Avenged Sevenfold - 'Hail To The King'

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Avenged Sevenfold - 'Hail To The King'

The return of Metal for the masses.

I despise adverts as much as anyone but occasionally they do serve a purpose. The other day music from an ad caught my ear and the snippet that got my attention was from the new album 'Hail To The King' by American Heavy Metallers Avenged Sevenfold. This is an unusual choice for me in that I usually focus on Female Fronted bands and it's also rare I review something so popular, given that as I type 'Hail...' sits atop the UK Album Chart. It actually makes writing a review harder; if I hate it I'm obviously at odds with general opinion and if I love it I merely confirm its position.

The first thought I had about 'Hail' is that it's full of commercial Heavy Metal in the same way that Metallica brought Metal to the masses with 'The Black Album'. 'Shepherd Of Fire', with its bounding drums and Metallica inspired riff, could easily have appeared on 'Black' whilst 'This Means War' sounds an awful lot like 'Sad But True'. But as you listen there are other influences that bring to mind different bands. With its crunchy chord driven riff and revolving lead guitar the title track has a bit more in common with AC/DC. It's the song that turned my head and I have to admit it's still my favourite on the album because of that funky lead/rhythm guitar combination. 'Heretic' on the other hand sounds a bit like a toned down Megadeth; pump up the guitars and this could easily appear on 'Countdown To Extinction'. AX7 even have a stab at something Gothic with 'Requiem' which includes an imposing riff, arrangements and chanting choirs whilst the galloping progression and rhythm of 'Coming Home' is exceedingly Maidenesque. 'Hail' closes out in with the soulful ballad 'Acid Rain' which is filled with Gary Moore like blues solos.

Having listened to it I can see why this album has achieved such a lofty status. It follows the same recipe of accessible riffs and digestible songs that made Metallica's 'Black Album' such a smash. But A7X have gone that step further and added those popular ingredients from other bands as well and mashed it all together to create an album that seems to hold wide ranging appeal...but clearly not for everyone. I already know of two people, one an A7X fan, who were not overly impressed with this because it is so similar to 'The Black Album' and 'rips off a few other things as well'. My first impression obviously proves that synopsis and I can't deny it's true. But I still found this album a lot of fun and have enjoyed listening to it over repeated plays especially the tracks above.

Whilst it may be too commercial and a little bit copycat for some, 'Hail' is still a quality Heavy Metal album that has ascended the charts on a wave of popularity and seen the return of Metal for the masses.

Dave Scott

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