Album Review: Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail to the King” brings new sounds, new sorrows

Maggie Mcginity

Avenged Sevenfold’s name is a reference to Cain and Abel, found in Genesis 4:24, and like many of their previous albums, the lyrics of “Hail to the King” are dark and fantastical using many terms found in modern church vernacular. They read like the religious text of a cult.

Musically, this album is solid. Almost every song has at least one guitar solo worthy of ending up in a “Guitar Hero” video game, if any more are ever made. Unique to this album is the integration of their new drummer, Arin Ilejay. Much of his drumming is less intense and elaborate than the drumming of their original drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan, who died in 2009.

The drumming on this album is one of many ways “Hail to the King” is a departure from and part of an evolution from Avenged Sevenfold’s old sound. This album features much more accessible metal/hard rock. The songs would be perfect for anything from an intense study session to the soundtrack of an action/sci-fi flick to a mosh pit.

What keeps this good album from being a great one is its repetitive nature. One song blends into another to the point where it’s hard to tell most of them apart, excusing the two slower love ballads “Crimson Day” and “Acid Rain.” There are a few surprises on this album, including tolling bells, low brass and a Latin choir, but they aren’t enough to break the monotony in the middle of this album.