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Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage CD (album) cover


Avenged Sevenfold


Progressive Metal

4.33 | 35 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This really is the band at its best. I'm shocked it took until the release of their (at the time of writing) latest album Life is But a Dream for this band to be added to the archives. I can't think of any other way to describe this album than progressive metal; The Stage is a 74 minute concept record about space fitted with the band's usual impressive chops dialed to 11 let's call a duck a duck yeah? Beyond those qualities some may dismiss as aesthetic dressing this album contains a variety of songs uniquely structured to fit their topic, be it the intro and title track's 9 minutes used to create a dynamic tapestry of the album as a whole, a fantastic hook promising what's to come, or the final track Exist where the band takes inspiration from the big bang for the song's structure. Just listening to the intro on exist with the layered instruments well outside the usual rock ensemble, the spacey almost ambient synths and the strings that play for almost 2 minutes before the expansion of the universe kicks off with speedy guitars and an unmistakable metal riff is enough to convince me we're doubtlessly in prog metal territory. With that said is it any good though?

Absolutely! I'd love to write at length about how fantastic a metal record this is, to compliment the way the band has evolved with their metalcore roots and stadium rock influences to create guitar solos that could only be the tandem work of syn and zacky, or how the riffs on this record feel uniquely despair inducing and claustrophobic, but we're here to review this as a progressive rock record. Although, it absolutely holds up as a metal record 'that's the thing about progressive rock, *it's gotta rock.*' As a prog album I think the finest qualities of this record are the dynamism and quality of the performances. Every member of the band is bringing their A game, as to be expected, but I'd like to give special attention to Brooks Wackerman's drumming; consistently the album is made better by his additions, he will play technical and complex parts, but it always serves the song and shapes the identity of the whole album. The drums and melodic content of the guitars should be appreciated by any fan of progressive music, and while I do like the riffs and bass playing I don't think they're either (for the riffs) as consistently fantastic, or (for the bass) as standout as I'd like to give them special attention. As a fan of the band listening to this album feels like the shackles of commercial expectations are being loosened and it's absolutely cathartic.

With all the gushing over this album why only 4 stars? Really I feel that you can still hear the songs here meant for rock radio. And while 'God Damn' may have my favorite chorus, one of my favorite solos and bridges on the album it's still apparent there was thought given to appearances that holds this album back, although that's negligible. Really what holds it back from being 5 stars in my humble opinion is that the tracks all blend together into a midtempo slurry that drags in the middle especially. That isn't enough to keep me from adoring this album, I've surely listened to it far more than many I've rated 5 stars, but don't think this album has the universal quality I'd want to give an album that rating.

FunKiller555 | 4/5 |


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