Hail to the King Review

artist: avenged sevenfold date: 12/06/2013 category: compact discs
avenged sevenfold: Hail to the King
Released: Aug 27, 2013
Genre: Heavy Metal, Metalcore, Hard Rock
Label: Warner Bros
Number Of Tracks: 10
"Hail to the King" reminds of Metallica they might have sounded like if they didn't take that sharp left back at the "Black Album."
 Sound: 8.8
 Lyrics: 7.8
 Overall Impression: 8.6
 Overall rating:
 8.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.4 
 Users rating:
 8.4 
 Votes:
 675 
reviews (8) 208 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
Hail to the King Featured review by: UG Team, on august 27, 2013
11 of 21 people found this review helpful

Sound: Avenged Sevenfold was formed in 1999, releasing their first album, "Sounding the Seventh Trumpet," two years later in 2001. This release was more metalcore than the straightforward metal sound they've come to be known for since. This was due in part to M. Shadows wanting to move away from screamed vocals, going so far as taking vocal lessons from the same instructor that had been used by Axl Rose and Chris Cornell. By the time their third album, "City of Evil," was released the screamed vocals had almost exclusively been replaced by actual sang vocals. This also resulted in the musical sound of the band to change, with more guitar solos and less metalcore breakdowns. Their next release, which was self-titled, showed another step away from metalcore. The drummer, The Rev, passed away in 2009 because of a drug overdose and was temporarily replaced by Mike Portnoy (formerly of Dream Theater) for the recording of the next album, "Nightmare." Despite The Rev passing away before the recording of the album had completed, he was still involved in the creative process of the album, so through this his last work with the band was released posthumously. "Nightmare" proved to be the band's most successful album to date. Soon after the band decided that Mike Portnoy was not the best fit as a full time replacement for The Rev and began a hunt for a permanent replacement. They settled on Arin Ilejay in 2011. "Hail to the King" will be the first album where Arin participated in the creative process and recorded with A7X, and will also be the first album with no creative input from The Rev. "Hail to the King" was recorded in early 2013. There are 10 tracks that clock in at just over 53 minutes. The title track was the first single from the album and made available in July. Shortly after in August the album was made available to stream in iTunes, as well as the track "Shepherd of Fire" being used as the theme song for the "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" map "Origins." The album opens with the track "Shepherd of Fire," which has an old school (think early Metallica, especially with the bell tolling such as from the beginning of "For Whom the Bell Tolls") vibe, especially in the intro. "Shepherd of Fire" quickly shows it has its own identity as you listen further into the track. The next track is the title track, "Hail to the King," which is a fairly slow tempo track for a metal song but it makes up with some solid melody and some gang vocals. The solo also has an almost neo-classical feel to it. The track "This Means War" is another song with a very "hook-y" riff going on, but the song doesn't really start to shine until the solo and afterwards. "Requiem" starts out with some Latin chanting but when the instruments come in, this is probably the track with the strongest groove on the album. "Heretic" was another standout track to me, starting out with some interesting lead guitar and then when the song gets into full swing it sounds like something Megadeth might have recorded in their prime. The album closes out with the track "Acid Rain," which actually has a piano running through the song and a very interesting melodic lead guitar line. While "Acid Rain" is much "lighter" than what you would expect on an A7X album, it somehow works and is a great song to close the album out with. // 9

Lyrics: M. Shadows has really impressed me over time as he has shown himself to be able to consistently provide some of the best non-screamed vocals in metal today. There are no absolutely no complaints I can make about his vocals they are really immaculate in the context of A7X. The lyrics are pretty much standard fare for metal, and as an example here are some lyrics from the track "Heretic": "As they search for blood/ All lies descend on one/ Honest man in chains/ But that don't matter anyway/ My judgment day/ My flesh will feed the demon/ No trial, no case for reason/ I been chosen to pay with my life/ Mad men, they find what matters/ Turning witches and saints to ashes/ Rising masses marching to find heretic blood/ Impose your will on me/ Till fire sets me free/ The flames of hell burn bright/ My fate decided by their lies/ Final demise." Pretty standard lyrics for metal, but still interesting in their own right. // 8

