Record of the Week: Avenged Sevenfold – Hail to the King
Three years have passed now since Avenged Sevenfold’s last album, Nightmare, and the tragic passing of the band’s drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan; but alas, the American heavy-metal band is finally back with their new album ‘Hail to the King’…AND IT’S A BIG ONE! Unlike anything they have created before, Hail to the King dials in on groovy drum beats, sexy riffage, and exquisitely eclectic solos; all while front-man M. Shadows sings about things like seeing the world through devils eyes and feeding demons.
Avenged hasn’t been quiet about this album either. In fact, they were so amped for it that they decided to release the 53 minute, 10 track composition, a week in advance to streaming off iTunes. Not only that, but they also were featured on the cover of Guitar World’s most recent issue, released a series of live interviews on Metal Hammer.com, and could even be found discussing their gear amongst the pages of Guitar Center’s monthly equipment mag.
Having cited classic rock icons like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin as major influences, the songs on the album definitely have a nice 70’s vibe. Guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates have been ripping chaotic solos for a total of 14 years and 5 albums, so it’s nice to see a different approach from the artists. The writing as a whole seems more arranged, allowing Johnny Christ to take liberties on bass that may have otherwise gotten lost in the shred.
Not to worry though, the dual-harmonized solos we all know and love are still present, accompanied by a hard hitting snare and solid double bass. Playing on a groovy 70’s inspired hard rock album as a 25 year old who grew up listening to well… Avenged Sevenfold… for influence cannot be an easy task, but Arin Ilejay stepped up big for this one. It definitely shows some serious discipline to play with that calm ferociousness that Ilejay demonstrates on ‘Hail to the King’.
With Biblical sounding Latin chants in Requiem to the growling thunder storms introduced in Acid Rain, ‘Hail to the King’ is packed with songs that feel bigger than merely the speakers which are playing them. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking over your shoulder at times, rest assured no one is banging on your bedroom door…it’s all in the music.
*** I’d like to take a moment to “Hail to the Kings”. To Avenged Sevenfold and all the imperial bands before them who make it their life goals to consistently supply us with awesome shredding and head banging music. R.I.P Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.