I know a lot of people LOVE Avenged Sevenfold, and I get it, to an extent. Me, I really liked them up to and including City of Evil in 2005. That’s still a great album, top to bottom. 2007’s self-titled record was boring, and I’m sorry, but 2010’s Nightmare was god-awful. So to be honest, I really wasn’t expecting much from new album Hail to the King, out today. Looks like I was right to temper my expectations.
This thing ranges from the good, to the bad, to the meh. That would make the third BIG release from a band this year I felt this way about, the first being Megadeth’s and second being Five Finger Death Punch’s. Looks like a lot of the big guns are shooting blanks this year. Anyway, here goes.
Opener “Shepherd of Fire” has the whole doomy intro thing going on, bell tolls and all before it picks up into a mid-tempo gallop. The riffs are ok, but the chorus is just weak, and I cringe every time vocalist M. Shadows says the word “Fiiire”. “Hail to the King” has this really cool “Wasted Years”-y type thing going on to start it off. Unfortunately it goes on throughout the whole song, as one of my new friends and fellow reviewers from Metal Music Blog mentioned recently, kind of, but not totally ruining an otherwise good song. (check out their site, it’s pretty cool!)
Things do get better on “Doing Time” and “Coming Home”. Both are high-speed, low drag, and the choruses are instantly memorable. “Heretic” has, without a doubt, the best solo on the record, and is one of the highlights for sure, and “Coming Home”’s solo is a close second for me. “Planets” is another fucking great song I was all over from jump. This might be the meatiest, ballsiest tune found here.
Ok. Now I HAVE to get to some of the badness. “This Means War” may be the most repetitive thing I’ve heard in my life, and at 6:08, I won’t lie; I thought about jumping out of the car doing 65 mph just to get away. “Requiem” suffers from the same problem. After a choir singing in Latin, it lumbers along at a snail’s pace, and the vocals only make it worse. “Crimson Tide” is the ballad that screams “Please play me on the radio!”, and album closer “Acid Rain” is the ballad that says…well, I’m not sure WHAT it’s supposed to say. I hated it. Another one that’s 6:44 of torture.
So, let’s recap: I REALLY liked four songs, HATED four, and was simply meh on two. Did I hate this record? No. Is it infinitely better than their last two efforts? No question. Will it do well? I’m sure it will. But this one just really wasn’t for me, guys.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Doing Time”, “Coming Home”, “Planets”, “Heretic”