Review: Avenged Sevenfold – “The Stage”

Avenged Sevenfold – “The Stage”

If you were to ask any guitarist, drummer, bassist, or vocalist that started learning their instrument between 2004 and 2007 what bands had the biggest influence on them, there’s a pretty good chance that Avenged Sevenfold would be on that list. I remember listening to songs like “Beast and the Harlot” and “Unholy Confessions” and trying to match the guitar part up to fan made tabs online. I would get so excited when I would finally hear a riff begin to take shape. I’d piece riffs together to play full songs! My friends would come over and I would show them my progress! They were a huge part of me learning to play guitar. So you can understand my excitement when I heard there will be a new A7X album being released in 2016.

My initial reaction to hearing the title track “The Stage” before the album’s release was very positive. With their typical catchy, haunting riffs, the song almost goes into different movements ranging from theatrical to heavy to a ballad. It’s very much the Avenged Sevenfold that I’m used to… then the rest of the album was released.

Now let’s keep in mind this is this band’s 7th studio album. And 1st with this new drummer, Brooks Wackerman. So what’s my point? They know how to make a record. Honestly, this album is a great piece of art. The composition is there, everyone is playing their instruments very well, and Joe Barresi does a great job of production. However, there’s still something missing. Then it hit me… none of these songs make me say, “Man, I have to learn that guitar part!” or “I can listen to that riff all day long!” There’s just nothing there make me enjoy this album as much as ‘City of Evil’ or even ‘Nightmare.’

I asked my friend, Derek, what he thought of it. Now let me just put this into perspective. Derek loves Avenged Sevenfold. “But Tony, how can we understand just how much he likes them?” I’m glad you ask. HE HAS A GIANT FREAKING DEATHBAT TATTOO’D ON HIS BACK!! So I hope that helps you understand why I respect his opinion on the band.

After giving him a couple days to get a good solid opinion of the album he came to pretty much the same conclusion I did. He says it’s a very good album if you go into it “completely forgetting everything you’ve ever heard from them.” He also claimed he was very optimistic upon hearing the title track, “The Stage” just like myself. “It’s very reminiscent of the Nightmare album” he said, “and was a very misleading representation of what the rest of the cd would be.”

We both agreed that this is our least favorite album that A7X as released. It’s a very cinematic approach to a metal record. It seems to replace the signature “guitar in the foreground” method with a guitar sound that is there to support this new orchestra. It’s also missing a whimsical and fun element that most of our most beloved albums in them have. Songs line “Fiction” and “A Little Piece of Heaven” dare to push Avenged Sevenfold’s boundaries of creativity, but “Sunny Disposition” and “God Damn” are just so boring to me. There’s just too many extra instruments causing confusion and unnecessary clutter.

With that being said, however, the soloes done by Syn and Zacky are excellent. And the new drummer does a great job of not trying to be The Rev. I feel like he is a great fit for A7X and hope to see him stick around. These band members are all masters of their craft and I have so much respect for them all. I just feel like since I’ve seen better material from them in the past that I was a little disappointed with the direction that they took with this album. Overall as Derek said, it’s a great album, if you don’t pay attention to other Avenged Sevenfold albums.

This album gets 3 out of 5 guitar picks.

Featured Track

Released:October 28, 2016
Label:Capitol Records
Producer:Avenged Sevenfold / Joe Barresi

Written by Tony Fortunato

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