Track-By-Track Breakdown: Avenged Sevenfold's 'Hail to the King'

Track-By-Track Breakdown: Avenged Sevenfold's 'Hail to the King'

FUSE TV - Track-By-Track Breakdown: Avenged Sevenfold's 'Hail to the King'

Great news! Avenged Sevenfold's upcoming sixth album Hail to the King, one of the year's most anticipated metal releases, is streaming on iTunes in advance of its official release. The California outfit's metalcore and punk influences are gone entirely at this point, replaced with the sonic imprint of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, hair metal and even a touch of Queen. Here's our track by track breakdown of Hail to the King.

1. "Shepherd of Fire" One of the album's highlights is also its most representative track. Eschewing the exhilarating forward-energy of Nightmare highlights like "Welcome to the Family," A7X slow down the tempo of their attack to focus on the song's heavy-as-hell riff. It brings to mind Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, which is never a bad thing.

2. "Hail to the King" Boasting some lightning-fast shredding, this track is pure AC/DC at the start. After about a minute of theatrical guitar acrobatics, the band settles comfortably into British heavy metal territory, which is the default tone on this album. Unlike their earlier material, A7X seem more preoccupied with driving home the heaviness of the song instead of the speed of their delivery this time around.

3. "Doing Time" Frontman M. Shadows sings with an Axl Rose-esque swagger here and the band follows suit, mining Guns N' Roses' bluesy hard rock boogie.

4. "This Means War" The band pounds away at a Metallica-styled riff while Shadows wails, "I can't go on this way, not as I am today." The track is more melodic than most on Hail to the King but it stays around a few minutes too long, especially given the cliché "this means war" refrain that's repeated over and over and directed at no one in particular.

5. "Requiem" The most theatrical offering on this album, "Requiem" starts off with a chorus of male voices singing in Latin. Aside from being a nice little Queen homage, it also makes me think they recorded it specifically with the idea that it will eventually end up in a first-person shooter video game (which is a definite possibility, given that they've written for Call of Duty before).

6. "Crimson Day" M. Shadows attempts a mourning, soulful croon on this ballad with mixed results. Some metal growlers can pull off that trick, but A7X just sound like a forgettable '90s alt-rock band on this one. And the hair metal guitar solo doesn't exactly class up the affair.

7. "Heretic" Referencing Judgment Day, "the flames of hell," witches and saints, A7X go unabashedly Iron Maiden on this track. It's an awesome '70s throwback with a killer chugging riff.

8. "Coming Home" Listen to this track for the best guitar solos on the album. They're technically astounding, a lot of fun and will probably split your skull when you see this song performed in concert.

9. "Planets" It's hard to say if this track is a misstep or a delightfully absurd theatrical romp. This overwrought composition incorporates 20th century British composer Gustav Holst's famous The Planets suite into a lengthy metal jam and finds M. Shadows screaming "planets collllliiiiiiiiiiiide!" multiple times to near-laughable effect. On one hand, it's ridiculous. On the other hand, it goes so far it's almost brilliant. Almost.

10. "Acid Rain" Drummer Arin Ilejay—who became an official member of the band this year—performs admirably on most of the album, but the absence of James "The Rev" Sullivan (who died in 2009 of an accidental overdose) and his inventive technique is felt strongly on "Acid Rain." The drumming here is so straightforward that the band could have used a metronome and the track wouldn't be any worse. Plus, the tinkling piano and generic strings augmenting "Acid Rain" aren't doing the band any favors. It's unfortunate the album ends on a low note, because the first few tracks on Hail to the King do pack a genuine punch.

Take a listen to Avenged Sevenfold's new album, streaming for free on iTunes. What do you think? 

Sorry, the article you’re looking for is no longer available! Try these recommended videos.

Hail To The King

22m

Hail To The King

Fitz and the Tantrums Give Us a Track-by-Track Breakdown of Their New Album

3m

Fitz and the Tantrums Give Us a Track-by-Track Breakdown of Their New Album

Uranium: Avenged Sevenfold

2m

Uranium: Avenged Sevenfold

Track By Track: Metal Massacre

5m

Track By Track: Metal Massacre

Interviews: The Airborne Toxic Event Talk Tribute Track to Singer's Late Grandma

5m

Interviews: The Airborne Toxic Event Talk Tribute Track to Singer's Late Grandma

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: Freddie Gibbs

59s

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: Freddie Gibbs

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: I Run This

2m

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: I Run This

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: If It's War

2m

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: If It's War

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: Look in at a Million

1m

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: Look in at a Million

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: Shut it Down

3m

Shows: The Hustle: Music Track: Shut it Down

Music Video: "Say You Like Me" by We The Kings

3m

Music Video: "Say You Like Me" by We The Kings

TLC - Inside Track

3m

TLC - Inside Track

Track Challenge: G-Thing

56s

Track Challenge: G-Thing

Interviews: Fabolous Inside Track Interview

3m

Interviews: Fabolous Inside Track Interview

Shows: Fuse News: Making Waves on the Track Lite Feet in NYC

3m

Shows: Fuse News: Making Waves on the Track Lite Feet in NYC

Festivals: ACL:  Old 97's Dissect Their Landmark Album 'Too Far to Care'

