Review Summary: Gates and Vengeance's guitar work, coupled with Shadows's vocal abilities translate into a metal masterpiece.
It has been 3 years since Avenged Sevenfold has released an album, and the wait is finally over. To be honest I was desperate to find out what the band had in store for the fans and to my disappointment, the only song they released (Hail to the King) was a disappointment in my opinion. This resulted in me questioning the result of an album that the whole world had been longing for ever since it was announced. I just picked up the album today with the intention of listening to it a couple of times then give it away. Fortunately I was treated to an array of hair raising but enjoyable tunes. Here's a breakdown of all the tracks:
1) Shepherd of Fire
Very suitable and interesting kickoff to the album. The horns and orchestral parts of the song form the most intriguing aspect of the song. It then erupts into a combination of Illejay's pounding drum beats and guitar work. Shadows vocals complements the song very well too.
2) Hail to the King
Single from the album. The song revolves round a repeated guitar riff and builds up slowly from there. Illejay's drum work is very plain and simplistic while the guitars are very bland. Syn's solo in the middle of the track was not very necessary. The only upside to the song is Shadows's James Hetfield-like vocals
3) Doing Time
Intriguing guitar work through out and reminded me of the City of Evil days. However it gets boring midway through due to the repeated and predictable melodies. Sub par song
4) This Means War
Intro was the main reason I was drawn to this track. However it began to sound like a rip off of Metallica's Sad But True. Being one of the longest tracks on the album, the repetitive melodies and Shadows's forced cries of 'This means war!' were starting to become a pain in the ass.
Starts off with some queer Latin chanting then breaks into a very catchy rhythm. The flow of the song is smooth yet erratic at times, but the overall the band is fantastic. However I do think the chants spoilt the songs a bit but Syn and Zacky made up for it with stunning displays of true metal guitar
6) Crimson Day
Despite being one of the softer songs of the album, Crimson Day has the potential to be the best song in the whole album. It sets the tone right from the start with the clean but smooth sounding plucking by Gates and Shadows croons his way through the song so effortlessly. The chorus erupts into a power chord display but it remains under control. Effortless piece of art by Avenged and shows that they can conjure up fantastic power ballads as well. Classic.
This track contains elements from City of Evil with the occasional shredding and overall tone of the song. Johnny Christ is also very prominent on this track with the bass guitar. Nothing much to comment on the song except for it being quite well done
8) Coming Home
My least favorite song on the album. I found it a failed copy of an Iron Maiden song and it was too lengthy. Cheesy lyrics such as 'Home is where the heart is, or so I'm told' baffles me. How can powerful material such as Crimson Day and stuff like this coexist on the same album? The guitar solos were boring and Shadows's sounded pretty whiny for most part of the song.
You have to give the band credit for what they have done on this track. To me, Planets is the most experimental track on the whole album with the horns and stuff. The most impressive part is that it doesn't get boring even though it is pretty lengthy. Just a great song overall and helps to prepare the listener for the ultimate closure.
10) Acid Rain
Softest song on the track. This song is heavily blues-influenced as seen from the guitar riffs. I loved the piano work and basically the whole instrumental aspect of the song. Also it is evident that the lyrical themes are about two lovers together during the apocalypse, making it the best song for the closure. Highlight for me would be the sorrow and yearning in Shadows's vocals. Very impressive
Great album again by the band that brought us Nightmare. However some songs should have been replaced by better material as they seem to be ripoffs of other bands. Experimentation was reasonably good and the ballads were the standouts for this album hands down
Overall rating: 8/10
Shepherd of Fire
This Means War