On top of Billboard and on top of their game. But does it really show the true return of form?
So Avenged Sevenfold's seventh studio album, a decade and two years after their debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpent, has finally arrived and I finally got to peek my ears to listen to it. I have to say that A7X, as their known in short, really does not disappoint in all of their albums. From the widely acclaimed Waking the Fallen to their superb, jarring self-titled album to the voraciously written Nightmare tribute to their band member The Rev, they have probably had the most consistent fans across the world. It is universal support, and that's also one of the reason why they've topped the Billboard 200 once again, successor to Nightmare, also debuting at number one with a margin more sales compared. But what does Hail to the King, the album, have in store for us?
Let's talk a little about the single we got to hear prior to the release; Hail to the King, the track title with the same album name. The guitars are just divine once the track opens, reigniting the hearts of the faithful. It's anthemic, dark and astounding, delivering some of the best drums and guitar plays in the entire album. It is one of the highlights of the album, no doubt, but does the album really circle around this one track? We've got to hear it all to really know though.
The opening track, Shepherd of Fire, really shows off Shadows' neat aggressive tone, the scruffy vocals are really focused and hard-hitting. Along with the usual round of compelling drum beats and electric guitars, it is the right track to open with before we cut straight deep into the album title track, as I've mentioned above. It's pacing really set the tone right before we hit Requiem, one of my favorites and a conclusive highlight that really should be heard to be surprised and amazed. It's gang vocals are superb, and what a change or turn the album takes that the ferocious guitars lunge in to eat disposition alike. Shadows' really does it once again, and fits well with the grudging guitars seemingly very multitude and huge. What comes after that really made me jaw-drop even further as Crimson Day is emotionally well-written and cinematic. So far it seems the tracks have been superb and well done.
I have a little problem with the album on a whole though. While the songs are excellent individually, the combined process and track-list don't really seem to comprise very well together, seemingly at the middle, they've been told by the label to mix-and-match so that the tracks 'run well enough' and just so as to put it and concentrate on solely the tracks and songs. Other than some of the other songs mentioned, the album seems to be really easy to not be surprised, more of a usual routine than what I've heard before from their past albums. It's like the same with it mostly, with some exceptions like I've said, Crimson Day. The general consensus is the album seems to have empty fillers of guitar chords and drumming, which would be better replaced with tracks that would have been equipped of handling both the filler voids and really deliver another side of the band we've not heard. Other than that, the album is solid, so let me pick out my favorites and recall some highlights.
Nothing tops Crimson Day and Hail to the King as high as I would've expected. These two tracks are humongous, especially Crimson Day, the emotional bred breathing throughout and Hail to the King is the ultimate single that the album deserves and needs. Another of my favorites that is hard-hitting and solid as a whole, is Coming Home. It's loud, desperate and ferocious. All in all, the track is stunning. Acid Rain is also an overall favorite, almost comparable to Crimson Day, but Shadows' vocals shine here than on the former track, and really shows the lyrical presentation that is well-thought and carefully written. It's calm and generally nearing the end of the track, it's subtly soothing and offers tranquility to the soul.
Overall: 8.5/10 - The album is solid throughout, offering different vibes and often leaving you with bated breath and jarred. Avenged Sevenfold's reappearance from the music world seems to have left other rock acts to gather their guitars and write something better. Hail to the King has not just raised the bar of the rock and metal genre, but it's reminded us of the band's talents and their prolific return in true honorary style. You will not be disappointed, trust me.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.