Hail To The King is Avenged Sevenfold sixth studio release, but the first with new drummer Arin Ilejay. As you may read in another review already, Hail To The King is nothing like previous A7X releases. If my memories served me well, this was a band who conquered the mid 2000s American metal scenes with their dynamic heavy metal never before existed, and their style distinguished easily. Later they changed. Put together Mike Portnoy's attachment to the band's images, they just simply evolved into different band. In Hail To The King, perhaps the changes may become too much for those expecting old days such as in City of Evil. Good news is this doesn't mean the music is inferior.
Shepherd Of Fire is an epic opening. Fully backed with brass orchestration, the band begin their 'minor' feel album with this song. A riff twisting contained some Metallica's Black album feel and for some included elements of Megadeth's Countdown and Youthanasia era sounds. In Hail To The King, things become straight forward power metal, some reminiscence of Megadeth's Cryptic Writing in the intro, but the song is simply developed from the imperative riff. At least the third song, Doing Time, is back to Matt Shadows signature screamings (and laughings) and back to City of Evil-like guitar riffs, sort of. We then back to This Mean War which is riff orientated and again feel much better in home for European melodic metal listener. And if you never imagine an epic-choir elements in A7X music, here let's yourself jaw dropping at Requiem. The ballad comes and titled Crimson Day, sounds modern if you wondered. Heretic is trying to get darker and heavier, good one because it's become catchy and you can recall the old A7X for one more moment on this album. Coming Home is not the same Iron Maiden song, although the intro is almost similar to Steve Harris going to do when given a guitar. And then as Synyster Gates revealed, the last two songs is strongly connected each other, Planets and Acid Rain closed this chapter.
I can easily enjoy this because I can stand this kind of changes which is toward traditional heavy metal familiar to power metal fans, but surely not expected to hear this from Avenged Sevenfold. The guitar duo is actually still killing in every tracks. Matt's vocal is okay in overall. Arin Ilejay for sure miss the crazy moment when A7X still on top of their 'wild' game, but his drumming do not have anything to criticized. A few spin and I fell objectively Hail To The King is much more contrast and tolerances to ear, compare to Nightmare.
Metal Harem class: ******** eight stars out of ten
Avenged Sevenfold - Hail To The King (2013)
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1. Shepherd Of Fire
2. Hail To The King
3. Doing Time
4. This Means War
6. Crimson Day
8. Coming Home
10. Acid Rain
Hail to the King (music video)
Matt Shadows – lead vocals
Zacky Vengeance – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Synyster Gates – lead guitar, backing vocals
Johnny Christ – bass guitar, backing vocals
Arin Ilejay – drums
Mike Elizondo – production
Avenged Sevenfold-Hail To The King album review