Avenged Sevenfold "Hail to the King" Album Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Wed, 21 Aug 2013 08:45:18
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A bell tolls at the beginning of Avenged Sevenfold's new masterpiece Hail to the King—out August 27.
That ominous tone signals a new dawn not only for the Southern California outfit but also for heavy metal itself. Hail to the King doesn't just raise the bar for the band, but it raises the bar for everyone else to follow and compete with. The throne has been vacant for some time when it comes to hard rock, now it's time to say Hail to the King.
That same bell ignites the scorching "Shepherd of Fire". M. Shadows announces, "Know me by name"—and oh, they will. Building on the group's classic sound, Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance deliver some of their most memorable riffs to date, tapping into a Vulgar Display of groove. This is no throwback though. The band may have been imbibing quite a bit of Pantera, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, and Metallica while making the album, but this is distinctly its own monster. The title track and first single wields a massive hook like a battle axe, while "Doing Time" coasts forward at light speed on lyrical guitar-ing as M. Shadows delivers a snarling refrain. "This Means War" functions as a declaration for the frontlines held down by Johnny Christ's stomping bass line and Arin Ilejay's throbbing beats. "Requiem" could've been taken from the Suspiria soundtrack it's so downright creepy, especially as soon as the band erects a wall of distortion and Shadows channels King Diamond saying, "Heaven is burning down".
"Heretic" was meant to be chanted along to in stadiums worldwide, especially as it careens from more of that mind-blowing fretwork from the Gates and Vengeance. Listening to the album's solos and riffs, it's clear that these two remain one of the greatest guitar duos in history—regardless of genre.
Everything culminates on the somber "Acid Rain". It's a pensive and powerful ending, and it illuminates just how magnificent Shadows's voice is. Let pour down.
The bell has rung, and Avenged Sevenfold have arrived as the kings of heavy metal.
Stream Hail to the King now at iTunes (US, Canada, UK and where available)
What's your favorite Avenged Sevenfold song?
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