Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Stage - Avenged Sevenfold

This is new studio album from Avenged Sevenfold. It happens to be album number 7 and is their first for Capitol after a stint of 4 albums with Warner. This is also their first with new drummer Brooks Wackerman, brother of Chad Wackerman who drummed with Zappa for almost the entirety of the 80's (81-88) but then also did some overdub work from him I believe in 1993. Whatever he was Zappa's last drummer. I'm kinda glad they dropped in in October instead of December, though... the name is kinda... it's really stupid. Once I saw the credits I'm glad they have a nice variety of instruments that's probably a stupid thing to note but I think it works.
  1. The Stage: So the first time I heard this I was not really excited. I saw the title and the single cover and though it was kinda dumb. Once I heard the song I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either. I mean it isn't a bad song... but it felt like they were doing what they've already done before but not as effectively. Like where are the "chances" being taken and what not. I hear the melodic direction, and the aggression but I don't really feel the aggression or the punch. I really do like the ending though, with the nylon string guitar. Thought I feel like that could have been worked into the song better maybe. Like I don't know, it flows but not as well as it could have.... I don't know. The biggest fault though, imo, is the vocals. They don't really work with the delivery for this track. The opening reminded me of Not Ready to Die, played by Jason Freese, and the song portion kinda reminds me of Carry On or Flash of the Blade at first. The song isn't a travesty but I just don't jive with it the way I do with even Heretic. While Requiem is a song I still dig, and needed a dozen or so listens to appreciate.... I'm not getting anything here. The introduction should pump you up and take you there and it should only grow in its awesomeness. This just kinda doesn't go anywhere and the more I listen to this the less I feel a connection to it. Though I like the drums. The solo is pretty solid and I like how it slows down for a sort of feeling that I've heard on, Victim if memory serves. But again it's okay, but does nothing for me. And most insulting is I barely remember anything once it's over. Even right after I hear the album. I also wish the transition into the nylon string guitar was done a bit better maybe. 
  2. Paradigm: This is pretty aggro, but again I'm finding error with the vocals. The feeling I get is there should be a swagger with the vocals in that intro, but I'm not quite feeling it. The drumming sounds great, and that growl sounds tasty but one of my initial impressions was "I feel like this needs more listens". The solo is pretty nice though, even though the first part doesn't do much. The second part has a punch and some power behind it, but it seems too buried in the mix for it to be fully aggro. I definitely think it should be turned up in the mix. 
  3. Sunny Disposition: This introduction reminds me a bit of Waking the Fallen. I'm thinking Radiant Eclipse but heavier. The first time thought it seems a bit dizzying and I'm assuming this is intentional. The horns are a nice touch you wouldn't expect, though I feel strings could also add to the song at accenting the vocal line. There's also this Planets feeling to it a bit. Like it feels like a few different songs mixed together and blended to make this song that I don't know if it's a mess or if it's weird in a good way. I mean I get they wanted horns but not sure if they fit this track. It almost feels like ALPoH. It's kinda a jumble fuck. But worst of all it's too long. 
  4. God Damn: What a bland song title. Whatever happened to Warmness on the Soul, Desecrate Through ReverenceClairvoyant Disease, Lips of Deceit. While you may go, corny or lame, you can't deny those paint a picture in your head and make you think for a second. God Damn makes me go " okay, well I don't know if this'll be good but I don't care for the title". The song part is okay and the music isn't half bad. In fact the music during the chorus I've even warmed up to. I'm just not feeling these chorus lyrics, though as I've said I do like the harmonies and the sort of contrast to the verses music. It's lightens up, apposed to the aggression. And they just pulled on my nostalgic heart strings ah-lah, Desecrate Through Reverence/Heretic. Those fucking drums. I don't mind the solo, and I don't mind that Spanish Sidewinder section. But again this doesn't really do anything. 
  5. Creating God: I can feel the weird feeling of this, and I like the four on the floor but I'm feeling like I've heard something like this somewhere else. This reminds me of a radio friendly type song, that while not really that weird people might go.... hey that's weird. I feel like, this'll be single. I'm calling it, this sounds like it was written for the radio. Especially the chorus, even though I think it's probably one of the weaker songs and isn't really challenging to me. I know I haven't read the lyrics to this song but the words I hear are having me scratch my head. Not in a I don't get it, but more of a I don't like this. The solo works, but I'm not feeling this one overall. The vocals are what kill it for me, the music is just okay, but the vocals kind of put it in this coffin. Though I guess that riff doesn't work to my savor. That's correct use of that right? Who cares.
