It all started with Guitar World.
Synester Gates and Zacky Vengeance started to appear in the magazine and songs from the band started to appear in the transcription section. One of those songs was “The Beast And The Harlot” and I read the transcription. And I read it again and again and again. There was just so much stuff happening in the song.
So I sat down to play it, without even hearing the song. And I liked what I heard from playing it.
Then I went and downloaded their catalogue which at that point in time, consisted of “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet”, released in 2002, “Waking The Fallen”, released in 2003 and “City Of Evil”, released in 2005, which had the song in question as it’s opening track.
From here on, I purchased the self-titled album on release day, “Nightmare” also on release day and “Hail To The King” also on release day, while also going back and buying the albums I had downloaded. “The Stage” I still haven’t purchased in physical, however I will, purely to have it in my collection.
The “Waking The Fallen” album is all about “Second Heartbeat” to me and those last two minutes that kick in from 4.46 (you need to get through the screaming to taste the elixir). And that lead break from Synester Gates, that goes for the last 49 seconds of the song is the stuff of Guitar Heroes.
“I Won’t See You Tonight” part 1 is up there as a cool second. And “Clairvoyant Disease” reminds me of Savatage post Jon Oliva era while “Unholy Confessions” has this Judas Priest like riff in the intro which hooks me in. I am pretty sure “Black Veil Brides” used that same riff for the song “Knives And Pens”.
“Critical Acclaim” starts off the self-titled album released in 2007.
All the way from the east to the west we got this high society, Looking down on their very foundation, Constantly reminding us that our actions, Are the cause of all their problems
Pointing their fingers in every Direction and blaming their Own nation for who wins the elections They’ve never contributed a fucking thing to the Country they love to criticize
And what has changed since this song was written. The elite became more elite, they pay and bribe their way through life and for their dumb kids to enter college, they’ve been exposed as using tax havens to launder money and pay no tax and yet everyone else is a problem, except them.
“Almost Easy” is one of their best songs, and drummer “The Rev” does this double kick cymbal thing in it which is insane.
“Afterlife” has this lead break from Synester were he puts pedal to the metal at about the 4.15 mark. To be honest, he puts a lot of the 80’s guys to shame with his technique and feel, incorporating sweep picking, fast legato lines, supersonic picked alternate notes and tapping.
“Lost” is another song which has a lead break to put all other lead breaks to shame in the outro. Super melodic, with whammy dives chucked in for effect.
“A Little Piece Of Heaven” is one of those defining songs of a band, which combines so many different things into a 7 minute song. You either like it or hate it or just put up with it.
The music box melodies of “Nightmare” kicks off the album that carries its name and after the death of “The Rev”, Mike Portnoy is on drums. It was a perfect fit music wise, maybe not personality wise. And in their pain of losing an important member, Avenged Sevenfold, created an excellent album.
“Welcome To The Family” has this Pantera “Cowboys From Hell” groove merged with Metallica’s “Sad But True” in the verses which I dig as the song transitions between these grooves to punk like choruses and melodic metal harmonies.
“Buried Alive” has an intro that rivals “Welcome Home” and “Fade To Black”. And from about the 4 minute mark its desk breaking time, as the song picks up with harmony leads, some supersonic shredding and sweeping and from about the 5 minute mark it’s Metallica time, ala “Orion”.
“Natural Born Killers” is a blast fest in the verses. “So Far Away” tells their sadness and “God Hates Us” tells their rage. “Victim” tells their sorrow and sadness with gospel voices throughout the song. “Save Me” tells their darkness.
The burning flames kick off their best album and their most divisive due to all the songs sounding like a song that came before from a certain artist. Hell, this is how music works people. Take something that came before, build on it, put it in your creativity blender and the outcome is art. I’ve already covered this album in detail in a separate blog post.
“Shepherd of Fire” has “Black Sabbath”, “Trust” from Megadeth and “Enter Sandman” from Metallica. Lars Ulrich said the drum beat from “Enter Sandman” is based on AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and the main “Sandman” riff is based on a song from a band called Excel. Take what came before and make it yours.
“Hail To The King” is AC/DC in the riffs, “Wasted Years” in a gypsy jazz fashion in the intro and “Sign Of The Cross” from Maiden in the Chorus.
“Doing Time” is Guns N Roses. “This Means War” is “Sad But True” from Metallica. “Requiem” is In Flames Euro Metal. “Heretic” is Megadeth’s “Symphony Of Destruction”. “Coming Home” is Iron Maiden.
Basically, music is a sum of our influences. A person that hasn’t heard a piece of music before can say that what they heard right now is original as they have not heard anything else before that. Live long enough and you would know that everything has been written and how we interpret those influences through our own individualism, culture and viewpoint is what makes it sound “original” and there is nothing wrong with that.
But we still have lawyers and heirs of artists or artists who didn’t have a hit, suing artists who had a hit because the songs sound similar. And these kinds of people but the viewpoint out there that the songs they wrote are so original, so unique, so free from influences that only they could have come up with that note pattern, feel and rhythms in the whole history of music.
And I haven’t purchased “The Stage” as yet as I’m streaming it. To me the album concept and themes hook me in and “The Stage”, “Higher” and “Roman Sky” are worthy additions. “Exist” is not far behind.