Release Date: Oct 28, 2016
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Emo, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore
Unexpectedly hurled into the ether at the end of October, The Stage has already been widely hailed as one of Avenged Sevenfold’s most convincing statements to date. As the one metal band of their generation with genuine stadium-filling potential on both sides of the Atlantic, the Californians could have been forgiven for repeating the thunderous, simplistic anthems of 2013’s Hail to the King, but instead they have blown the creative doors off, cramming an insane amount of ideas into 74 minutes of prog-metal bombast. Their knack for a chorus is as apparent on the shorter, sharper likes of Paradigm and God Damn, but it’s the outrageous opulence of towering ballads Higher and Roman Sky, and the overblown, starry-eyed Muse-ings of 16-minute closer Exist, that make this such a satisfying forward leap.
From out of nowhere, a metal masterpiece With no build-up, Avenged Sevenfold just dropped their seventh album, taking everyone by surprise..
The seventh studio long-player from the veteran California-based metal ensemble, and their first new collection of music to feature ex-Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman behind the kit, Stage sees Avenged Sevenfold rolling up their sleeves and delivering an ambitious concept LP. Dropped with little to no promotion -- WWE superstar and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho leaked the album's original title, Voltaic Oceans, via his Instagram account a month prior to the release -- the narrative concerns itself with the Orwellian consequences of a world struggling to adapt to the myriad complexities of artificial intelligence -- there's even a spoken word appearance by celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Despite some forays into Floyd-ian space rock -- the soloing in the orchestra-driven "Roman Sky" is positively Gilmour-esque -- the 11-track set mostly sticks to the kind of propulsive, melodic carnage that fans have come to expect from the group, albeit with a progressive metal twist.
Here’s a point of contention when it comes to Avenged Sevenfold. Can M. Shadows sing? Certainly, he does sing, and it’s pretty easy to find fans online declaring him to be the greatest vocalist of all time. In reality, though, Shadows is, at best, an acquired taste. When Avenged Sevenfold ….
Avenged Sevenfold have a sweet spot tempo-wise, and it's the one their latest drummer, Brooks Wackerman, has been playing for the majority of his career. In appropriate fashion (and a nod to their Warped Tour past), the band are at their best when the ex-Bad Religion skinsman rocks at a peppy punk pace — albeit with more double-bass.When they slow things down too much, as they do on The Stage's "Angels," "Roman Sky" and the softer side of the manic "Simulation," they miss even the head-bobbing mark, much less head-banging. However, speeding things up too much causes problems with the production — there are no samples on the drums here — to shine through.
Straight up? Avenged Sevenfold’s new album is compelling because the SoCal quintet unashamedly continue to embrace their larger-than-life arena-rock ambitions, while genuflecting at the altars of the gods of hard rock and metal before them—on their own terms. While many bands that came up through “the scene” are now willing to cozy up to radio programmers to play shows where the stage backdrops have more corporate logos than an Indy 500 racecar, The Stage finds A7X looking back and forward to seal their destiny. With a science-fiction undercurrent underpinning the 11 tracks, song lengths that hearken back to old-school Metallica (ca.