruments, all the while the rhythm section is tight and holding it all together. This isn't the best A7X album but it's not even close to their worst. It's better than I expected it to be and I'm very happy that it is.

Number of Tracks Kept(Including Deluxe): 10/11, with "Acid Rain" still pending, so possibly 9/11.

Rating: 8.5/10

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