Review of Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail to the King”
Dear readers of my blog,
I had the chance (?) to listen to Avenged Sevenfold’s brand new record “Hail to the King” a couple of times by now. Being a fan of their previous effort “Nightmare” and their last singles, I was looking forward to listen to their new album. Now you see me rather disappointed. What happened? Read it here first, enjoy my review and don’t hesitate to leave a comment!
Avenged Sevenfold is definitely one of the most famous contemporary metal bands that is quite popular among younger audiences in North America. The band started with some metalcore fun rides back in the days and shifted more and more towards traditional but still quite elaborated heavy metal as in the last studio effort “Nightmare” with Mike Portnoy on drums. This record definitely had its strong moments and I’m still occasionally listening to it.
On “Hail To The King”, all metalcore elements are gone and the band plays a mixture of groove and heavy metal with catchy pop choruses and more and more artificially sounding choir and string passages. The entire album is hold in a mid tempo pace that lacks dynamics, emotions and surprises. The polished production took away all possible forms of edges and energy.
“Hail To The King” is an average heavy metal track inspired by an odd mixture of AC/DC, Manowar and Metallica. “Crimson Day” is a symphonic ballad with a mature sound, a good guitar work and a solid vocal effort somewhere between soft Metallica and epic Guns ‘N Roses. “Coming Home” is the only fresh sounding piece of music on here because the twin guitars, the vivid bass guitar and the tight drumming finally give us a glimpse at the talent of the involved musicians. These are the three best tracks on the album and let me tell you that they are only of an average to good quality. None of the songs can beat the band’s surprisingly energizing Call Of Duty singles “Not Ready To Die” and “Carry On” or the last record’s masterpiece “Nightmare”.
But it even gets worse. The opener “Shepherd Of Fire” has almost the same structure as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and feels quite predictable despite its changes. “This Means War” is a “Sad But True” rip-off of the worst kind. I mean many bands are inspired by Metallica but why picking their most popular songs and copying them without any inspiration? In addition to this, I have never really liked Metallica’s self-titled black album and still think it’s their most boring record apart of the horrible “Lulu” project with Lou Reed. “Sad But True” has always sounded to me like an odd mixture of groove metal and hip-hop and is one of the metal songs I have always hated the most. Let me tell you that Avenged Sevenfold’s take on this song is even worse than the original. “Heretic” hits a similar way and sounds like a commercial rip-off of another highly overrated and popular American metal band that is Megadeth. This song sounds like a handicapped copy of “Symphony Of Destruction”, especially in the main riff and opening moments. If they had to choose American bands and add an overdose of orchestral elements to most of their songs, why couldn’t they at least have been inspired by the amazing Savatage?
Throughout the album, the band tries to sound mature but horribly fails at this attempt. “Requiem” and “Planets” include an overdose of symphonic elements and desperately want to add a sophisticated touch to the music. The problem is the weak song writing that lacks substance. The whole thing sounds incredibly artificial and is nothing but blown-up creative emptiness without any memorable moments. The choirs of “Requiem” don’t fit at all with the rest of the song and made me laugh out hard while “Planets” gets so redundant and repetitive that one can easily skip the last two minutes if not the entire song.
But the worst thing is the closing cheesy ballad “Acid Rain”. I would have expected this kind of song from Ronan Keating but not from a metal or rock band. The difference between Ronan Keating and Avenged Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows is that the first one actually has some good vocal skills while the latter one sounds as if he was singing with a stuffy nose. This song is in fact the most pathetic kitsch ballad I ever had to sit through. Even the dullest Freedom Call ballad and the most commercial Sonata Arctica single have far more eggs than this stiff piece of boredom. It ends a disappointing record on a truly bad note.
After the solid metal record “Nightmare”, the promising last singles and the rather unusual choice of “Hail To The King” as lead single and title track, everything seemed to be set for a great record. The album though feels artificial, blown-up and lacks charisma, energy and originality. It seems as if the king was going through a severe identity crisis and desperately tried to sound like the new Metallica by forgetting where he really came from and what made him so popular. I hope that critics and fans prepare for a putsch and are looking elsewhere for a new and more authentic king or queen. Just avoid this release and don’t hop on a crashing trend train.
Rating: 3 out of 10