Avenged Sevenfold
The Stage


3.0
good

Review

by Insurrection CONTRIBUTOR (111 Reviews)
November 2nd, 2016 | 478 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Avenged Sevenfold’s most progressive release sees the band having fun once again while returning to their hyper melodic, instrumentally driven roots.

For a mainstream metal band, Avenged Sevenfold deserves credit for continuously pushing themselves into foreign territory. Sometimes their experimentation works (‘Strength of the World’), other times not so much (‘Dear God’), but their desire to push boundaries in the mainstream realm evokes admiration if nothing else. At least this was the case until the streamlined and dour Hail to the King, which stripped away creativity in favor of nestling into a comfort zone. Thankfully, The Stage sounds like a proper return to form for Avenged Sevenfold. The impressive guitar work is back in spades, catchy hooks are littered in almost every track, and the introduction of drummer Brooks Wackerman proves to be an invaluable asset to the group dynamic.

Plenty of moments on The Stage are reminiscent of the band’s glory days. Namely, the acoustic passage in ‘God Damn’ harkens back to City of Evil while the soothing harmonies in ‘Fermi Paradox’ and ‘Angel’ mirror successful ballads they’ve written in the past. The bookends hit surprisingly hard as well – the eponymous opener sets the stage, if you will, for the rest of the record with its power chord driven progressions and shredding guitar solos, and closer ‘Exist’, the band’s longest and proggiest song to date (at almost 16 minutes), combines arpeggiating synths with thrashy grooves and Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking of the cosmos, cooling down the listening experience in a suitably grandiose fashion. The instrumentality in general is largely excellent. Nothing is particularly innovative, but going into a new Avenged Sevenfold album expecting innovation is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment.

The problems with The Stage stem from two major sources, the first being vocalist M. Shadows. Now, I’ve never been one to criticize his vocal technique because it has worked for the band in the past. Certain songs on City of Evil and Avenged Sevenfold thrive on their ingenious hooks (relative to the genre) that can only be attributed to Shadows’ signature style, and he does provide quality songwriting input from time to time. Here though, his vocals sound shot; anything out of range for him comes across as strained and forced. The man still knows how to write an effective chorus, but it’s obvious that he isn’t the powerhouse frontman he used to be. The second issue plaguing The Stage is its length. At an hour and fourteen minutes, the album overstays its welcome more than a few times. In fact, most tracks would benefit from a trim, as a majority of them push the five or six-minute mark when they could have functioned perfectly well as three-minute long bangers.

Still, The Stage has successfully rekindled my interest in Avenged Sevenfold, which is something I didn’t think was possible in this day and age. It’s over-the-top while easily digestible, technical yet consistently fun, and although it might be a second-rate City of Evil at heart, it’s a welcome resurgence of the band after the abominably mediocre Hail to the King. Fans will undoubtedly find enjoyment here and casual listeners can likely salvage a few tracks for temporary amusement. Many signs point to the band running out of gas, but The Stage shows that Avenged Sevenfold can still kick ass when they want to, and inspires a modicum of hope that they may have a couple more worthwhile records in them before finally throwing in the towel.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 1st 2016


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

tis been a while, may be a bit rusty



God Damn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY7LITuO4sk

Titan
November 1st 2016


17985 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nothing wrong with a little dear god when attempting to get in touch with your inner gayness.....good song man!

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 1st 2016


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

more power to you for digging it man. there's just something about a7x doing country... *shudders*

Spec
November 1st 2016


34816 Comments


dear god got me through some times lol

Titan
November 1st 2016


17985 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

power ballad with some country influence....but not real country.....Eagles country

Spec
November 1st 2016


34816 Comments


eagles country is bang on

how did i not see that before

Titan
November 1st 2016


17985 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and the Eagles are amazing

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2016


8453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

At least this was the case until the streamlined and dour Hail to the King, which stripped away creativity in favor of nestling into a comfort zone. Thankfully, The Stage sounds like a proper return to form for Avenged Sevenfold.


see, i don't get this. HttK wasn't great or anything but it had a focus on songwriting that simplified their wankiness and had closer attention to melody. while i like this one, it's overlong, it isn't anywhere near as catchy, and at its worst it's as annoying as ever. good review, mind.

Digging: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

guitarded_chuck
November 2nd 2016


13675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

but they were never even close to being wanky so

SoccerRiot
November 2nd 2016


2958 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

HttK was kinda mediocre, but it has some real bangers on it regardless. Honestly, it destroys the self-titled at least

Shadowmire
November 2nd 2016


4538 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hm

SoccerRiot
November 2nd 2016


2958 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

btw, sweet review. As I said before, this is my favorite A7X album since City of Evil, but I understand the flaws as well. ESPECIALLY M. Shadows' increasingly annoying voice

StrikeOfTheBeast
November 2nd 2016


1312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

DEEEEAR GOOOOOD



THE ONLY THING I AAAASK OF YOU



IF TO HOLD HER WHEN I'M NOT AROUND



WHEN I'M MUCH TOO FAR AWAAAAAAAY

Bfhurricane
November 2nd 2016


6211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it. Can't really stand Paradigm, Sunny Disposition and Creating God, but everything else kicks ass. Huge step up from HTTK.



And I like Dear God

StrikeOfTheBeast
November 2nd 2016


1312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

WHEN PLAAANEEEEEEEEEEEEETS



COOLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE

Toondude10
November 2nd 2016


11618 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

this band does nothing for me :-/

Digging: Face The King - Once More Is All I Am

SpagettInvader
November 2nd 2016


18 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was expecting a more fierce A7X album judging by the single but damn was I let down... The lead singer sounds awful but there are a few gems on the record.

God damn is an awesome song.

SteakByrnes
November 2nd 2016


4576 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was really hoping for a return to Waking The Fallen era since they released the Resurrection of it not too long ago

Digging: Ghost Atlas - All Is In Sync, and There's Nothing Left to Sing

SpagettInvader
November 2nd 2016


18 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Same here I loved Waking The Fallen.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2016


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wtf was their peak for sure imo



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