Heavy metal titans, Avenged Sevenfold (A7X), recently released their new, highly anticipated album titled “Hail to the King.” Their last record, “Nightmare”, came out in 2010 and in the wake of the passing of their original drummer, the Rev, were able to flush out all of their feelings on a very emotional record. Now they’ve been able to regroup, find a new consistent drummer (Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater fame played with the band for a brief period), and have toured relentlessly while the album was being written.
The one thing I like so much about this band and what I believe makes them so popular is that every record of theirs is different and varies a lot. The evolution of this band is quite impressive and it shows on every album, this new one bearing no exception. “Hail to the King” is a very strong record, proving that they are more than capable of tackling any obstacle that gets in their way. Right off the bat, the album rips open with a very Metallica influenced track, “Shepherd of Fire.” In fact, I think it’s interesting to note that while A7X wear their influences on their sleeves (bands such as Pantera, Metallica, Zeppelin, etc) they aren’t a band that is simply a sum of their influences. Their sound is very unique to them and yet still bears all the hallmarks of their influences.
The second track is the title of the album and is devilishly catchy and already No. 1 on the charts. That’s a great thing for me to see as a metal fan because in most cases metal doesn’t ever get the credit it deserves, but A7X have long since broken into the mainstream. “This Means War” and “Heretic” are also instant classics. I also really like the opening chant to “Requiem.” They’ve always had a slightly satanic element to their sound since the beginning and I think it’s a little trick that they had yet to unleash and I thought it was cool. “Crimson Day” is this album’s big ballad tune and a real fan favorite.
This album has a lot of elements from their self-titled album as well as “Waking the Fallen”, but it still is completely unique to itself and will surely please their fans. The guitar solos on this record are some of the best in the band’s career and their new drummer, Arin Ilejay really fit in really well in the Rev’s big shoes. It’s not their best, but it’s one of their more diverse records delivered in a very straightforward way.