Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage (Guest Author)

thestage

Good god the day has finally come. I forget exactly how it went, but at the beginning of summer when Jag-boi was visiting Torrington we basically agreed that if Avenged Sevenfold dropped an album this year that he’d let me write an article about it for A Beat A Day. So not only was I excited for a new album the entire time, I was anxious to write this up and give my perspective on their new album. To preface this review I should let you know that I’m a huge Avenged Sevenfold fan and that I like everything they do (yes, even some of STST) so this review won’t really have any negative side to it besides some minor things.

So the way this is gonna work is I’m going to listen to the album straight through, and for each song I’m just gonna kinda summarize what I’m hearing and what I like or dislike. I have already listened to it once because I just couldn’t wait, but on the second time through hopefully I catch some details I missed the first time through.

God I hope I don’t suck at this.

That all being said, let’s do this:

  • The Stage – 8:32

So if you’re reading this, you’re probably an Avenged Sevenfold fan or someone interested in the band, or a dedicated ABAD fan. Either way, this song is the single that they released like a week or two ago, I forget. I read a bunch of comments on their Facebook post about this and there were a lot of mixed reviews. I personally think this song is awesome. Brooks Wackerman opens up the album on a high note by matching a sweet guitar intro with some sick drum skillz. This song has very strong vocals and everyone plays a big part in the song all the way through the 8 ½ minutes. The lyrics are great too, they have this like fantasy aspect that’s a little fictional and story-like, but then it also has some deeper meaning. If you watch the music video they put up for this song, you’d get it. It touches on some political aspects.

After the breakdown M. Shadows really picks up and powers through a nice little verse and it instantly drops into a scream and a cool fuckin guitar riff and some good background laughter and voices. That’s the A7X I love right there. And this outro gives me the chills. Brooks gives the perfect beat for some dueling guitars to play us out on the first song. I’m gonna say this more than once on this review but Brooks really was an amazing pick up for A7X.

AND THIS ACOUSTIC GROOVY SOLO OUTRO MAN. Synyster Gates is a god.

  • Paradigm – 4:19

The first time I heard this I was like, “fuck yeah, a heavy ass intro this is gonna be a heavier song” but I was kinda wrong. It quickly transitions to a smooth verse. This is personally one of my favorites on the album purely because the chorus. It’s been stuck in my head since I heard it. “Father, O’ Father, I stare at my reflection / Have I lost that boy inside?” like c’mon that’s so catchy and powerful. What really gets me though is the powerful fucking scream that M. Shadows wails off right after, I was honestly caught by surprise in a great way. I love after the second chorus that sinister kind of voice that brings us to a very impressively groovy solo by Syn that is surrounded by great drums and a solid rhythm guitar by Zacky. They didn’t do this for Hail To the King a lot, but I love when they have a quick extra verse after a solo and finish with the chorus. The verses are alright in this song, but the chorus just does it for me here.

  • Sunny Disposition – 6:41

A good two-part guitar riff and sick bass and drums to start this one off, I honestly love it. When the chorus starts though, I think this is where you start to see where they kinda step in a new direction. The singing. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s not what I expected after the last four albums, ya know. I love the hook and chorus though, that shit is badass, and so is the section after the chorus because the trumpets (or whatever instrument) make it sound so fucking cool. The lyrics are great too, they really like talking about inequality and stuff. And after the second verse they have a quick little sexy clarinet flutter (or whatever instrument #2). The breakdown has this cool little ‘Vlader Lauder’ piece too that is interesting, I don’t know if it’s a quote from something but it sounds cool. And then BOOM Syn completely obliterates another solo, I don’t know how he does it lol it still blows my mind. Yeah, this song is solid. A little different with the vocals, but you can’t really knock it.

Wow, I almost forgot that right at the end Shadows goes “It’s an illusion” and there’s a few quick guitar notes. I remember wondering if that was gonna play directly into the next song as like an intro guitar, but then

  • God Damn – 3:42

BAM. Well, I wasn’t entirely wrong, there’s some soft guitar in between the heavy strums intro. But still, BAM, they really thrash this one out. Like right before the verse they bang those fucking drums and have some sweet riffs. This song seems to be the crowd favorite amongst my friends and it’s easy to see why. It’s heavy, fast, has strong lyrics, and a catchy ass chorus. They really power through two whole sections and have a quick little solo and move onto an acoustic/electric guitar jam session with a cool verse about ‘The piper’ luring your kids away and assumingly killing them because it was their final day at the river. It’s fucking cool. And the chorus after that with an alteration to the instrumentals is a nice touch. And then BAM it’s over.