Overall Impression: I know people hate comparisons with bands, but at the end of the day "Hail to the King" reminds me of what Metallica might have sounded like if they didn't take that sharp left back at the "Black Album." Of course, they aren't quite as heavy and not quite as adventurous as early Metallica, but A7X have definitely figured out how to write a solid metal album. I think there is a desire amongst a lot of metal purists to have A7X, but at the end of the day what they're producing is very worthwhile. One thing they're doing is pushing the idea of the guitar solo back into popular music, because at this point Avenged Sevenfold might be the most well-known metal band to the general public (with the exception of Metallica, or Led Zeppelin if you want to call them metal). My only gripe is at times I feel like they were making a special effort to keep their music "radio friendly," but that goes out the window when you realize the vast majority of the tracks are over 5 minutes each. I would be hard pressed to choose my favorite tracks from the album, but the first few that come to mind are "Heretic," "Shepherd of Fire" and "Acid Rain." Personally, this album is immediately my favorite Avenged Sevenfold album released to date. // 8


- Brandon East (c) 2013

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overall: 8
Hail to the King Reviewed by: RicCartman, on september 09, 2013
7 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sound: Avenged Sevenfold is a band that I grew up with. My thoughts are going to be completely different than, say, somebody who grew up with Iron Maiden or Metallica or Megadeth. Or, hell, all three. They are my metal band, and were my favorite band of all time up until earlier this year. Up until early 2013 It was all A7X and Rise-core (I, thankfully, grew out of that phase rather fast... 6 months) and the only two "classic" metal bands I gave a rat's a-s about was Metallica and AC/DC. A real life portrait of Beavis & Butt-Head over here. I obviously knew about Ozzy, Sabbath, Pantera and, though more hard-rock than metal, Guns N' Roses, but I never really got into any of them aside from a handful of singles. Then I bought "Number of the Beast" and "Appetite for Destruction" in their entirety. That led me to buy the rest of Iron Maiden's discography (over time of course) and "Use Your Illusion I" & "II." Next up was Ozzy and Megadeth. Before I knew it I was hooked on '70s and '80s metal bands (which are what broke me of my Rise obsession). I was listening to my main influence's influences. Then I read an article that was released around November of last year that stated, in preparation for this new record ("Hail to the King") A7X were doing what I've been doing for the past couple of months - going back to their influences' influences. Seeing what made those bands' records work. That got me pumped and eager to listen to this new record. In June. Two months before it was released. A whole month before the first single was released. So I went back and listened to my favorite A7X record, "Waking the Fallen," and much to my surprise I wasn't enjoying it nearly as much as I used too. I thought some songs were too slow and/or too boring. Some of the solos seemed uninspired. Less about the mood it created and more about how fast they were being played. It was in no way a bad experience per se. Just strange and a bit unexpected. I didn't think anything of it, however. It's happened to me before on "Waking the Fallen," albeit not to this degree. So I did what I usually did - ditched the metal-core sound for a more straight forward hard rock sound that 2005's "City of Evil" had to offer. A record that I never get tired of and have since promoted to my favorite A7X record, just above WTF (a title Avenged Sevenfold would be ecstatic to hear, I'm sure.) But by the end of the record the same thing happened. I was bored and a bit underwhelmed. That's something that never happened to me before. I just assumed I wasn't in the mood for music. The next day, however, it happened again to an even greater degree with their self-titled and 2010's "Nightmare." I was criticizing every song for one reason or another, some of which I couldn't even get through entirely. I couldn't believe that I was thinking this of my once favorite band. Today, those feelings aren't as strong, but they are still there and the reason I told you this story was to tell all of the A7X "haters" that I get it. I never used to, but now I get it. They simply put, are nothing special. At least not to '80s metal-heads. I love them, and will continue to defend them to anyone who just blindly bashes them, but I now understand how underwhelming they may sound to a hardcore Metallica fan or Megadeth fan. You've heard it all before and you've heard it done better. I've now heard it done better. Needless to say I was still anticipating this album like the second coming of Christ (ya' know... if you believe in that crap), but I was a bit more cautious, and less willing to dive right in. I wanted to see if they accomplished their mission on making a classic metal album. I wanted to see if this was a true evolution of A7X or just another mind-numbingly bland "experimentation" like their self-titled. On my first listen, through the iTunes stream (I couldn't help it), I was very, VERY impressed... for about 15 minutes. Than the rest of the songs started to blend in and bore me. I was upset and very disappointed. I got through the rest of the album with two of the most disappointing songs I've ever heard in "Planets" and "Acid Rain." I then went to bed, but as I was lying down I couldn't get the riff of "This Means War" out of my head. I fell asleep thinking that, like most of "Nightmare" this would take a couple of listens to grow on me, but eventually (or hopefully) it will. The next morning it was "Doing Time" that was stuck in my head, as I've been on something of a Guns N' Roses kick lately. I then listened to 5 of the songs again ("This Means War," "Doing Time," "Requiem," "Shepherd of Fire," and "Planets") and much to my surprise they were all a lot more enjoyable the second time around. Which was both, a comforting and scary thought. Much like their self-titled, I was enjoying these songs, but separated. On their own. I thought that, maybe, the record didn't have the right flow or that it sounded like several different records in one, in which case, they failed their mission. Then I streamed the album through iTunes again and it came off a hell of a lot better the second time around. Then, a third time and a fourth time and a fifth time. Needless to say, after multiple listens I just accepted the fact that I was addicted to this record and was starting to get a different feel for each song. Fast forward to August 27, the official release of "Hail to the King" here in the US. I just got done listening to it again. Some of the songs have been played nearly 30 times already (I'm obsessive when it comes to music) and I can safely say that, for the most part, Avenged Sevenfold have succeeded in what they set out to do, in creating a balls out, grooving, heavy metal record that's going to be stuck in your head for days, if not weeks. This is an album that will most likely be remembered twenty years from now. "Hail to the King" is easily the most focused album since "City of Evil" and probably their best since then as well. I'll have to wait a couple months before making that statement as my appreciation for "Nightmare" has since come back as "Save Me" is incredible on ac- high. Is incredible high... on acid. Anyway, this record is everything it needed to be and more, and is, for sure, a solid foundation that Avenged should and, hopefully, will build upon instead of doing another 180 next time they head into studio. // 8

