Hail to the King
Rs 700 approx on Amazon
Avenged Sevenfold has been a thing of beauty to regard over the years. The California band comprising vocalist M Shadows,lead guitarist Synyster Gates,rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance and bassist Johnny Christ (clearly not their birth names) along with drummer The Rev,who passed away in 2010,shrugged off labels with ease,slipping between metalcore,power metal,hard rock,punk rock,Gothic metal and even whimsically venturing into the gentler pastures of country. Though they almost disbanded following The Revs death,Avenged Sevenfold returns with a vengeance in their sixth studio album Hail to The King,their ranks swelled by Arin Ilejay who takes over drumming duties.
The album begins with a crackle,literally,as the sound of flames preludes Shepherd of Fire,an old school power metal number. The bass growls and drums produce an ominous thundercloud of sound,while the guitars meander between keen riffs and heavy doom chords. The tempo picks up with the succeeding title track,Hail to The King,armed with a beautifully lacquered solo and a rock arena anthem chorus. Shadows flexes his vocal muscles more here,his evolution from growling to melodic singing clearly audible,though still layered with sinister intent. The next,Doing Time,is fast metalcore,with Ilejay smacking the skins. Indeed,it is this distinctive thwack that ushers This Means War,where the band happily strikes a flag in Metallica territory,with a slower thrash metal song.
The succeeding Requiem begins with some theatrical Latin chanting,till the music breaks out,a gorgeously structured Gothic structure of groove metal,complete with spoken word reliefs and yes,more chanting in Latin. The band takes a breather from all the head banging with Crimson Day,a surprisingly soft ballad-like number,though Gates and Vengeance still have some fun with the solo,playing off each others chords virtuously in a decidedly diabolical manner.
Clearing off any fluffy clouds,the band launches into Heretic,another fabulously structured song,with its heavy base line and a couple of aural feasts for lead and rhythm guitar solos,all tied together with Shadows gravelly vocals. The band continues full throttle with Coming Home,with Gates and Vengeance still churning out symphonic chords. Planets is laced with doom from its drum intro and has a more measured,menacing tempo. However,the last,far gentler track Acid Rain,is dominated by an almost schmaltzy piano and plaintive plucking of strings,with the instrumentalists slipping into orchestral garb with ease,even cranking out a martial metronome in between.