And then, BAM, it’s actually over this time.

  • Creating God – 5:35

This one definitely has my favorite intro. Syn, Zacky, Johnny, and Brooks really jam it out and its super appealing. I really enjoy these verses too, they have a cool kinda laidback feel with the vocals. They really killed it with the choruses on the album, because they’re all catchy, this one is no exception.

S/o Darwin one time because I never would expect them to mention him in a song lol but they use it in a good way talking about evolution of man and how maybe we’re going too far down this path? Idk, that’s just what I think they meant, and that’s reinforced after the second chorus where Shadows has a really cool part about summoning the demon.

My favorite part of this song by far, however, is how at the beginning of the solo Syn and Brooks are both freestyling, it’s just beautiful man. Of course, they hand it off to Syn though who, again, rattles off this blistering solo. It’s art, I wish I could do that.

Overall, Creating God is a really good song. Besides the verses, this song brings us back to an earlier-sounding version of Avenged Sevenfold, if you get what I’m sayin. It feels classic.

  • Angels – 5:41

A simple dual guitar chord intro, I like it. It feels like it should be in a western movie. Shadows gives us some soft vocals that I love. He gets more rhythmic from here on out. This is another contender for favorite chorus. Catchy (of course), quick, and some subtle orchestra in the background. After the second verse we get a slower, but still very powerful solo from Syn. This song is a nice change in tempo where they showcase a little diversity in style. JK, Syn kinda rips a tasty lick on the latter part of the solo, whatever, still good. Yeah this shit is good, one of those songs where I’ll be driving and singing the chorus at the top of my lungs with a fist in the air (Bros know what I mean by that).

God they’re good. The outro is just overlapping voices of verses and jamming drums and Syn just peeling away on the guitar the only way he knows how.

  • Simlation – 5:31

This song is a real change in pace as far as the verses are concerned. It’s slow and has a simple, but mystical kind of guitar and some nice soft drums to kind of slow it down on the album. At the end of the verse they cut the vocals and you can just hear the build up. It makes you wonder, “are they about to jam the fuck out?” and then there’s a gunshot and you hear Shadows say “I know this is hard to believe and all / But you exist because we allow it” and all your questions are answered and they fucking make you pre.

And from there they give us that powerful guitar, drum, bass, and vocal combo we missed over the course of the last song. Again, this is a completely new chorus but the way its conducted makes it feel classic Avenged Sevenfold, squealing guitars and background screams and all. Somehow that perfectly transitions back into the slower-styled verse #2.

And then here we are again, gun shot, evil Shadows voice, and a bangin-ass chorus for all to enjoy.

They really know how to make you bang your head man, I love it. I love the patient 666158 and all. Syn takes us on another wild solo ride up and down the full length of his guitar at breakneck speeds, it’s great.

And again, a smooth transition into the chorus.

This song was the other favorite amongst the Bros and again, it’s easy to see why again, because it’s a fuckin jam.

  • Higher – 6:29

This one starts with a spacey kind of feeling. Not like the Kevin, but like the astronaut kind of space, which I guess makes sense because the album cover is a big galaxy Deathbat thing and the back of the album literally has an astronaut on it.

The lyrics lead me to believe that this is about the Rev, and I love that it’s sang as a group (is it the band as whole? That I don’t know).

Ka-boom. They do it again. They come out of nowhere again with a heavy instrumental fill that leads us into an awesome part by Shadows.

Yeah this song is one of my favorites for sure. I think Brooks’ skills really stand out here. Not that they haven’t in the previous songs, but this certifies that he can really bring a whole song together for the band.

He kills it man, he just knows how to back up all the instrumental segments and solos. It really is reminiscent of the Rev’s style for A7X, fitting for a song that is easily interpreted as their tribute to the Rev, which is hopefully a regular thing because So Far Away, St. James, and now Higher are all really fucking good.

I love the drums in the outro that lead into the piano and singers. It makes me think of the Rev on Brompton Cocktail.

  • Roman Sky – 5:01

I assume this is Syn to start us off, and man he can just lull you to sleep. Soothing vocals and violins come in and just put me in a coma, it’s just so melodic and peaceful. Again, this song could ALSO bare homage to the Rev.

Shadows absolutely shines on the second verse, I almost shed tears.

