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Hear ye, hear ye, bow down to A7x’s new release “Hail To The King”

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Being an Avenged Sevenfold follower from its origins, I can tell that this band has clearly created a plan. Every album shows an evolution of Avenged Sevenfold, which uses the abbreviation “A7x”, whether it’s being more lyrical or adding a more heavy instrumental segment. After the death of the founder and the original drummer of A7x, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, Sevenfold lost some of its creativity and spunk, which you’d think would have hindered its creative force, but not so much. The first album created, post-Rev was “Nightmare” which was released in 2010.  “It’s the darkest, the coldest, most numb album I’ve ever heard,” lead guitarist Zachary Vengeance said. “Nightmare” was a beautiful rampage of powerful imagery ballads and insane guitar riffs that took you through a downward spiral into a dark and demon filled dream realm.

Avenged Sevenfold’s new album “Hail To The King” hosts familiar notes similar to that of the legends of heavy metal: Iron Maiden, Alice in Chains, Motley Crue, and Guns and Roses. This is Avenged Sevenfold’s sixth studio album.

“Shepherd of Fire” is the first song on this album, which hones in on Metallica-like vibes to get the listener prepared for what follows: an arena-ready, hyped-up melody that is classic A7x. Shadows’s (the lead singer) voice keeps up with the tempo, adding an eerie yet glorifying tone to the beats of the drum. The lyrics of the song describes a god-like character, known as the “Shepherd of Fire” that controls the strength and weaknesses of mankind.

The title song, “Hail To The King” is a primary example of A7x’s first creative effort post-Rev era. The most perfect guitar solo begins this glorious ballad that praises a “King” that mercilessly rules a kingdom in which the followers of this king loyally dedicate and serve their lives to. This song is catchy, heavy and of course laced with dementing lyrics that make you question the sanity of this California-bred band.

“Doing Time” is the third song on the album and has classic Sevenfold appeal. The mischievous laugh, the disturbing lyrics, all typical A7x. This song has an electrifying guitar and drum essence, with Shadows’s unmistakable growl at the beginning. Throughout the song, his voice shifts from a blues-like melody to full-out metal. This song captures the feeling that everyone goes through, the feeling of being locked up in a prison and one has to wait until they finish their “time.” 

“This Means War” is the fourth song on this album and starts off somewhat slowly. Heavy drums break the sound barrier in the foreground of this beast, and the beat of the song just repeats itself over and over again. This song is really repetitive and probably is my least favorite on the album. The lyrics are not that interesting, and Shadows does not execute the lyrical portion very well. This song lacks creativity and substance. This exhibits my deepest fear for the band: if they try to change their sound, they may not have the same popularity as they do currently. 

“Requiem” is the fifth song on this album and it hones in sounds similar to that of current alternative artists.The intro starts strong, with all of the crazy Latin chanting (which translates to “Wonders mourning silent, I pray, reign destruction”), but it quickly turns alternative to an almost Alice In Chains feel. The tempo slows down the longer the song progresses, but the lyrics are flawless. The lyrics describe a day in which this lord of darkness rises and takes back his kingdom from that of the good and holy. I wish A7x would have chosen a more fast-pitched tempo in this song in order to accommodate these incredible lyrics.

“Crimson Day” is the sixth song on this album and demonstrates a beautiful collaboration between vocals and instruments. The lyrics are slewn-out in the most thematic way possible. Calmer drums and guitar solos set an intense slower tempo. This song shows a more alternative shift for A7x and proves that they can sustain themselves (for a little while at least) in the alt. rock industry. 

“Heretic” is the seventh song on this album and starts off with a brilliant intro of vocals and guitar notes. The lyrics are memorable and will instantly imbed themselves in your brain. This song describes demons collaborating to destroy a man chained up in a hellish underworld. Although the man begs to die, the demons try to prolong his suffering. This song is my personal favorite; it’s creative, it has a sinister vibe and it reminds me of “Sidewinder” from A7x’s 2005 masterpiece “City Of Evil” album.

“Coming Home” is the eighth song on this album and sounds similar to most of A7x’s work. This song describes a Hero’s Journey, where a young man (after he fights the devil) must trek through a broken kingdom to reunite with his wife. This song is probably the best song in the terms of collaboration through all of the musicians. It shows strong vocals, guitar and bass notes, plus very vibrant and upbeat drums.

“Planets” is the ninth song on this album and proves the validity of new drummer Arin Ilejay. The song starts off with an intense drum solo from Ilejay, then the famous 3-note guitar solo appears with the follow of Shadows’s voice. This song describes how the world has fallen into an abyss of darkness that never ends. There isn’t a heaven anymore; all that’s left is a war-stricken planet that is slowly killing itself.

“Acid Rain” is the tenth and final song on this album. It starts off with a melancholy piano riff with and added eerie background whooshing sound. This song hones in on a blues or jazz tendency; the lyrics are slow but powerful and describe of a precious love. It describes a modern-day Romeo and Juliet tragedy, where this man has fallen in love with this fair maiden but they can not live forever so they decide to kill each other to be together eternally.

This album was a little bit of a let-down; I was expecting a more complex composition of demented and twisted lyrics and instrumentals from Avenged Sevenfold. This album is a far cry from the 2010 gem “Nightmare.” Granted, this album is still excellent. I suppose this is A7x’s way to show a progression to a more alternative scene, like most heavy metal artists after so many years. Avenged Sevenfold has an excellent holding in the heavy metal field, and I just hope they stay on that track rather than veering into an alternative or progressive rock band.

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The School Newspaper of West Shore Junior/Senior High School
Hear ye, hear ye, bow down to A7x’s new release “Hail To The King”