  6. Angels: This song, I don't know. I do like the eerie atmosphere to this one, it's kind of something I didn't expect and I'm glad they kinda keep in for the entire track. The solo is a nice solo, this could have used strings though. The second solo, played by the good old Papa Gates, is much more interesting I think than Syn's. I will say this track would benefit from that nylon string guitar at the ending more than the title track did. Though I'm not sure they would have worked with the next track as a segue. I want to point out the thing that kind of warms my heart a bit is that chorus, it sounds a bit like a mellotron is being used. I'm pretty sure they aren't using one, but it reminds me of one a bit. Like sampled strings, but a primitive one.
  7. Simulation: So I do like the sound effects and the sort of electric piano sound that happens during the verses and the whole atmosphere that is created here. It sounds more like an organ, but whatever. It works for this type of album cover, well the intro at least. Now I feel like the two sections should flow better. Like the effects sound hold over into that drum roll for a few seconds before he starts talking. I think the whole drill sergeant thing doesn't really work that well, but they're going for chaotic. I'm not sure if this works though...... the idea is a cool idea and it kinda of reminds me of a variation of the Nightmare music video. Like maybe what they were saying but you couldn't hear because of the song. The nurse is actually Val, Matt's wife. I wanna point out the more I hear that part the more I cringe. I do think they achieved chaos in the song but I kind want more. I've recorded more chaotic stuff, though it's not complete yet, in my basement. They say that River James Sanders, who's Val and Matt's son, and Tennessee James Baker, who I assume is Zacky's son are backing vocalists on this track. I didn't hear their voices the first time though. I assume it might be mixed in though to the chaos. I guess the whole AI thing has to do with this track, whatever I'm not really digging into that bullshit. I'm more interested in the music and the profound nature of the lyrics. The most upsetting this is like nothing, I mean yeah the chaos sounds cool, but like I'm not feeling anything. I mean, to be honest, I'd much rather listen to Oxygen or For Adolphe Sax or I don't know something more chaotic. I will say though, after Val talks that solo is fucking tasty. Top notch and it is almost worth playing this song to get to it. Almost, but again, not completely. I mean I guess the evil prayer on Requiem is cheesy, but that song is not only bad ass but it works.
  8. Higher: I don't think this works on spotify, you can't have interruptions in the middle of the songs. Like I feel like that completely ruined my impression of this song, given how it started. Fucking asshole commercials. I do like the song, but I didn't get the full impact until I picked up my CD copy. I did like the ideas going on and what was happening in the song, like the different flavors mixed in there. The piano and the multi tracked vocals work I think. I mean there is a bit where I'm like... eh, but for the most part I liked that introduction. Now the song starts and I'm not feeling that as much, I do like the sort of odd time to the riff. I can't pin the time signature, but it sounds like there is an extra 8th or 16th note. I like it. The chorus is nice, but first time thought it's too short. The vocals though, like they hurt my ears at parts. I like the sort of choir that is behind the prelude to the solo. I could be wrong, but did I correctly count 4 over 3. The choir that sound like its out of an 80's or 90's song. It kinda reminds me of Like A Prayer a bit. I don't really approve of the effect on his vocal, but I think it works. I like that piano that has a little part for just like two seconds. There are a lot of nice details in this song. It isn't prefect, but I like parts. And the piano towards the ending reminds me of Epic. It's a decent track {7/8}.
  9. Roman Sky:  This opens promising, with a guitar that hark-ins to the ballad off the last album. So why are they fucking with his vocals. This feels like a shitty version of Crimson Day, or at least a version that doesn't click. I will say, the guitar is still pretty solid and I wonder what key or mode or scales he's using for this. But the strings are a bit irritating me, like the best part of the song is getting burried. And I guess as it progresses the instruments balance much better and the song unfolds into a solid track. But that first minute and a half or so is like a bit cluttered. The balance is all fucked. And I guess I could nit pick the balance with those strings are very fucking. Okay it's supposed to be gorgeous and heartfelt and pretty, and it feels generic. They are pretty, but it's not pulling on my heartstrings the same way Acid Rain does. It has it's moments, like during the solo, the arrangement works very well. In fact I hear some Malmsteen in the solo. But like I don't know, I don't think I can bold this track, there are to many moments it's off for me. And those two songs I compared this two, I actually went back and revisited them to hear why they work and it's because the lyrics are much better first, the vocals also are more effective. But you feel the emotion and the guitar doesn't come in and out it kind of plays it quite, until the solo. It's kinda like too much at once isn't good. Both of those ballads have phenomenal arrangements, this isn't really. Simple but effective, this is not simple and not effective.
