Sound — 7
After a very straightforward and catchy album, they made an 180 turn into a more progressive and less melodic territory. There are various different vibes throughout it the album, it's heavy on songs like "Paradigm," stoner-ish on "Angels," blues-y on "Roman Sky," and a lot of sudden changes from heavy and fast to calm on songs like the title track. Sonically it feels very raw and as if they played the songs live during the recording. Whilst the vocals, guitars and bass feel familiar, the drums feel newer and more complex/unrpredictable compared to previous albums.
Lyrics — 6
Traditionally Avenged Sevenfold tend to have catchy melodies and various harmonies, but ever since "HTTK" they keep cutting back on those. As far as the lyrics go, the band has tackled current events and reflects on how we got to where we are. On lines such as "Bought peace through wars that doomed that doomed our children to die" makes reference to the current wars in the middle east. On songs like "Creating God," the band gets really brainy as it breaks down the "logic" behind believing in God and religion. Whilst I always enjoy a catchy melody/chorus, the deepness and cleverness of the lyrics make up for it.
Overall Impression — 7
Well written songs that keep you engaged despite the fact that there are no sing-along choruses. One thing I have always loved about the band is that every album is very different from one another. whilst the band has done long and complex songs before, "The Stage" has a more raw sound as opposed to layering various different guitar and vocals as seen on albums like "City of Evil." Although I enjoy the album as a whole, tracks that stand out: "The Stage," "Paradigm," "Roman Sky" and "Exist." Lastly, being a Bad Religion fan and knowing of Brooks through his time in the band, I was really amazed how versatile and creative he is.