Lyrics: Lyrically, this album is good, but just good. I found the lyrics to be a bit too exaggerated this time around. More focused on telling these big epic stories, as heard in "Planets," then on something more rooted in emotion, as heard in "Waking the Fallen" (which still contains some of A7X's best lyrics, in my opinion.) Here, we have stories of the devil, corrupt kings, intergalactic war, and the end of days. It all seems very big and very metal, but I do have to question the lasting appeal these lyrics will have. After all, Iron Maiden's songs have some of the cheesiest lyrics imaginable, but they still hold up beyond well in the year, 2013. Difference is they're whole stories. By the end of "Dance of Death" I feel as if that story was complete. Here, the songs are left open to interpretation with no definitive ending. If you want to tell these big, epic stories that's fine, but make sure they are big epic stories. Not just words thrown around to create the impression of a big epic story. Basically, what I'm saying is that Iron Maiden's lyrics are "The Dark Knight" of the metal scene, Avenged Sevenfold's are more of "The Dark Knight Rises." It's good, it gets the job done, but with a few missing pieces here and there, it falls short of what it could've been and from what some might have expected them to be. // 7

Overall Impression: Since I gave you all the big speech up top, I don't really know what else to say, aside from just a few closing thoughts. I guess I'll give you a track-by-track song impression before I get to that: 01. "Shepherd of Fire": Lyrically, it's the coolest and most metal of the ten main tracks. Musically, it is what it needed to be. It's nothing too crazy, or unique for that matter, but it's a big opening that plants the seeds for what's to come and has you pumped to hear it. I definitely recommend it for those who haven't bought the album. 02. "Hail to the King": The title track and first single. Despite being one of the more underwhelming songs on the record, I still feel it has quite a bit to offer. The gypsy jazz-styles guitar Syn toys with, the bridge (which is the coolest part of the song, imo), and M. Shadows' vocals throughout. He sings with such power and raw emotion that you can't help, but love it, even if musically it is a bit over-simplified. 03. "Doing Time": This is one of the first songs I went back to listen to again as it was stuck in my head. It gives off a serious GnR vibe, with an intro that is very reminiscent to Rev Theory's "Hell Yeah" (weird), but as the rest of the album started to grow on me and get better with each listen, this track stayed I the same place throughout. It's a good song, but I can't help but feel as if it's the stereotypical out-of-place A7X song that they have on every record. "Nightmare" has "Danger Line," and the self-titled had a handful of them. It's a solid song on its own, with a sleazy/cocky vocal and lyrical vibe to it. It's just a bit misplaced. 04. "This Means War": First thing's first: it sounds extremely similar to "Sad But True." This is fact. There's no denying this. That being said it's not the exact same thing and can still be appreciated on its own merits. Much like "Doing Time," this is one of the first tracks a re-listened to after my first listen. However it has since dipped in quality, for me. I just don't think this song has too much of a lasting appeal, aside from a kick-a-s bridge and a pretty sick guitar riff. However, if I ever wanted to listen to this again, I would just play the song that (VERY) heavily inspired it and I think you would too. You know it's sad, but true. 05. "Requiem": Avenged Sevenfold have never been afraid to get a little cheesy. "A Little Piece of Heaven" is proof of that. This song has Latin chants, horn, orchestra, and a bridge that seems to have been pulled from an B-list horror movie. This could have been downright terrible, but it turns out to be the best song this album has to offer so far. It's easily the heaviest with some really cool guitar parts and some heavy as hell drums. Shadows, as usual, turns in a fantastic performance that, much like the title track, really elevates this song beyond what even they may have thought it was capable of. You can tell this is a song that's going to come off a hell of a lot better live than in studio and that is a very exciting thought. 