After being a longtime Avenged Sevenfold fan ever since Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, A7X has never failed when it comes to getting bigger and better with every turn. Every album they have ever released was always something different but you could always tell it was them. Constantly striving to raise the bar and beat out everyone else. Now here we are, album number six, they continue to carry on after the hardest album they ever had to finish (Nightmare 2010) after the death of founding member James “The Rev” Sullivan.
Now originally, Nightmare was never supposed to be finished and released. After losing The Rev, the band was actually done for a couple of months. Instead the album was finished with the help of Mike Portnoy (Ex- Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob) and they went on the biggest world tour of their lives. Headlining some of the biggest festivals in the entire world was another highlight in their careers. After Portnoy’s departure, the band ended up recruiting Arin Ilejay (Ex- Confide) who had big shoes to fill but he fell right into place and they ended up recording two singles in the meantime with them. Not Ready to Die and later on Carry On were both born. Except both of those songs were not examples of what direction the band was going to end up heading. Instead they decided on going old school metal by simplifying a few things by giving it a more driving and powerful force in their songs.
After taking some time off after a very long tour, it was time to hit the studio. This time around A7X wanted something to a Black Sabbath and Guns N’ Roses style. At that moment, Arin was actually given homework so he could learn the style they wanted him to play. Not an easy task since the drums needed to be simplified but powerful at the same time. More importantly, it needed to have a groove to it. Constant writing and critiquing every little thing they could to make this album something to be more than just proud of. This is the first album without The Rev. and to follow up after Nightmare was easier said than done. In the end, the record came out exactly how they said they wanted it to. Not much you can say if it turns out like that.
Hail to the King is set to release next week. But before that, itunes is having a full-stream of the album all this week. After listening to it three times so far, my opinion on it has not changed. The old school metal vibe is there without a doubt. The riffs were great as always but they have never disappointed before. Drums were very powerful, giving that drive behind everything else. Vocals covered all areas which has never been a problem for M. Shadows. On the down side though, it’s Avenged Sevenfold and they just didn’t have the dueling guitars that we all know and love. Drums were a bit lame this time around. Lastly, I was not a fan of the lyrics and placement of the highs and lows as much. Then again, this record is exactly what they wanted, it’s what they said it would be, so what more do you want? The opening track, Sheppard of Fire, was another great way to start off an album. This Means War had probably the sickest riffs out of the entire album. It was just such a head banging song you could blare out of your speakers. Then we have the last three songs which were by far the best on the album; Coming Home, Planets, and Acid Rain. Now those three reminded me so much more of Avenged Sevenfold. What a great way to end an album none the less. They defiantly pulled out all the stunts on these three. There is just so much going on between all of the guitar solos, the orchestra instruments, piano, and harmonics it was just unreal. It defiantly caught my interest a lot more.
For fans of Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, etc… this is an album you need to check out if you have been craving some new old school style metal. For those who like the older Avenged Sevenfold, this may not be for you. Only a diehard Avenged Sevenfold can support this album like all the rest. Just remember that all of their albums have sounded different. So who knows what we can expect from them next. I give Hail to the King 7 out of 10.