‘Hail To The King’ is Avenged Sevenfold‘s latest album and the first with a new member since The Rev passed (‘Nightmare‘ featured Mike Portnoy but not as a full member) in the form of Arin Ilejay. This album is more toned down than the previous few releases, dropping the grandeur of ‘City of Evil’ and the selt-titled in favour of harder hitting riffs. Whilst it dissects to the core of the band’s interests, don’t expect ‘Waking The Fallen Volume II’ but rather another delve into the realm of hard rock.
M. Shadows vocal melodies and the musical passages in “Shepard Of Fire” are distinguishable as classic Avenged and are a warm welcome. The previously heard title track is next and standing next to the other songs on the album sadly holds better posture than the others, listening multiple times lets it dig into you however like any good single should. Synyster Gates’ guitar work is as fantastic as ever, some parts explore simplicity but his lead work is as fast and quirky as ever. Like many people have already stated “This Means War” sound a lot like “Sad But True” by Metallica… a lot, though the riff itself is savage and the chorus much more passionate that it’s ‘father’. There are a lot of moments on this album, “Doing Time” is supremely catchy whilst “Crimson Day” adds the softer dynamics. The latter half of the album is not as good as the first however, perhaps “Heretic” will be a hidden gem in time but this album is definitely front loaded.
‘Hail To The King’ is admirable, especially given the circumstances, but a fair portion comes across as entertaining as the artwork. There’s no “Beast and the Harlot”, “Bat Country” or “Unholy Confessions”. The more grounded approach unfortunately grazed the floor. As another chapter in the band’s career it is a good enough stepping stone into promising territories as opposed to the architecturally intelligent bridge it should have been.
Verdict – 3/5 Stars