Behind their macho bluster and armour-plated riffs, America's loudest metalheads Avenged Sevenfold have a secret romantic side.
Avenged Sevenfold: Hail To The King
Hail to the King (Warner)
Selling more than eight million albums to date, Southern California’s Avenged Sevenfold are not yet in the Metallica league but they have a strong claim on being the biggest American hard-rock band of the 21st century. While they make a powerful racket, it is fair to say the singer M Shadow and his cohorts have yet to settle on a unique sound as they cherry-pick from the last 20 years of nu-metal, thrash, Gothic rock and other genres. On their sixth album, the band have chosen to turn this lack of focus into a strength, embracing an eclectic range of styles with confident swagger. The pumped-up aggression anthem This Means War is one of many that leans heavily into Metallica territory, while the title track sounds purpose-built for sky-punching arena crowds. Meanwhile, Shepherd of Fire and Acid Rain combine tolling bells, ominous doom chords and operatic melodrama. But there are softer pop-metal numbers here such as Crimson Fire, the closest Shadow has come to writing a power ballad. Behind their macho bluster and armour-plated riffs, it seems America’s loudest metalheads have a secret romantic side.