“Hail to the King,” the new album by Avenged Sevenfold, just became available on iTunes and digital download August 23. While the newest album by the heavy metal band has both good and bad parts, overall the good does outweigh the bad.
“Hail to the King” begins with “Shepard of Fire.” It has a slow opening suggesting a churchyard with the bell tolling, along with the crackling of flames. Then the instruments pick up in a similar style to Metallica’s music. At five and a half minutes, though, it is unimpressive and too long.
Next up is the title track of the album, “Hail to the King.” Like most title tracks, “Hail to the King” delivers. Even though it’s only a minute shorter than “Shepard of Fire,” the song doesn’t drag on. It brings in a lot of medieval imagery, even though the album cover calls to mind He-Man’s archenemy, Skeletor, with the skull flying on a bat’s wings. The song is actually really good.
“Doing Time” comes with an explicit warning. Since it is the only song on the album to feature it the warning, it seems like it is filler, only existing to get the explicit content sticker slapped on the front. It’s difficult to feel the anger in the lyrics or music, so it feels like a waste.
“This Means War” sounds like an empty wasteland suddenly filled with war drums. It’s a nice effect. What the instruments are doing matches the weight of the lyrics, and this is my favorite song on the album.
“Requiem” is an interesting song. Each line has only two or three words. Not only is it different, but it works. Another nice touch is the Latin chants that open and close the song. Fans of zombies and the undead will like this song.
“Crimson Day” is a break from the typical metal influences. With darkness, swords, crowns, and all-powerful evil forces, “Crimson Day” is a plea for the sun to come up, as if the undead army from Requiem had put that in danger. And of course, putting a nice song in a heavy metal album is a problem, so the next song is “Heretic.”
The album finishes with “Coming Home,” “Planets,” and “Acid Rain.” “Coming Home” is aptly named, as it sounds like the album’s attempt to build to the end. It stumbles with “Planets,” which speaks for itself with the verse “Death’s symbolization, left behind!” The concept is cool, but the execution is poor. It seems that the motive for “Planets” was “make bigger things explode.” Finally, “Acid Rain” sounds like exactly what its name brings to mind. It sounds like a lament of people who didn’t stop climate change; thus everyone gives up and plays in the acid rain. The song ends with the sound of rolling thunder and an eerie reverberation.
Overall this is a good album. It doesn’t have a theme, however, so the songs don’t sound like they belong together at all. Of the album’s ten songs, I give a good grade just over half. I would recommend “Hail to the King,” “This Means War,” “Requiem,” then maybe “Coming Home,” “Planets” and “Crimson Day.” The others are not that good. I give this album 3.5 stars out of five.