Avenged Sevenfold’s latest album ‘Hail to the King’ is finally available. We’ve been following the bands lucrative teaser release method of ‘Hail to King’ starting with a 30 seconds preview of the first single ‘Hail to the King’. We could hardly wait to press play and listen to this much anticipated album.
After listening to the album on replay, we have to admit we are caught with mixed emotions. Your perception of this album will depend on how long you’ve been an A7X fan. In a nutshell: Older Pre-Nightmare album fans will not be too impressed with ‘Hail to the King’, we have no doubts that you will relate to the new album immediately if the sound of ‘Nightmare’ is your preference.
A7X has been labelled the next Metallica, this is a big statement and in many regards a huge accomplishment. Keeping this in mind whilst A7X takes the podium as one of the best the world has to offer, one can’t help but listen to their handy work with more interest and be a tad more critical about their work. The first track “Sheperd of Fire” kicks off with a Metallica-esque “For whom the bell tolls” type intro, but its the slow pounding drums and all too familiar guitar riffs that left us surprised.
From here on there are moments of brilliance with Synyster Gates delivering his pure class guitar solo’s we’ve come to love, and M.Shadows falling in and going places vocally where few others can. Yet all the while there is a subtle yet unavoidable familiarity about this album…
As we made our way through the rest of the album it became clear; this is not a metal album, and they are no longer a metal band. They are cementing the direction they started to take with their Nightmare album. ‘Hail to the King’ feels like a 90’s hard rock /metal album, giving tribute to some of the greats during this era. If you really want to get into it you can have a look at this extremely in depth review from Axl Rosenberg, where he mentions all the artists/songs that A7X ‘borrows’ from in this album. The blinding speed of the double bass drums and screeching guitar riffs are nowhere to be found. M.Shadows delivers great vocals yet we could not help but wonder where’s the aggressiveness? Where’s the M.Shadows from the pre-Nightmare days? “This Means War” feels like Metallica’s “Sad but True”, and with “Requiem” Synyster Gates’ solo is highly reminiscent of Kirk Hammett’s soloing style, pentatonic drenched in wah. The piano and sound effects for “Acid Rain” again sounds all to familiar, is this a “November Rain” tribute?
Then we realized we are expecting something the band never intended to give us. The plan was never to go back to what they did with “Waking the Fallen” or “City of Evil”. They built on the foundation laid by their ‘Nightmare’ album, and it is from this perspective that you need to listen ‘Hail to the King’.
With this in mind there is no doubt that what you hear on ‘Hail to the King’ will be massive hits during live performances. With a song like “Heretic” I can imagine a live crowd singing along with the melody. It has some of the most catchy lead licks I have heard in a while. With one of the best guitarists in the world (arguably) and the enticing unique vocals of M.Shadows they guys are still as tight a unit as you can get. They are technically great.
- Shepherd of Fire
- Hail to the King
- Doing Time
- This Means War
- Crimson Day
- Coming Home
- Acid Rain
Avenged Sevenfold: Hail to the King Album Review:
‘Hail to the King’ may surprise some of the older A7X fans as the guys decided to finally part with their metal ways and follow the road previously traveled by 90’s rock/metal bands. For those of you that hoped their Nightmare album was a once off experiment, which is distinctly “softer” and toned down as a tribute album in respects to the death of their previous drummer ‘The Rev”, …..sorry, “Hail to the King” confirms that they are now on this Metallica-esque road for good. Still, A7X is an extremely talented group of guys and even if it all sounds familiar, the album delivers kick-ass solos and strong pounding drums that will still appeal to fans as well as the average heavy rock music listener.