Avenged Sevenfold Celebrate New 'Singalong' Direction

The band say it helps their music cross borders. Is that a lesson for all music makers, or the sign of a band selling out?

Ultimate Guitar

Avenged Sevenfold say their new style of songwriting on "Hail to the King" was designed so it would cross borders and be successful in foreign languages. It seems to have worked: the album landed at No. 1 in several nations. But does their songwriting tactic make them a certain breed of sellout, or is this just smart modern music making? Speaking to The Morning Sun (via Classic Rock), guitarist Zacky Veneance explained their change of sound: "We took a conscious approach to try to write in a more direct fashion. Just by nature, we’re always filled with so many ideas and want to cram as many ideas into a song as we can, and I think that gave us a lot of our signature sound. But, looking back, that could be a little bit meandering, y’know?

"At this point in our career we’ve shared so many stages across the world and seen bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica on a nightly basis and see how every person in their crowds knows every word and sings along in unison, and that’s where we wanted to get to. We wanted to write the kind of songs that can really cross any language barriers, any borders and resonate with fans around the world.

"For us to dial back a little bit and have a little more straightforward, singalong appeal was a challenge. In order to do that we had to throw away a lot of stuff. We kind of wrote this album with the rule that if a guitar riff can't stand alone without adding a dual harmony riff or any other stuff, then it wasn’t a good enough riff. So this time instead of adding layers, it was really about peeling back layers." What do you make of their new direction? Do you have a newfound respect for their smarts, or is it just money chasing? Let us know your view in the comments.

