Avenged Sevenfold – Live @ LG Arena
aaamusic | On 12, Dec 2013
Avenged Sevenfold have been gaining in stature for quite sometime now, with their latest album Hail to the King going to number one in the UK commercial chart; this was quite something for a Metal band to go to the top of the charts above acts like One Direction, Katy Perry and Lady GaGa – it sold an amazing 163,00 units in only one week.
I have always really liked ‘Sevenfold but there has always been something that has not been quite right with them for me. This band should be one of my favourites and top of my list when I decide what bands I go to see. I think this is because they are a band that struggles with their identity, sounding like Guns ‘N’ Roses on some tracks and Metallica and Iron Maiden on others, and not always sounding like themselves, which is brilliant stuff when they do.
Yes this band change from album to album and track to track and don’t seem happy with their own identity, which is actually a really good one. The slick biker vampire look, as I call it, which has evolved with time with M Shadows leading the game when it comes to their imagery. They have been seen in Kerrang magazine on bikes and have spurred young men to wear waistcoats with ripped sleeves and to have arms covered in tattoos.
Avenged Sevenfold are now a major Metal band and emulate what a major band should be like, and because of this have secured their biggest UK ever headline show and that is headlining the Download Festival next year along with heavy weights Linkin Park and Aerosmith.
Tonight Avenged hit the LG Arena in Birmingham on their biggest UK headline tour to date and there is quite some anticipation for the band’s set. The tour is totally sold out, showing the growth in popularity for this Orange County band who once played tiny pub venues over here. They really have gone a long way since they were riding their bikes around their neighbourhood Huntington Beach, California, kicking over trash cans. This was a memory that M Shadows told the people of Birmingham onstage at the LG Arena.
The first thing you notice as the curtain goes down is the massive 3D bat logo that is behind the drummer, which looks really impressive and is really cleverly done. They open up their set with the starting track off their new offering Hail to the King, the infectiously catchy light number ‘Shepherd of Fire’, which lifts them into action and you can hear screams from the crowd of majority very young people. This song plods along nicely and has 80s sounding guitar that are melodic and cross with Classic Rock as the harmonies are nicely done and harmonic, but the song sounds a lot slower than the album version and it needed to be a lot more furious.
They continue on from this with the brilliant hard hitting ‘Critical Acclaim’ off the bands fourth self titled album, with intro guitars and thrash build up lead to a killer scream that M Shadows usually does onstage with grace and force. This is not the case tonight though the scream is just not very long – maybe the five weeks of constant touring has played havok on his vocals but this is really sad because for me this is always one of the highlights of the band’s set.
This is still one of the best songs in the set and really kicks in with flames after the scream and really looks impressive tonight. This song also really shows of the distinctive sound of Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates whose guitar sound of this song is breathtaking and like no other guitarist. This is really want the band should be working on, on future records because it is what they do best.
Avenged Sevenfold have always had a good connection with their fans and you get a glimpse of this tonight with their song ‘All in the Family’ off their Nightmare album, this song grabs you in and makes you feel that you are a member of the A7x family and allows you to enjoy the set even more than you did before.
This leads on to the Iron Maiden-esque title track of the latest album Hail to the King, which involves everyone shouting out ‘hail’ at the top of their lungs. This song could even be mistaken for a Maiden track because it’s so similar, but who really cares because it is really catchy and memorable.
‘Doing Time’ is brilliant and has hints of Velvet Revolver and Guns ‘N’ Roses to it – it’s really catchy and Punk and has hints of the new Skid Row material. This is one of the best songs off the band’s new album and one of the best moments of the evening’s concert. Also the incendiary guitars at the end of the song are simply amazing. ‘Buried Alive’ sounds very similar to older songs and has nice melodies to it and starts off a crowd sing-a-long to it, it’s amazing that everyone in the crowd know every word of it when the album hasn’t been out for that long.
‘Fiction‘ is also a great moment and has such feeling to it, especially when the band dedicate it tonight to past drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan who sadly passed away in 2009 because of natural causes. They recruited Arin Llejay in 2011 to take the position of live drums for the band because he knew Jimmy well and would do the songs justice and fit into the band, the best any other drummer could fit in, because nobody could fill The Rev’s shoes.
Next up is ‘Nightmare’ the lead single off the album of the same name, the band’s first without The Rev on drums, this particular song was really popular when released and sounds really strong in the Birmingham LG Arena with the beats hitting really hard.
The low point of the show is new song ‘This Means War’, which just sounds too much like Metallica’s ‘Sad But True’ for my liking – yes it has little twists and some great guitar work on it but when you find yourself singing the lyrics to another song that is not right. This though does lead on to ‘Afterlife’, which is just so enjoyable and has a weird guitar solo and jam. They end the main set with ‘Bat Country’, which even now sounds as good as it ever has and sounds so big that it fills the arena really well.
They come back on for a two song encore of tracks from Waking The Fallen, with ending track ‘Unholy Confessions’ just taking off, this being the track that lifted them from obscurity into the minds of everyone in attendance. They have sparks and shocks and then the show is over.
When I saw Avenged Sevenfold last in Belgium they were playing in support of their Nightmare album and it was something truly special. Tonight was an outstanding show but didn’t have so much to offer as the show they played then so I leave feeling a little disappointed, I think that maybe I now have a too high standard for A7x because this was a great show enjoyed by everyone. The flames all night were really burning and at the front you could feel them on their faces, but this is not a Rammstein show and sometimes they are used to often, but they are still very cool and look good next to the giant bat winged skull logo they have brought with them.
I can’t wait to see what they will do next, they are a great live act and think will have a lot more to offer in the future and when they find their true identity there will be no stopping them. Their new album Hail to the King is available from all the usual outlets so check it out for yourself…
Words and Photos: Dan Devour