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Album Reviews : Avenged Sevenfold – Hail to the King

By on September 23, 2013

A7XHailtotheKingIt turns out Robb Flynn was right. Avenged Sevenfold’s latest Hail to the King unfortunately owes too much to predecessors such as Metallica and Megadeth to be called a wholly original effort by the Long Beach heavy metal veterans. After the death of the Rev, their longstanding drummer regarded as one of the most talented in recent years, Avenged’s previous effort Nightmare managed to exceed expectations, in no small port due to the short term addition of Mike Portnoy on drums, and encapsulated an aura of despair only death could bring to their lyrical content. However, once this morbid inspiration left the band, it is obvious that Hail to the King is the result of a band struggling to find a new direction without backing from the group’s, arguably, most valuable member.

The stand-out track upon the album is also coincidentally, its title. In keeping with Robb Flynn’s statements, it does bear a heavy similarity to the riff of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’, but Avenged manage to turn the track into an exercise of swagger. M. Shadows’ still stunning and instantly recognisable vocals guide an effort that will have fans on their upcoming tour screaming their lungs out. On a track such as this, Arin Illejay’s drumming fits perfectly; laying alongside Synyster Gate’s face melting guitar solo, of which lives up to his previous reputation, the track begs to be headbanged along to with the volume turned up to 11.

However, the departure of both The Rev and Portnoy is unfortunately noticeable throughout ‘Hail to the King’, in no small part due to the slowed pace set by Illejay. At many points during the album, Avenged’s new effort is in dire need of lightning fast snare hits and drum kicks akin to ‘Burn it Down’, ‘Bat Country’ and ‘Afterlife’ from their previous releases of City of Evil and self titled Avenged Sevenfold. Sadly, this need arises on multiple occasions, namely during ‘Doing Time’ and ‘Heretic’; promising guitar riffs from Gates are let down by lackluster drums and typical vocal lines from Shadows.

Despite this, the latter end of the album provides a promise of redemption, with the highlight ‘Planets’. The instrumental work throughout brings back memories of the Avenged of old, and enables the listener to imagine what the album would have been like with a more varied tempo; due to this, everything that comes before brings an illusion of the album dragging on longer than its supposed run time.

As an avid fan of Avenged Sevenfold since the beginning, despite high hopes for Hail to the King, the band have failed to provide an album which can be safely held high with City of Evil and Nightmare as an example of the band’s mastery of heavy metal. Perhaps next time the outfit will move further away from their influences and return to their once lauded signature sound.

Band: Avenged Sevenfold
Album: Hail to the King
Year: 2013
Genre: Metal
Label: Warner Bros.
Origin: USA

Track list:
1. Shepherd of Fire
2. Hail to the King
3. Doing Time
4. This Means War
5. Requiem
6. Crimson Day
7. Heretic
8. Coming Home
9. Planets
10. Acid Rain


For more interviews and reviews, check out Jonty's personal review page Play Hard Reviews. Check out his live shots via his Instagram - Jonts18