4m

Festivals: ACL: Old 97's Dissect Their Landmark Album 'Too Far to Care'

The Fat Jewish and King Bach

20m

The Fat Jewish and King Bach

The King and Queen of  Bounce

21m

The King and Queen of Bounce

Festivals:Warped: We The Kings "Tour Superlatives"

2m

Festivals:Warped: We The Kings "Tour Superlatives"

King Keraun Slides Down the Slopes

2m

King Keraun Slides Down the Slopes

Shows: Fuse News: HAIM to Release New Album "Hopefully By the End of Summer"

2m

Shows: Fuse News: HAIM to Release New Album "Hopefully By the End of Summer"

Alex Clare Performs Unreleased Track Three Hearts About His Expecting Wife

2m

Alex Clare Performs Unreleased Track Three Hearts About His Expecting Wife

Coachella 2015: Kiesza On Music Discovery and Releasing Her Title Track

2m

Coachella 2015: Kiesza On Music Discovery and Releasing Her Title Track

Interviews: Inside Track: Pillow Fights, Headstands & Back-Handed Slaps: Inside Jason Derulo's New Video

2m

Interviews: Inside Track: Pillow Fights, Headstands & Back-Handed Slaps: Inside Jason Derulo's New Video

Festivals: Ultrafest 2013:  Porter Robinson Debuts Exclusive Tracks at Ultra Fest

2m

Festivals: Ultrafest 2013: Porter Robinson Debuts Exclusive Tracks at Ultra Fest

King Keraun Attempts to Become An "Archery Master"

6m

King Keraun Attempts to Become An "Archery Master"

King Keruan Steps Into the World of Ghosting

1m

King Keruan Steps Into the World of Ghosting

King Keraun Steps Into the World of Goth

2m

King Keraun Steps Into the World of Goth

We The Kings On Partying On Warped Tour

2m

We The Kings On Partying On Warped Tour

Interviews: The-Dream on New Album & Single: "I'm the King of Raunchy"

3m

Interviews: The-Dream on New Album & Single: "I'm the King of Raunchy"

Keegan Michael Key Talks Positivity and Being Casted In The Lion King

2m

Keegan Michael Key Talks Positivity and Being Casted In The Lion King

King Los

20m

King Los

King Britt

10m

King Britt

Festivals: Rock The Bells 2013: Will Kanye Oversee Pusha T's Sophomore LP 'King Push'?

5m

Festivals: Rock The Bells 2013: Will Kanye Oversee Pusha T's Sophomore LP 'King Push'?

Shows: Fuse News: Pusha T Talks Reuniting With The Neptunes For 'King Push' Album

2m

Shows: Fuse News: Pusha T Talks Reuniting With The Neptunes For 'King Push' Album

King Keraun Falls Into a Sunken Place While in the Woods

2m

King Keraun Falls Into a Sunken Place While in the Woods

Welcome to The 212

20m

Welcome to The 212

Festivals: Austin City Limits 2013: ACL's Official Chef Tim Love Calls Kings of Leon the "Biggest Foodies"

1m

Festivals: Austin City Limits 2013: ACL's Official Chef Tim Love Calls Kings of Leon the "Biggest Foodies"

Shows: Music Videos: "Tear Out The Heart" by Dead By Dawn

4m

Shows: Music Videos: "Tear Out The Heart" by Dead By Dawn

New Cage King

44m

New Cage King

KING Uncensored: TWPS

1m

KING Uncensored: TWPS

Coachella 2015: Alvin Risk's Mind Was Blown By Coachella's Reaction To His Set

2m

Coachella 2015: Alvin Risk's Mind Was Blown By Coachella's Reaction To His Set

King Keraun Tries Aerial Fitness

3m

King Keraun Tries Aerial Fitness

TLC on "CrazySexyCool" Biopic & "Meant to Be" Song Written By Ne-Yo

3m

TLC on "CrazySexyCool" Biopic & "Meant to Be" Song Written By Ne-Yo

King Keraun Becomes a Cowboy

3m

King Keraun Becomes a Cowboy

The Young Professionals - 16 400 Lux (as originally performed by Lorde)

2m

The Young Professionals - 16 400 Lux (as originally performed by Lorde)

Interviews: Jingle Ball Flashback:  Z100's Jingle Ball by the Numbers

1m

Interviews: Jingle Ball Flashback: Z100's Jingle Ball by the Numbers

Big Freedia and Her Girls Have a Kiki by the Pool in Vegas

2m

Big Freedia and Her Girls Have a Kiki by the Pool in Vegas

Nick Jonas Reveals Solo Album Influenced by Prince, The Weeknd, Jhené Aiko

2m

Nick Jonas Reveals Solo Album Influenced by Prince, The Weeknd, Jhené Aiko

The Young Professionals - 15 S.O.S. (as originally performed by Abba)

3m

The Young Professionals - 15 S.O.S. (as originally performed by Abba)