Even though this solo is just basic strings, Syn still kills it. The violins that back him give me goosebumps, and then Brooks just makes your spine shiver as he brings together this power ballad-esque song.

This power solo is amazing, someone please play this song at my funeral.

  • Fermi Paradox – 6:31

A devastating start makes me excited, kind of feels like Planets.

A common theme on this album (and this review lol) is the strong lyrics. I love Shadows on this second half of the album. The instrumentals have not let me down thus far and they still don’t throughout the verses and chorus.

“My sweet Medusa, reflect the empty in our being / Snakes born of fire conjure the demon in our dreams” ….I don’t care, no matter how he decided to sing this it would’ve been fucking awesome.

Another power solo. Slow and groovy, playing to the feel of the vocals and mood of the song, and then branching off into full on drum solo and guitar solo in beautiful harmony. Brooks for president.

And gosh dangit, another freakin solo. This isn’t overkill, this is beauty.

A kind of mellow, but powerful song that ends in a sweet solo that slowly fades away and we never hear the end of?

Wonder where they got that.

*coughcough* Fade to Black *coughcough*

  • Exist – 15:40

So Fermi Paradox fades directly into our almost 16 minute long concluding song. It begins sounding how I imagine the future sounds, all spacey and technological like. Let me tell you, this was the last thing I expected, but it’s still cool. It fits the theme.

BAM they fucking pick right up and go through like 10 different sections of pure metal instrumental, it kind of reminds me of the instrumental of Unbound and it kicks ass.

Honestly I said to my boy Andy this past summer that it would be so cool if A7X did an instrumental song, like Metallica has done a couple times. The first like 7 minutes of this song are just that and I was right, it was so fucking cool.

Spacey transition into smooth guitar, and some great vocals again by Shadows. It’s hard to pinpoint, but I think I like these lyrics the most on this album. They’re pretty deep, but at the same time the message is very clear. It’s kind of like the pain of moving on and growing older. Not as fictional as usual, but still really powerful.

The rest of this song is mostly instrumental.

MOSTLY. That’s because Neil deGrasse Tyson makes a huge fucking totally unexpected cameo talking about some cool space shit that I don’t understand but it sounds amazing. Fucking Neil deGrasse Tyson has a monologue on an Avenged Sevenfold album, how awesome is that? Seriously, that’s truly something I would’ve never saw coming and it’s the perfect way to cap off this album.

Conclusion:

Vocally, the second half was better than the first half, can’t lie. Again, not saying the first half was bad for M. Shadows, it was just a little repetitive and a little too different, but that’s just me, not everyone may think that. Synyster Gates absolutely killed it on every song. He can climax any song with any type of solo. He can shred the guitar until his fingers start to smoke or he can give you a groovy acoustic solo, doesn’t matter. He’s a master of his craft. Zacky provides very solid foundation at rhythm throughout the entire album and helps set the pace and mood as well. Johnny is obviously underrated as the bassist, but if you use your ears good then you can hear that he pitches into the album as well and helps fill in every song, even though I didn’t give him credit throughout the actual playing of the album.

And this just leaves us with Brooks Wackerman. The man really stepped up to the plate here. After the Rev we had Mike Portnoy to fill in and help finish Nightmare, and he was fucking awesome on that. Then we had Arin Ilejay for Hail to the King and he also fucking crushed it (Portnoy and Ilejay both won Golden God awards as best Drummer’s for these albums during those years.) And now we have Brooks, the former drummer for Bad Religion. He was consistently amazing this entire album, it truly brought me joy to listen to him crush every part of this album. He was extremely impressive, and I could’ve predicted it just from listening to The Stage (song).

I love this album and I’ve only listened to it twice. I think it was a huge step forward for the band, especially as it is their first album with a new label outside of Warner Bros. Yes, It is different, but every album they’ve put out has been different than the one before it. I loved Hail to the King, but I think I already love The Stage more. It’s packed with everything we all already loved about Avenged Sevenfold and also gives us a bunch of new stuff that makes the experience even better. This album makes very excited for the future of Avenged Sevenfold.

Fuck this was long, sorry about that, I really didn’t think I was gonna write this much. I haven’t read every single article on this site, or many actual reviews done by big-time writers or anything, so I apologize if this like over-the-top. I’m clearly passionate about this though, and I’m just trying to give my perspective in a certain way is all.

S/o to Jag-Daddy for letting me write a piece for A Beat A Day, it was my pleasure.

Dave Canny

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s