06. "Crimson Day": The typical A7X ballad. This is something of a staple for them. Every album has one. And much like the rest of them you're either going to love it or hate it. I, for one, love it. Lyrically, it was, at least in part inspired by the birth of Matt's son, River, as noted by Johnny Christ. It's definitely the most heartfelt song on the record and more of what I wanted out the lyrics as a whole. If you aren't a fan of ballads then don't bother. This isn't for you. If you are, however, then this is going to be a true highlight on an album that has many highlights. It's my second favorite song on the album. It's also the turning point for the album as a whole. The first five songs are kind of the same in the sense that they are these really heavy riff-oriented songs that grab you and don't let you go, for better or for worse. They kind of stay on the same level, throughout. This is the song that kicks it into next gear. 07. "Heretic": Starts off eerily reminiscent of "Symphony of Destruction" by Megadeth. Then, as it gets going, starts to sound like a classic A7X song. Shadows, once again kills it, and the dueling guitars are a real treat for hardcore A7X fans. Drums are loud and demand you turn up your speakers to 11. Not as strong as the previous track (though, very obviously different), but a solid song nonetheless. The bridge is really cool and is followed by a pretty sick guitar solo. 08. "Coming Home": Heavy Iron Maiden vibe. Not so much to pinpoint an exact song like the previous track or "This Means War," but you can definitely hear the influence. I've seen comparisons to "Number of the Beast," but I don't hear that at all. This is my favorite song on the album. It runs at the perfect length, the structure of the song is smartly put together, the guitar work is some of the best the album has to offer and Shadows channels his inner Bruce Dickinson which, if that doesn't sell this son, I don't know what will. 09. "Planets": This took some time to grow on me, but holy sh-t has it. I'm still a little iffy on the chorus, or rather just the line "Planets Collide" as I feel it's too simplistic and that not even Shadows' voice can make it anything special, but the rest of the song is fantastic. Some smartly placed orchestra really helps set the mood and musically, everything is turned up. The guitars, drums, and bass are all on full display here, and it creates what is the most massive song on the record. Third favorite of mine behind, "Coming Home" and "Crimson Day." 10. "Acid Rain": Another ballad. Not as strong as "Crimson Day," imo, but good nonetheless. It's something of a "Dear God." Some will love it as the album's closer, others will hate it. Nothing you can do about that. Lyrically, it's a follow-up to "Planets" and it's about being cast out into space with your loved one to die. I was hoping for a more "metal" ending, but it works. Solid way to end the album. 11. "St. James" (*Bonus Track): I have to talk about this song. It's the second song Syn has wrote the lyrics for. The first one being "So Far Away" on "Nightmare." It has been described as the light to "So Far Away"'s dark. Lyrically, its some of the best this album has to offer. It has a nice sound, and I honestly feel as if it should've been included on the main album, instead of the bonus track. In a recent interview, when asked what songs they were looking forward to playing live, A7X responded "All of them!" I really hope this gets a chance to shine live and isn't another "Victim" (unintentional, I swear) It's a really beautiful song, lyrically and musically. As mentioned above, I feel as if this is the most focused album since "CoE," and hope that they continue to build upon this sound. Maybe a little more "Planets" and less "This Means War" and then maybe we'll finally get the definitive A7X album. Also, I would love to see Syn have a little bit more influence lyrically next time around. He's 2/2 right now and I would love to see what else he is capable of. // 9

