Review: Avenged Sevenfold

In the shape-shifting world of music, relevance is of the essence. Bands that manage to evolve despite these trite conventions and retain their status definitely come with a tour van full of determination.

Or in Avenged Sevenfold’s case — the blazing power of heavy metal.

Photo by Aloysius Lim

Love them or hate them, you’ve definitely heard of the 5-man band hailing from Huntington Beach, California. Best known for their variegated rock sounds, blistering guitar solos and dramatic lyricism, Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) show no signs of slowing down after performing in Singapore last week as part of their 2015 tour.

For an enthralling 90 minutes, an extremely packed Coliseum shook with the relentless screams of fervid fans that remained transfixed by the band despite concertgoers being pulled out of the crowd constantly from fatigue, or as vocalist M Shadows quipped, “you guys are dropping like flies out here!”

Photo by Aloysius Lim

Taking the stage after incessant chants of “Sevenfold” from the crowd, the band kicked off the night with “Shepard of Fire”, a single from their #1 Billboard charting sixth album, Hail To The King. While the album received mixed reviews from long-time fans, the thundering opener was met with the crowd screaming every lyric without missing a beat.

Shadows was clearly pleased as he praised the Singaporean crowd for being the loudest so far, joking that those staying at the neighboring Hard Rock Hotel weren’t going to get sleep that night. What the band probably didn’t notice was that they’d drawn guests out to the balcony to enjoy a free show too.

A7X shredded through the setlist, barely giving us time to breathe between the tumultuous drumming, Johnny Christ’s reverberating bass and ferocious guitar riffs segueing with Shadows’ signature guttural singing.

Photo by Alvin Ho

Guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates’ dynamism aided the throngs of rabid fan girls, particularly during the guitar solos where the dashing duo would converge into their signature “V” formation.

New drummer 26-year-old Arin Ilejay did justice to all of late drummer, The Rev’s drum solos, and the young musician could barely be seen for half the set, save for a flurry of hair and whirring drumsticks.

The band engaged audiences at every opportunity, welcoming first-time viewers of the band with “Welcome to the Family”, and even dedicating “Beast and the Harlot” to a fan clad in a white horse mask. Shadows quipped that he “loved nothing more than to play for any crazy f***** in a horse mask”.

Fans were treated to rare live performances of Waking the Fallen song “Chapter Four”, a metal retelling of Cain and Abel, as well as Hunter S. Thompson inspired rock banger, “Bat Country”, rarely played during this tour so far.

Photo by Alvin Ho

It can be said that A7X liberally piled on every heavy metal cliché there is in the book. Biblical imagery and devil-worshipping references, check. Heavily tattooed and clad in all-black, check. Overflowing machismo, pomp and a reservoir of cussing; the boxes keep checking. But the band didn’t come across as intimidating at all, more like an affable group of jocks who love their music too much to take themselves seriously. Couple that with an enthusiastic experimentation with the various avenues of the rock and metal genres, it remains apparent why the band has preserved such a strong following.

Photo by Alvin Ho

As Shadows’ once defended, “We play music for the sake of music, not so that we can be labelled as a metal band. That’s like saying we aren’t punk enough. Who cares?”

Judging from the fervent cries of fans, clearly nobody cared because all they wanted were good music to scream along to.


Shepard of Fire
Critical Acclaim
Welcome to the Family
Hail to the King
Beast and the Harlot
Buried Alive
Seize the Day
Chapter Four
Almost Easy
Synyster’s solo
This Means War
Acid Rain

Unholy Confessions
Bat Country

Encore 2:
A Little Piece of Heaven

Photos by Aloysius Lim and Alvin Ho