64 comments sorted by best / new / date

    These guys are really hung up on Metallica and Iron Maiden's success
    I agree. A7X's originality is at stake because they want to be too much like their influences. They should start a Metallica cover band, and try to get it out of their system.
    That could actually work, one album made up of nothing but covers of songs they like. It'll keep them busy and as you say; get it out their system.
    Yep. It seemed to have worked for Trivium.
    Trivium moved away from that image finally with Shogun. A7X all seem like 12 year old wannabes still.
    Well, hey! Testament made a career off ripping off the Master of Puppets formula. They've always been known as Metallica clones with a better guitarist. Now'a'days they're the favourite band of everyone who has only heard 10 Thrash Metal bands. Modern Metal/Rock fans have made no attempt to punish clones and rip-offs, it's silly they'd start now.
    i like the old approach better, waking the fallen and city of evil are still their best albums imho
    The funny thing is I think the majority of us were still able to sing along to songs off those records. ANd they were much better songs..
    Nero Galon
    I agree with this, they are and have been a melodic metal band ever since their 2nd album. I have to admit though that it's kind of hard for any band to make 4-5+ albums and still keep things fresh under the same formula.
    They did continue to develop though. Self-titled had a lot of their previous sound but they experimented more, which I loved. Nightmare was hit and miss for me, but they continued to try new things at least. I still liked it. I really don't like the new album or direction though. As a die hard A7X fan, I just don't feel like I'm listening to A7X anymore. Just a bland stew of regurgitated licks and riffs that I've already heard from great bands. Hopefully they at least blend their old style in with that in their next effort. Either way, I can't hate on them doing what they want regardless of the response.
    Why are so many musicians focusing on how Digestible their music is to the common ear rather than the music itself, it's like mainstream metal is slowly turning into nickleback, why are bands not worried about expanding their musical abilities rather than money?
    They've had the "singalong" direction throughout their entire careers. Look at "The Beast and the Harlot" and its chorus, pretty much all of Nightmare's title track, "Unholy Confessions," etc. There are quite a few songs on each album that have that direction to them. Basically, what they're saying is that they're celebrating reaching a wider audience. I personally think this is their worst album to date, but whatever works for them, I suppose.
    we all know that some songs on hail to the king are very similar to other bands, but i would wait for the next album to judge them finally. best example is when trivium released "the crusade", everyone thought the band is now a complete "metallica cover band" ( i liked the album though ) but then they changed again their style with shogun and everything was ok again ( more or less, the ascendancy fans wouldn't agree with me at this point)
    The album is still solid. I definitely prefer it to "Avenged Sevenfold" and "Nightmare." I feel like people misinterpret them for going in this direction for the "money"... They seemed to be doing pretty well before. I honestly think they're going in this direction for the exact reason ZV said... Watch the Rock in Rio video. The crowd is singing along to every chorus, and a lot of the guitar parts. That's definitely empowering. And while I still think "Waking the Fallen" and "City of Evil" are their two most creative albums, I'd understand them wanting to harness that power. I'm just glad they put out a solid metal album. I've been waiting for that heavier direction to come back for almost a decade now, so I was definitely satisfied with songs like "Requiem" and "Planets."
    Does sing-a-long songs mean you can sing another bands lyrics over your songs . . . I am looking at you "This Mean War"
    What does 'sell out' mean? I don't know. It this is sell out music then please sell out some more because I absolutely loved it.
    Zakky people sing along to Metallica becouse they like, not becouse its in their language
    I kinda preferred when the songs were better, more interesting, and in English. HttK was just a snoozefest as far as A7X goes.
    Irwin Navarro
    A7X= best band of this century.. Go ahead, flame me
    "Best" is a little subjective. I would say that they're one of the most significant metal bands of our generation though. Two debut #1 albums. Headlining festivals worldwide. They're only getting bigger too...
    Nickelback & A7X ...Butt Rock World Tour!
    Nickelback, sure... but calling Avenged "butt rock" never really made sense to me. You're essentially calling Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, and Pantera "butt rock" too, because those are pretty much the blender of artists where Avenged gets their sound...
    well, I like the new album, there are a few good ones, but also really cheezy ones like "Crimson Day"... It's so cheezy, it hurts. (my ears at least) But all in all, I'd rather listen to their old stuff. Definitely more creative!
    man you ****ing people are so ****ing judgmental... Let them do whatever they want. Every band experiments with their sound and music at some point.. they're evolving and growing as a band as well as musicians. You ****ing ungrateful faggots are never satisfied with sheer talent until you hear the same shit like jb and 1D singing the same ****ing crap over and over again. If you consider your self a fan of A7X, please don't! honest and loyal Fans Support their favorite band no matter what instead of bashing them the minute they make some changes to their sound.. Fuck man!!
    not really dude. just because you are a fan does not mean you have to blindly support them on everything they do. in this case i do not bash them because i think this direction isn't that bad though
    I will never understand why fans of shit bands always assume that anyone who doesn't like their shit band listens to pop. Every single time someone gets mad over people (god forbid) not liking the same music as them, the Bieb comes up in their defense, without fail. Pull that stick out of your ass. Not everyone likes the same things.
    Projection, probably. A7X and bands like them are the Pop-equivalent of extreme music. Derivative trash whose main fanbase is made up of 14-year old girls. Really no surprise a fan would automatically jump to Pop music.
    "honest and loyal Fans Support their favorite band no matter what" Yes, and true, loyal friends would hand the knife to the friend who wants to commit suicide, right?
    I'm not a fan. Just here to bash a shitty band that keeps getting even more shitty with every release. Go re-paint your fingernails black and put on your guyliner douchebag. Go feel pretty somewhere else.
    not a fan , never was. they sound like cheesey hair metal meets sing along 80s metal commercial revival
    when i see..."they do this for money". and that become the main reason for bashing any musician (and almost everything or anyone), make me think...the ones that always make this statements, are the ones who always think in money? are the ones that are completely rotted for money? the ones who thinks money its the only thing that matters in this world and thinks that anything thats made or do, its for the sake of money?
    Tiago Sa
    I will sooner think "they do this 'cause they're dumb" then "they do this for money", but I would rather accuse someone of selling out than of being stupid. Out of decency, you know? That said, I think they do this for fame. Of course fame equals money, but it also equals pussy, so you might as well say they do this for pussy. Or dick, or whatever it is they fancy.
    Tiago Sa
    They were never any good, but their latest album is absolute crap. You can easily tell they are purposely trying to be more dumbed down and dumbass-friendly in their compositions. I doubt I'll pay them much attention in the future despite their relative technical talent.
    So covering other artists is their strategy to get people to know the words?
    There new approach was very successful and what they were going for "everyone in the crowd singing in unison" they achieved. I saw them last week on their US tour in Boston MA and during hail to the king everyone was singing along to the chorus
    Tiago Sa
    That's not worth mentioning. Last time I went to a Dream Theater concert, everyone was singing along the whole song, and that's including Petrucci's and Rudess' solos! And Dream Theater can hardly be said to make simple, sing-along oriented musics. It's the quality of the music that dictates the quality of the fans, and the quality of the fans dictates whether they will sing-along or not.
    I understand what you're saying, but having seen Dream Theater a few times, I laughed at you saying that people were actually singing along to Petrucci's guitar solos and Rudess's keyboard solos... Come on now hah...
    Tiago Sa
    Maybe that's just here in Portugal. Experiences will definitely vary.
    This rings the same way as Metallicas Black album did,,of course its sell out material and is produced for arena rock sound to larger audiences,A7X wrote the album in this direction with what appears to be that purpose in mind.they so underplayed in HTTK.
    anyway it sounds good enough to be something special...not outstanding just awsome
    People complain about this album as if they've branched off into a more accessible, commercial direction, but then forget about "Almost Easy" "Welcome to the Family" "Bat Country" "Carry On" "Dear God"... I mean, every song on this album, even the singalong ones, are absolutely crushing compared some of the material on their last two albums.