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overall: 7.7
Hail to the King Reviewed by: alees68851, on september 09, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: After reading about their history, recent interviews and press releases it is clear that Avenged Sevenfold have 1 clear aim. That is for world domination. They want to be the Black Sabbath or Metallica of their time, and according to the Californian metallers no one has yet risen up to the bar set by Sabbath or Metallica. They are a band not short of ambition but their last 2 albums were undeniably patchy and understandably unfocused, with Nightmare held as a homage to the late Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan. Now, after a break, the next chapter unfolds in their attempt at world domination with new drummer Arin Ilejay and their 6th studio album, "Hail to the King." "Shepherd of Fire" starts us off in typically eerie fashion similar to Black Sabbath's eponymous album opener, but then it hits you. Hits you like a wall of noise with each element ricocheting inside your head, an explosion of emphatic sound as if to say "WE ARE F--KING BACK." An ear splitting and mature solo from Synyster Gates then breaks down into that devilish intro riff building up to that brilliant chorus. Title track "Hail to the King" perfectly embodies this new Avenged Sevenfold chapter. High pitched main guitar riff which is held together with pounding drums and rhythm thick layers of electric guitar from Gates and Vengeance and the visceral vocal attack from M. Shadows combine spectacularly throughout the catchy chorus. "Doing Time" moves like a bullet and is a bridge between their heavier past and their new direction. M. Shadows delivering a snarling refrain and screamed vocals are an unexpected feature. "This Means War" has a riff the size of Belgium, full of metal chunk and sleaze, held down my some classy tight drumming by Arin Ilejay. This is followed my "Requiem," which has some weird latin chanting but then there is noise everywhere. Almost like the old Avenged, but more mature and chunky. For me, this is the weakest track on the album, but still a decent song. "Crimson Day" is one for the Metallica fans and is more heartfelt and full of love, than the later tracks on "Nightmare." Drums and distortion eventually take over, but this is still a lighter song and the solo is so fitting and suitable, just phenomenal. "Heretic" is number 7, and the drums and beefy distortion are back. Johnny Christ leads this one with a pulsing bass line and the drums continue the heat. Insane sweeping solos also maintain a link to their past. "Coming Home" starts off slow, but builds up to be one of the strongest tracks on the album even if it is Maiden-heavy. "Planets" is devilishly excellent, and they have continued the excellent crunchy riffing right to the end. The double bass drumming is excellent, and the vocal melodies again are really catchy, with harmonising break downs. The emphatic album ends with a near 7 minute instrumental, "Acid Rain." This song could easily be a James Bond movie theme. Maybe Avenged felt they needed another song like "A Little Piece of Heaven" but perhaps lacked a little creativity although lets not take nothing away. // 9

