Often described as heavy metal, Avenged Sevenfold have made it their ambition to become just that but more, creating a timeless world of excitement for themselves. Their latest album, The Stage, encompasses this theory, perfectly. The 11 tracks ring true to the bands original work, making for a very nostalgic album however the inclusion of entirely new tracks and an entirely new sound, is exactly the kind of thing that keeps you on your toes.
The first track on the album and also the title track, chimes in with a cinematic accordion, making you feel like you’re in an 80’s Sci-fi horror movie and the worst is about to go down. However, it’s not long before you’re dragged out of this looming danger and into the sounds of familiarity.
You find yourself in the throws of those sweeping guitar solo’s, haunting melodies and all the things that make A7X what they are, until you reach the fifth track in and you’re introduced to ‘Creating God.’ The heaviest song on the album and the dirtiest one of all. It’s pulsating drum beat and anthemic characteristics is a firm favourite, a solid half way mark and the point of change for the sound that you’d become so accustomed to.
‘Angels’ acts as the first of two low points on the album. Its laziness brings down the tone hugely and it’s monotony just leaves it in the dust. However, the instrumental finesse is this song’s saving grace. ‘Simulation’ drags itself out of the wake of the previous song and takes on a completely different style, one that we were not anticipating at all. If Nirvana and Pink Floyd were to get it on, this song would be it’s twisted little love child but then an explosion hits and the songs falls back into the heavy for a brief moment, then out again and then in again. These momentary bursts of energy, as fantastic as they are, only add to the confusing combination of genre’s and infuse headaches, rather than head banging.
However ‘Roman Sky’ comes storming to the rescue to erase the tragedies that we’ve just been subject to. This song is monumental to say the least and demonstrates the true musical talent of the band. This is the real rock ballad of the album and one that could be listened to over and over.
Wrapping things up in true A7X style, ‘Exist’ is truly out of this world as it takes you on a two part journey to outer space. The first 10 minutes leave the vocals behind and demonstrate some poignant, orchestral riffs and a mind blowing performance which then bleeds into a final farewell of soft, melodic vocals.
This album was an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least and one that leaves you confused rather than exhilarated. A7X have certainly not lost their touch and still remain one of the most talented and impressive performers but this time around, their composition of songs leaves an awful lot to be desired. The time old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rings quite true in this case and where you can appreciate their want and need to expand their horizons as musicians, sometimes there’s no harm in staying true to what you know works.