  10. Fermi Paradox: The drums introducing this song has a nice feeling to them and I like energy of this track. The intro also reminds me a bit of a not stripped version of something off Hail to the King. I still think the guitar should have more punch, but it works..... But I'll admit, the second the vocals started I made a fact that was like "did someone just shit down here". The vocals ruin this song, and the energy just dies. Like instantly, though I do like they guest guitar work from Yngwie. That's a joke by the way, but it sounds like something I could hear on one of his record. I like the vamp for the solo, and the solo itself works fine. Also I am aware of the Fermi Paradox, but I forgot what it was called. Like I have heard of it, I just didn't recall what it was called... if that makes any sense. The whole, we can logically assume this exists but if it does then why don't we have enough proof to suggest that it even could exist. Also I can't be the only one to cringe when I hear those "AMSR" vocal part. No, not good.
  11. Exist: This albums sonic attempt at making a Save Me, or rather an epic closer kinda. I will say it's a pretty solid track that needed multiple listens, it's much more effective than Book of Souls.  longer cuts, and the composition is pretty nice. There are lots of sequences and classical touches and I think it's a well arranged track. There are parts in that intro where I feel it's up to the power of Save Me.The dual lead in the one descending riff is awesome. I also like the other descending riff, even though it also ascends. The horns reminds me a bit of Planets. Actually this could be a mix between Save Me and Planets. There is this sort of solo before the vocals section come in and it give me goosebumps. Loving that tone, and then I really love the electric "acoustic" guitar that leads introduces the vocals. I think the vocals are fine here, and this part in and of it's self is a great song. Kind reminds me a bit of Gunslinger. It's also a nice contrast and way more relaxed, and is a nice contrast of what happens later. Everybody sounds good here, though I am not crazy about the effect on Matt's voice. It doesn't ruin the vocals though, just a slight nit pick more than a real problem. I also love when the strings come in and I'm glad they had them come in... thought I'm not crazy about the drums at that part before the chorus. It kinda felt odd, or maybe off a bit. Like kinda oh lets put something rather than work I guess. I don't know. I really like the bass line in the track and everything works together to progress the song and the details are really nice. The transitions and developments into the solo are nice too, thought I don't think the solo is mixed loud enough, but that's just me. I do like the keyboard sequence here, the guitar also has a nice accent feeling. And I really like what's happening here. When I saw Neil deGrasse Tyson I kinda rolled my eyes. I was like wow, they would.... or anyone would really. I understand what he's saying works, but I don't think it sonically sounds that good. Like the way it is like it was over the phone in the background. Not really feeling that, but I think the words work I guess. The only thing is eventually there should be a part where Syn just fucking shreds. They probably kept it out to have the focus on the the words, but I don't know I kinda what that solo to add so there's something more to hear beyond listen 3 or 4. Also I mean I get what he's saying but I kind of disagree. Basically people are very shitty and self absorbed partially because we only see us. We need to realize how truly insignificant we actually are, and maybe then we'd "grow up". He uses bigger words to convey what he's saying, but I don't think people'd be less shitty if we did that. Maybe I'm misunderstanding that, maybe he's just saying he doesn't get caught up in the retardation that is us. But people have been around for how long? We still have many of the same problems like war, corruption/manipulation, intolerance, pride, ignorance, willingness to be ignorant among many others. So I doubt that'll ever change. If it somehow did, it would eventually crumble and we'd be fucked in the ass again, its only human. Well never be a Star Trek society unless you force us to be against our will. But this is a great tune and probably the best one here. The 15 minutes is justified. {8/10}
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. My initial listen I was unsure if I liked, it was okay and I was satisfied. The one thing though is it didn't feel like Avenged. That's not a bad thing, but that's also not a really good thing. After a few listens, like enough to where I was like... "Okay, this is what I think" I realized something. I don't think I'm gonna be listening to this album by the time the next one comes out. Hell two months from this review I probably won't. There is something about it that just doesn't click for me. The other bands I've out grown almost completely, I like this more than them. But like, Brooks is a solid drummer, but I'm not sure he should have wrote with them. Though they kind of have to change their sound because they don't have The Rev anymore, and Arin's gone, so I don't know. I will applaud them for kind of throwing me off the trail of predicting what will happen next. So many bands make albums and I can listen to 10 seconds or 30 seconds and know what's gonna happen or have the basic idea. In fact, most of those bands you can listen to three songs and you've gotten more out of that than listening to the 11-15 tracks. I respect they aren't going back, or stripping down, they're pushing ahead. There's a lot of good ideas on this record, but like so close. I wonder if they were trying to do a more complex version of the last record. But they also made a less effective one, the tracks on that that are good still are good. I don't know, I think I'd rather revisit "We got it from Here.... Thank You 4 Your service." or for sure Blackstar and maybe untitled unmastered. I guess it's just depressing I bought two CDs this year, and one of them I only have to complete my collection. Ill probably do the next album by these guys but my stance on my fan hood has been shook. Maybe l'l do my favorite album of their next.

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