The same sound that fans love
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 22:08
“Hail to the King,” the new album by Avenged Sevenfold, leaves the same old taste in the listener’s mouth. However, fans will not be disappointed by this taste, because as always it’s a good one, it’s just nothing new or out of the box.
In a band sponsored interview, vocalist M Shadows (Matt Sanders) said “The difference between this album and the old albums is that sonicly, it’s bigger, musically it’s more riff driven, and it all around sounds different.”
While he listens to his music probably more than almost anyone other than the recording engineers, it’s still not an easy statement to agree with. The style and dynamic of the song is certainly “big,” but “different” seems to be a generous term.
In reference to the title track “Hail to the King,” Synyster Gates (Brian Haner) said, “It’s relentless, and it’s a freight train, and it never stops.” He’s referring to the riff which starts at the intro and goes on for a good majority of the song.
The riff is one of the few things that actually satisfies the difference between this album and others. It is written in a time other than 4/4. It’s a very difficult riff to divide up and punch down, but it sounds like 9/4, meaning there’s one extra beat at the end that really messes with the listener’s brain.
This is not to say that Avenged has never written anything other than songs in 4/4, but none stand out as much as this one.
Interestingly enough, the rest of the band is playing a polyrhythm to the riff, giving it that metal, “headbanging” feel while the riff is still going at its own pace behind the other parts.
Rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance (Zack Baker) said in the same interview, “We take a lot of pride in our live show, it’s something we love to do…I’m really looking forward to playing ‘Hail to the King.’”
The album is the first to feature new drummer Arin Ilejay. Ilejay holds his own as a drummer throughout the album, but is not quite the driving force of Sullivan or Portnoy.
Even though Portnoy was only around for the previous album, “Nightmare” and a few tours, he is still a respectable drummer in his own right, hailing from Dream Theater, a band widely considered to be an all-star group. Ilejay has quite the shoes to fill.
However he is whole-heartedly supported by his bandmates. “Arin came in and he’s just a monster player, and it was hard for him to wrap his mind around this,” Gates said. “We wanted to make a massive record, we wanted to make it big, and refreshed, and secondly we wanted to write these songs that had this continuous groove.”
The album certainly maintains a fluent style, with subtle changes in tone and timbre between songs. But he was telling the truth when he said the album was massive.
In addition to the enormous vocals, heavy riffs and pulsing bass drum, the album is long. In total it’s about 53 minutes, but it is only 10 songs. The songs vary between four-and-a-half to six-and-a-half minutes, averaging somewhere around five.
Each song features a Synyster Gates guitar solo full of sweeps and long bends that come out like screams. Fans of Syn should definitely check out this album, specifically “Heretic” and “Coming Home.”
Drummers should listen to “Shepard of Fire,” the title track “Hail to the King” and “Planets. Those are the more complex songs in terms of drum parts.
The musicianship is undeniably solid, but the difference between this album and earlier ones is not as noticeable as the band might think.