After Avenged Sevenfold released their somewhat hollow sixth album, 2013’s Hail to the King where the band paid homage to their inspirations to the point of imitation, no one knew what the future could possibly hold for the band. Then BAM! The guys surprise-release their seventh album The Stage out of nowhere and everyone loses their collective shit. And fortunately for all, The Stage is massive step forward for the band and the true follow up to their fifth album, 2010’s Nightmare.
The Stage is an artificial intelligence themed concept album that is mature and progressive, hard rocking and heavy with the right amount of groove in parts. The band’s new drummer Brooks Wackerman is a perfect fit and M Shadows’ vocals just keep getting better. One listen to the album and you can feel that guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates and bassist Johnny Christ have had a blast creating this. The title track ‘The Stage’ is a superb eight minute intro to the 75 minute album that is a masterful musical journey. When it comes to longer closers, the final track ‘Exist’ doesn’t complete the album as well as, say ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ or ‘Save Me’ from previous albums.
Reviewed by Paul S Taylor