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Hail To The King
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 December 2013
Hail To The King is US metal band Avenged Sevenfold's sixth album and, probably, their most commercial release so far. Straddling the thin divide between the rock and metal genres with ease with the aid of new drummer Arin Ilejay (who actually only recorded this one album with them), replacing sadly deceased sticksman Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, it is probably their most controversial album amongst their fans. Although the majority of AX7 admirers seemed to like it, there were many people who referred to it as their covers album or dismissed it as being too mainstream and not heavy enough. I'm actually a little shocked that, being someone who values originality so highly, I like this album so much. There are so many obvious "influences" on this album that they absolutely smash the line between homage and plagiarism, however, they do it with such style and have made such a listenable, enjoyable, well crafted album that I have forgiven them for it.

My appreciation of Avenged Sevenfold comes courtesy of my Stepson, Jamie, who has often referred to them as his favourite band, so it's fair to say that I've heard a lot of their material and have really grown to love them myself (my particular favourites are Nightmare and City Of Evil). This album, however, harks back to one of my favourite periods in metal history, the eighties and early nineties, with ideas, arrangements, riffs and lyrics lifted, lock, stock and barrel from acts such as Iron Maiden (Hail To The King), Metallica (This Means War), Guns 'n' Roses (Doing Time) and, if you know these bands well, you will be left open-mouthed in amazement at the cheek Avenged have shown with some of the tracks. Having got that out of the way, I cannot help but give respect to Sevenfold for obviously loving the kind of metal I've loved over the years and replicating the appeal that era of music had so convincingly, even adapting their playing style and vocal delivery to suit the particular band they are, ahem, paying tribute to.

Although I enjoy this album in its entirety, there are a few stand-out tracks for me; yes, it's basically a re-written Sad But True, but This Means War still manages to be one of my favourite cuts from this release. The classically influenced (I'm thinking Orff's Carmina Burana), dramatic Requiem is also a highlight and the guitar solo on Crimson Day is nothing short of spine-tingling gorgeousness, making what could be a slightly ordinary song something special. In fact, Synyster Gates' impressive guitar work throughout the album is almost a masterclass in a wide range of metal guitar styles and he has surely earned the title of one of the true greats of heavy rock. My last pick from the album would be the final track, Acid Rain which has a bit of an III Sides-era Extreme feel to it and is an ambitious, string-filled ballad. Indeed, M. Shadows gives a performance Gary Cherone would be proud to call his own.

If you get your reservations out of the way, this is an entirely enjoyable album with impressive musicianship from the band being demonstrated throughout. Of course, some people may not be able to get past hearing Avenged being the ultimate tribute act for their musical heroes, but I think they have made what could easily be described as a classic heavy rock album and also probably the most accessible record in their catalogue to date for those who know nothing about the band. For Avenged fans who particularly love their early material, that may not be a good thing, but for someone like me who has been a fan from Nightmare onwards and hasn't particularly enjoyed all of the earlier output, it's a huge positive. You can tell that there has been intricate attention to detail on this album and it is a dark, Gothic, classy piece of work from start to finish, brilliantly produced and mixed too. My love of metal has definitely faded over the years, but Hail To The King is the kind of quality rock/metal release that is more than capable of reigniting my love for the genre.
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on 12 November 2015
This band seem to be real love them or hate them material; I have to say I was REALLY surprised. Decent songs, very good musicianship and stellar production make for a good package. Yes they may be derivative and the influences are worn with pride; Maiden, Metallica, Guns n Roses, Motley Crue, ACDC etc but at least they're honest about it!!

Its a great sounding album with a production job reminiscent of Metallica's 1991 album. Everything is clean, clear & defined; the snare drums and bass guitar sounding just like Hetfield & co did back then, the guitars & vocals crystal clear too. Its just good solid mid tempo metal and I cant fault it for that!! It doesn't always have to be extreme.

And of course the symphonic touches & orchestrations are very welcome too, never overused but really adding to the already tasty brew being served. Planets is a great example for this.

