All hail Avenged Sevenfold.

The Southern California band solidified its spot at the top of the genre after slaying metal’s most highly anticipated show of the summer last night. The Deathbat army swarmed the Hollywood Palladium, chanting “Seven-fold” from the walk down Sunset up to the moment Synyster Gates emerged on stage. Right behind the stone-faced guitarist was the rest of the Avenged crew, all sporting new looks, including M. Shadows, who’s new long locks have stirred mixed reactions from Sevenfold fans.

Love it or hate it, Shadow’s new look was irrelevant last night. No matter what the frontman looks like, his commanding presence on stage is undeniably on point — verging on perfect. From the moment Avenged’s set kicked off with the appropriately chosen “Shepherd of Fire,” which also opens Hail to the King, every guitar riff, every drum beat, and every vocal was, well…perfect.

There is little to critique with the sonic execution of last night’s 90-minute set, but there were some rumblings amongst the crowd about missing the big A7X theatrics. Now there is nothing like Avenged Sevenfold in full production mode, but the stripped-down, no-frills approach gave fans a rare opportunity to see the band in its most raw form.  Yes, “Bat Country” and “Beast and the Harlot” are more interesting with flames spewing from all corners of the stage, but there was something equally as impactful about the house lights simply lighting up the floor as everyone shouted “It’s your fucking nightmare.”



Avenged has one of the best catalogs in metal to pull from, and although plenty of “good old-fashioned Southern California circle pits” were stirred by Shadows throughout the set, the highlight of the night has to be “Hail to the King.” My excitement over hearing the single performed live for the first time was intensified by the fact that this is the best track Avenged has in their arsenal right now. It has everything you crave in an A7X song: monster guitars, a well-crafted hook, and the bridging of classic metal influences with the modern Avenged Sevenfold treatment.

Hail to the King marks a new chapter for not only A7X, but for the genre, and if last night’s showing was any indication of what the band has in store for this upcoming tour…get your tickets now.

Avenged Sevenfold will headline the main stage at Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, California on September 15th. Additional tour dates can be found on the Avenged Sevenfold website.

Hail to the King officially dropped today, August 27th.