The one metal band of their generation routinely touted as potential festival headliners, Avenged Sevenfold have never been short of ambition or tunes, and yet their last two albums were undeniably patchy and unfocused. Seemingly the Californians' first wholesale bid for rock immortality, Hail to the King makes no apologies for its strident saluting of metal's established legends, with several eerily familiar riffs and dynamic moments that Metallica's lawyers might consider a little cheeky. However, shorn of its predecessors' sonic clutter and over-egged arrangements, Hail swiftly turns its old-school preoccupation into a virtue via a stirring, muscular batch of songs.
The bowels of hell used to disgorge metal messiahs like Avenged Sevenfold all the time. But these days, the band's vision of mainstream headbanging is as adorably quaint as a glow-in-the-dark Iron Maiden poster in a rec room that Dad converted to storage space in 1994. Fusing elements of goth, screamo and what was once called nu metal with the late-Seventies new wave of British metal-metal, their sixth LP piles clarion solos atop clean, sludge-chug riffs.
Following the release of "Carry On" for the Call of Duty Arms: Black Ops II video game, Avenged Sevenfold returned to the studio with new drummer, Arin Ilejay of Confide, to record 2013's Hail to the King. In a press announcement, vocalist M. Shadows announced they would be attempting to go back to their Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin roots, and at the surface, the idea of dumbing down their music to sturdy classic rock grooves made a lot of sense, since many of the compositions on their last two albums had become overwrought with studio overdubbing.
Like an actual monarch, Avenged Sevenfold's latest, Hail to the King, will undoubtedly face intense public scrutiny. It is the group's first record with absolutely no musical contribution from deceased drummer the Rev, and the first full release featuring his replacement, Arin Ilejay. Leery fans will find the uninspired drumming to be the least of their problems, as it fits perfectly with a far more glaring issue: uninspired songwriting.
Review Summary: Come along the magical musical miscarriage tourSince the release of Death Magnetic, news on a new Metallica album has been pretty quiet. Heavy touring has kept fans from frothing at the mouth, but every year takes a little more out of the average ‘tallica devotee. While Death Magnetic held a few strong songs, there was hope that with the next record they could combine their old aggression with a little more honest songwriting.
Throughout the course of Avenged Sevenfold’s last few albums, they have evolved into a more hard-rock-oriented wrecking crew while still retaining a strong tie to their metallic roots. With an evident desire to write the biggest music imaginable, they have upped the game with every release, and Hail To The King is an epic album indeed—and possibly their best to date. Yes, at times it sounds like a virtual rewrite of Metallica’s Black Album, at others Use Your Illusion-era Guns N’ Roses, but this just channels into it being a great soundtrack for whipping arena audiences into a frenzy.