And so what if This Means War sounds like Sad But True; its hardly as if Metallica never plagiarised along the way or anyone else for that matter - frankly Led Zeppelin built a career on it.
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on 13 October 2014
I'm new to Avenged Sevenfold, so I know nothing of their earlier works (my loss I'm beginning to think), but 'Hail to the King' is simply one of the best albums I've bought this year. You can easily see the influence of greats as Guns N' Roses, Metallica etc. But this doesn't really matter because it just works and the tracks are classy well produced numbers. Listen to the quality of the guitar playing. This is the sort of stuff that would give Slash a run for his money, and I suspect perhaps even best him. The title track 'Hail to the King' blew me away. It's so addictive that I've had it on repeat play with the volume on '11'. A genuine pleasure to discover a band that has rekindled feelings of the raw 'wow' factor I used to get in my teens/twenties. If you area fan of late 80s/early 90s style hard rock, buy this album, you won't be disappointed.
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on 3 January 2014
When I first heard this album I didn't get it. It was nothing like the other awesome Avenged Sevenfold offerings. Like others I assumed that the loss of the Rev spelled doom for this band. After a few more disappointing listens I nearly filed it on the shelf. It wasn't bad, just didn't feel like original A7X

Then I listed again as it was the only thing I had in the car. Like a lightbulb moment I suddenly seemed to get it. It's often said that a really good album should take some listening to before you really like it. Strange that it should be so suddenly true for this album. Definitely a favourite now. This is war is probably my favourite track.

Having got to grips with it we then went to see them in concert. What a truly rocking band these guys are. And somehow this new album no longer seemed out of place among their older songs that they played. Best rock band in the world right now.
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on 21 April 2016
After purchasing and enjoying all but the first of their releases I could not believe my ears when I heard this one?
It is not merely a homage to Metallica and gnr but sounds almost like they are covering these bands originals.
I had reasonably high expectations but cannot now bring myself to play this anymore. It is quite obvious that not all agree with me as this shot to number one in its first week?
Am hoping now that they have gotten this out of their systems and return with more original sounding compositions.
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on 13 February 2014
Having enjoyed Sevenfold for many years now I was very keen to hear how their latest release would sound, especially given the sad and tragic loss of the Reverend. I must say that I am deeply impressed as to the route they have taken. Yes, the absence of the Reverend is clear, he had a unique talent which will never be copied, however, the tone, sound and bass reminds me of the early nighties and with traits of Metallica's Black Album and Gun's and Roses Appetite for destruction. I grew up on 80's and early 90's metal and for those similar to me i'd like to think they too would enjoy this album.

It is a truly awesome album, thoroughly recommended and one which will be booming out in my house, car, on my ipod and PC for sometime!
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on 16 January 2014
I discoverd Avenged Sevenfold through reading about them in Metal Hammer, and then I purchased this latest album and I have not stop playing it since, it really is metal at its best, they are definitely the leading lights in metal right now, I am not usually into that many of the newer metal bands, being more of a fan of the classic stuff like Black Sabbath, although I am a massive Soundgarden fan, what I like about this album is there are some awesome metal guitar riffs mixed with awesome drumming which you can hear very clearly topped off with a great rock vocalist all in all an awesome album showing the band at their peak!!
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on 10 September 2013
I've only been listening to A7X for about 3 years, around about the time Nightmare was released.

Since then, I've heard all of their albums and have become a fan of them. I can say, this is probably my second favourite (Nightmare being the first).

Each track is unique and throughout the whole album, you hear a whole mix of their classic influences - such as Black Sabbath, Metallica and Guns N Roses, whilst still remaining true to their signature sound.

A great return for the band and a good debut for the new drummer. Looking forward to seeing the material played live, since a load of the tracks are made to be sung along with!
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on 22 April 2014
Slightly different from the recent Avenged Sevenfold albums, this old-style rock/metal album is well worth it. Going back to calssic sounds and anthemic tunes, I was thoroughly impressed with the new Sevenfold instalment. The only real let down was the title track 'Hail to the King', which is a bit repetitive and simple, but the rest of the album is fantastic. Also the bonus track 'St James' is well worth a listen for anyone that hasn't already, I wish it had been part of the original album.
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on 13 October 2013
First listen I thought, huh, where's the lunacy and energy of previous A7X albums. 3rd or 4th listen something clicked and I'm deeply in love with this album. I'd say very late 80's metal/hard rock in concept with a modern twist. This album doesn't let up at all, constant theme and vibe throughout, even the 2 ballads. Track 3 is pure Guns N Roses in style and sound, awesome. Track 4 to me is almost Metallica's Sad but True part 2, drums are heavy and pretty epic. New guy does a solid, if a tad tame job on the whole album. If you can get your head and heart around the fact this isn't a traditional sounding A7X album and judge on it on its own merit, there's nothing to dislike. I almost wish it was made by another band, i love this, but then i love the old style too. I will miss the Revs lunacy and input on future albums I think.
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