Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage

Avenged Sevenfold The Stage cover
Avenged Sevenfold
The Stage
Capitol Records
Avenged Sevenfold have changed over the years and even though that ain’t a bad thing, they did get more recognition (and money) than they ever deserved. They are not as good as some may want us to believe (“big (e)mags” PR labels etc.) and not that bad as many other acts of the 00s that made a career out of nothing. Then again, that’s life and especially when it comes to music itself, it seems that nowadays PR is more important than the music itself.
Three years after “Hail to the King”, which wasn’t so fan favored, they return with “The Stage” that contains 11 tracks and lasts around 73 minutes! This is a concept album about artificial intelligence and self-destruction of society. It also features new drummer Brooks Wackerman (Bad4Good, Infectious Grooves, Suicidal Tendencies tec.). Let me add, at this point, that A7X were never (and they’ll never be) a modern prog metal band. This is the time when the irrelevant (with music) editors of big (e)mags and the PR guys from labels see a track that last more than 6 minutes and they call it progressive for no reason. I won’t go and refer to the progressive principles (needless to do so) but those who are into prog rock/metal music know that apart from the technical skills (that A7X do not have), you must also have strong & imaginative songwriting abilities as well as very good knowledge of song arrangements.
It’s OK when you’re trying to “seduce” a wider audience with “poppy” choruses, just like the guys do on “Higher”, but that shows that they are torn on what they wanna be. Then they have the last track which lasts around 16 minutes. The guitar wannabe leads sound at least pathetic and they’re a far cry from the Pink Floyd atmosphere they probably had in mind to create. I felt like listening to a teenager trying to get the “feeling” out of Gilmour’s guitar-playing and being happy when he realizes he can “actually” pull it off! This ain’t an “epic”, “prog” etc. track but 3-4 parts of plain music mixed together to produce the one “big track” that’s rather tedious.
Production-wise the album is OK, even though the drums sound “dry” and the bass is somewhat “buried” at places. Do note that the production was done by Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Chevelle, Black Stone Cherry tec.) and the band itself.
When all said and done, “The Stage” won’t change your mind, if you don’t happen to like A7X. On the other hand, the band’s fans will be excited (as well as the “paid” media that have already written triumphant reviews for the album) as they mostly do, when their beloved band releases a new album, but that ain’t something new. Overall, “The Stage” is a dull & tiresome album, whose long tracks make the final outcome even more unbearable…