McIlwaine, Callum. 28/02/17
‘The Stage’ is Avenged Sevenfold’s newest release. The bands comeback from the much debated “Hail to the King” album. “The Stage” follows an outer worldly experience with many sci-fi elements and a lot of strange instrumentation alongside some serious experimenting. The title track and single released before the album was launched itself titled “The Stage” is an 8 minute masterpiece in my honest opinion.
I was very surprised when I heard this song for the very first time but it was a pleasant surprise. The song itself is an epic in the eyes of a metal fan like myself with a very interesting intro followed by Sinister Gates shredding as usual. It has the makings of a very standard Avenged Sevenfold track but somehow manages to differentiate itself from the stigma. After a blistering solo, the track slows down, to a beautiful and melodic clean guitar riff followed by a very bass-y solo again from Gates allowing the song to pick up speed again which it continues until the end. With the joint guitar performances and the vocal prowess of M. Shadows this, I think, is a very good start to the album.
On the album there a few other songs that I have grown to love including: “Sunny Disposition” and “Roman Sky”. The song “Sunny disposition comes third on the album itself and has grown on me for being one of the heavier songs with more metal elements than the other songs. It does include what i think to be one of the most interesting aspects of any song on the album with the inclusion of a brass section. I think this works very well and in cases makes me think of the beginning to Mudvaynes ‘Dig’ intro. Not saying I’m a huge Mudvayne fan but I did enjoy the meme enough to give the song a listen. With this in mind, it is a 6 and a half minute Avenged Sevenfold anthem with a quirky brass section included and a rapid ending which i can only imagine is insane live.
“Roman Sky” is a tune. No two ways around it, just a very well put together ballad. With the clean guitar riff at the start with M. Shadows vocals driving the song. It tells a tale of astronomer Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake in 1600, astronomy and sci-fi is a strong theme throughout the album itself if the cover didn’t give it away too much. This 5 minute epic incorporates a string section and an orchestra/metal mix is always welcome in my books.
Overall, I believe the ambition of the album is refreshing but it is also lack-luster, with some tracks being considerably weaker like “Paradigm” in my opinion. The final blow is the fifteen minute epic called “Exist” featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson which is pure prog metal beauty, however it is a track you need to hype yourself up for to listen too. Good thing the album is the perfect hype generator.
Overall, i really liked the album itself, a much more experimental Avenged Sevenfold is an Avenged Sevenfold I’m happy to embrace and one I’m excited to see in the near future and how they expand their music.