Lyrics: Avenged Sevenfold have always impressed with their intriguing lyrics, especially in "City of Evil." However, "Hail" is littered with lyrical cliches. Specifically "Crimson Day" and "Doing Time" during which "M. Shadows" sings "When there's no writing on the walls; I see the lifeless devils start to crawl; And I don't need no lessons; After all; Everybody is doing their time." They have always been a proudly patriotic band and this is evident in songs "This Means War" and "Planets" where the lyrics are focusing on topical issues. Matt Shadows' vocals are solid as ever and he screams in 1 song "Doing Time" but overall atypically solid performance. // 6

Overall Impression: Hail has typically eerie riffs and dynamic moments which Metallica lawyers might consider a little cheeky. This is in no way similar to any of their previous albums. They have signified a new desire to build tracks differently by focusing on atmospherics and feeling big, without overdoing it. Pantera, Sabbath and Guns N' Roses style riffs all feature on muscular set of songs which hurl A7X back on the metal scene. The classic rock comparisons are clear, but it is Avenged Sevenfold's next big step on a new path. It is less over the top and more mature and suitable, particularly from Synyster Gates. Arin Ilejay's debut drumming performance is modest, but he manages to create a hellish atmosphere. It might not be what you expect in certain places, but Avenged Sevenfold have not parted with their old roots, and have grown into a band suitable of metal greatness. // 8

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overall: 9.3
Hail to the King Reviewed by: Tjet612, on september 09, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album is much different than the others that Avenged Sevenfold but it still has the distinguished sound of Avenged Sevenfold. The dual guitars and the unmistakable voice of M. Shadows. The drums are slowed down to match the album and I think it was a good decision based on the sound of the rest of the album. It fits very well. Arin can lay down some nasty beats, anyone who has seen them live in person can vouch for that he may not be Portnoy or The Rev, but he is a very good drummer in his own right and may one day be on the Portnoy level only time will tell. The sound of the overall effects are pleasing. The arrangements, bells on "Shepherd of Fire," and the choir on "Requiem." This album has a Metallica vibe but "Doing Time" has a Guns N' Roses vibe to me. Syn and Zacky's dual attack is still as good as ever. To me still one of the top if not the top guitar duo in Hard Rock/Metal today. Their combination has a tone that is very rarely matched or bested by a duo. That's just my opinion. I did expect some quicker lead intros though. "Hail to the King" (song) has probably the fastest lead at the intro point of any song on the album. // 9

Lyrics: M. Shadows is probably one of the most unique and talented singers in Metal today. He backs it up well live on stage. I've seen them a couple times live and he is always on point. "Doing Time" is the only song I actually heard a scream on, other than that it is a full sang album. The lyrics on the album are well written and I am extremely surprised at how well the are written considering The Rev had no actual lyrical additions like nightmare did. "St. James" is a bonus track but I'd say its a must. The slower songs are written beautifully lyrically. // 10

