From ‘Waking The Fallen” to “Hail to The King”- Avenged Sevenfold has always managed to sonically morph their sound on every record they put out. Their new hit album, “The Stage,” is no exception- considering that it is the most experimental album that the hit heavy metal band has ever put out to date.
It has been quite the 3 years, since their Metallica-inspired “Hail To The King” album rocked the charts and polarized fans because of the distinct similarities to “King” and “The Black Album” by Metallica; not to mention the sudden departure of their drummer and inclusion of a new one- Brooks Wackerman. This recent addition to their catalog of hard hitting, but passionate melodic albums has come to a surprise to many fans- since it was rumored to be released in December under the title “Voltaic Oceans.”
Red herrings aside, it has certainly been clear that Avenged Sevenfold (or A7X) is at the top of their game right now, considering their albums have dominated the Billboard charts; it will be quite interesting to see how this one does with all of the strange elements the boys have in store for us.
Firstly, I was left in awe of how experimental and cerebral this particular album truly is- it has elements of black metal, blues, hard rock, and of course progressive metal/rock. Different time signatures, broaden guitar solos, and a variation of vocal range from frontman M Shadows is what truly drives ‘The Stage.’ Starting off with the title track, the band correctly uses synths and harmonic dual guitar melodies and creates a mood that is present throughout the entire album. Poignant lyrics of life being akin to a stage and how we have negatively responded as human beings to certain things impacted me (especially the acoustic part that closes the song).
It is noticeable that Avenged Sevenfold is quite capable of blending in beautiful melodies such as in ‘The Stage,’ while also delivering hard pounding riffs and destructive drum fills such as in ‘Paradigm’ and ‘Creating God.’ However, if there is anything such as a ballad on the album- it is ‘Roman Sky’ which is what balances the album as a whole. Beginning with a beautiful stripped-down intro from Synyster Gates, lead guitarist of A7X, we have entranced into the song even more when Shadows hits the mic with a passionate/hopeful set of lyrics that genuinely speaks to the soul- not to mention the operatic guitar solo that soars through the middle half of the song ending it with a flourish.
All in all, from the 15 minute closer (“Exist”) for the album to the operatic but thrashy progression in “Simulation- Avenged Sevenfold has made an album that succeeds in taking risks. Risks as in having said 15-minute song be mostly instrumental and have a special narration towards the end by none other than fellow geek, Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Ideas of the terrifying rise of artificial intelligence and our whole existence being part of a simulation of some superior being make all listeners, not only metal fans, acknowledge many things and theories that are being looked over by our government. We need this album, with large scientific ideas, from a band that has stolen the hearts of millions all over the world in this day in age because we need to advance as a society and look at the many resources in science we have today.