Overall Impression: I really do love this album so far I've listened fully to it probably 6 times to this point and I am very glad to see that they can write songs quite well on their own since the demise of the late great James Sullivan (Rev). He was a huge part of their sound. The only downside to this album is simply the fact that the album has so many similarities to Metallica. That's not a bad thing but I am already growing tired of the trash talking regarding that. When I first heard the song "Hail to the King" I thought the intro sounded a lot like the solo of Metallica's "King Nothing." It's a few notes different but a couple the same. I like the entire album it's hard to pick one but I really can't decide on a favorite. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Hail to the King Reviewed by: ebmusicman16, on december 06, 2013
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Sound: This album is Avenged Sevenfold's sixth studio album and the first to feature no musical input from The Rev who passed away in 2009 and the first album with their new drummer Arin Ilejay. I enjoyed the new sound that the band have taken and the sound of Synyster Gates Hellwin signature amp gives the band a slightly different metal sound. The album opens with "Shepherd of Fire" which has a simple guitar riff but is catchy all the same. Once the riff makes contact with the drums it becomes a very groove orientated piece. The verse is good with a good link to the chorus where the intro riff makes a return. The chorus is easy going and good. The solo has the obvious Synyster Gates feel to it with some harmonized guitars and a sustained note into a quieter section like the intro. The second track "Hail to the King" has a catchy fast riff played by Synyster which recurs throughout the song, this is then followed up with a more riffy feeling riff. The overall tempo of the song is slower and the verses are good. The chorus and link feature some chanting from the rest of the band which will be used nicely live as well. The solo is awesome and memorable as well. "Doing Time" is track three which feels more like a standard album track which is always good but I have seen they play it live which surprised me. It is a nice original piece which has a nice bridge section and another good solo. Track four is "This Means War" which has a very Metallica like feel and I know has been compared to "Sad But True." However I do like "This Means War" and the riff is awesome. The song is very groovy and the solo is one of the better ones on the album. There are some headbanging moments throughout the song and a good harmonized guitar part which makes a return after the guitar solo. Track five is "Requiem" which has some interesting Latin vocals at the start which come back later on in the song accompanied by instruments. The chorus is good but the constant repetition of the words "In flames" seems slightly unnecessary. It is a very groove song and features the use of a wah pedal during the solo which has a nice feel. The solo is also very fast and intricate which I like. Track six is "Crimson Day" which uses clean tone a lot of the way through. I think it feels like a cross between "So Far Away," "Tonight the World Dies" and "M.I.A." in a sense. The chorus is nice with a distorted guitar which isn't too loud in the mix. The solo again is good and the track features some use of orchestra, mainly the strings which is a nice addition to the track. Track seven is "Heretic" which I feels links back to the previous album "Nightmare" nicely. Overall this track isn't one of my favorites but has some nice sounding guitar on it and links back to the "City of Evil" era with arpeggios during the chorus. "Coming Home" is track eight and I think its one of my favorites from the album. The intro riff is nice and this is reiterated via the backing of the verse. The solos are awesome and the lyrics are catchy. "Planets" comes in at track nine and is one of the heaviest songs on the album. With heavy riffs and solid drums, including some double bass drumming during the chorus "Planets" has to be one of my favorites on this album. There are some real headbanging moments in this song and the chorus is extremely memorable. "Acid Rain" closes the album as track ten. It is a calmer piece and I've heard it is the aftermath of "Planets" or the world after the apocalypse. It has some guitar that reminds me of Steve Morse in a way but it is mainly focused around being a piano ballad. Overall "Acid Rain" is a nice way to close the album and is good for easy listening. A bonus track came with the deluxe edition of the CD called "St. James." It is a tribute song to The Rev and is a very groovy piece with a nice guitar riff that echoes throughout. It strikes me as something that could have come out of the writing of the self-titled album but didn't make it onto the CD. For a bonus track it is brilliant and I feel it is one of the best parts of the album with chorus melodies similar to "Trashed & Scattered" and "Lost." // 9

Lyrics: Overall the lyrics were good but in some places I felt they lacked imagination such as on "This Means War" the title is repeated four times and then on "Requiem" the phrase "In Flames" is repeated a few times. However M. Shadows vocals have not wavered at all and it doesn't sound as if he is straining to reach the harder notes. The stories behind the lyrics sounds like standard metal pieces but because they have been left open to interpretation people will hear different meanings behind each song. The lyrics fit well with the musical style and create good songs. // 8

Overall Impression: I do believe that this is a strong effort and will hold up well in their repertoire. The new guitar sounds are welcome with Synyster Gates new amp and Johnny Christ's signature bass its something interesting. However I do feel like the sound of the guitar doesn't change drastically between some pieces and its a more "that will do" job rather than "that sounds awesome!" I find it quite difficult to compare with other albums because it isn't really drastically similar to anything else they have done before but this is no bad thing. I have read a few times that Arin's drumming is "sloppy" but I don't hear it and to me it feels like a way for people to get at him because he isn't The Rev. The songwriting doesn't feel as complex as with previous albums but I've heard from interviews that this was their intention but I feel its because The Rev isn't there. Overall I enjoyed "Hail to the King" and if you enjoy metal then definitely give this a listen. I will look forward to seeing what Avenged Sevenfold offer in the future and in the meantime will listen to this album intently. // 9

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+ Hail to the King [Single] 6.9 07/16/2013
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