7 Things We Want From The New Avenged Sevenfold Album

A photo of Avenged Sevenfold on stage

It’s been suspiciously quiet in the Avenged Sevenfold camp over the last few months – especially when it comes to info about their new album. Even when they have poked their heads above the parapet – such as a high profile support slot with Metallica in August – there was no mention of the follow up to 2013’s Hail To The King, let alone any new songs. In fact the only clue we’ve had about what’s happening was when frontman M Shadows teased a new track back in April.

But things are starting to stir. The band’s Deathbat logo appeared on the side of buildings in London, Toronto and Paris. What could it mean? Is the new album finally done and on its way? And if that’s the case, what can we expect from it? We’ve drawn up a wishlist…

A Beyoncé-style surprise release

Beyoncé, Radiohead and U2 have all released albums without any advance fanfare to resounding success, but no metal band has tried it. Could Avenged be the first? Imagine if the new album suddenly appeared on Spotify or iTunes, without any tiresome build up or endless interviews about how the album sounds? The excitement would be ramped up to fever pitch. They’ve got this far without us knowing a damn thing about it. Why not see it through to its logical conclusion.

Let Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance off the leash

Sure, Hail To The King was a massive success, hitting No.1 in the US and UK and scoring the band a Download headlining slot. But it was a much more straightforward affair than their earlier albums, not least in the guitar stakes. They are two of the very best in the business at this point, but we only got hints at their talents last time. We’d hope for a little less 44 stomp and a bit more of the classic rhythmic push and pull and dual interplay between those two please.

A bit of of personality from Brooks Wackerman

There’s no way to sugar coat this: the death of Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan back in 2009 is something that Avenged Sevenfold have really yet to recover from on a musical as well as a personal level. Mike Portnoy did a great job recreating his unique style on 2010’s Nightmare, but on Hail To The King the now-departed Iran Ilejay’s more traditional style left the band without one of their signature sounds. Now former Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman has to step into those massive shoes. To adequately fill them he’ll need to express himself through his drums like he never has before, quite a task.

Bring back the sleaze

It is perhaps completely understandable, give its circumstances, that Nightmare was a much darker and sombre album than we were used to from Avenged Sevenfold. And Hail To The King traded far more on bombast and classic metal power than they ever had. But back when the band dropped the classic City Of Evil album in 2005 it was the meld of Metallica’s power mixed with Guns ‘N’ Roses decadent, glammed up excess that made them such an exciting proposition. And that second element has certainly diluted over the years. Plus the band were loud mouthed, cocky and brash. Lord knows we need rock stars in 2016. Let’s have a bit of that cocksure attitude back please fellas.

A7X back in their "cocky" days

A7X back in their "cocky" days (Image credit: Getty Images)

A touch of Danny Elfman

Although Avenged are pretty open about their influences – Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden – there is one influence that isn’t always mentioned. Namely Danny Elfman, the Hollywood composer most famous through his work on Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas to name just a few. Listen to any classic Avenged and the quirky gothic noir that Elfman brings to his compositions is always lurking in the background. It was a much more straight forward affair on Hail To The King, with only Requiem embracing the cinematic scope of old. A7X would do well to channel their love of gothic pop-culture to make them stand out once again.

A great album cover

So Hail To The King was Avenged Sevenfold’s Black Album. We get it. But one thing that really let it down was the dull-as-James Hetfield’s-dishwater cover. Avenged are a band with a striking image, a rigid sense of their own identity, and, these days, the budget to base huge stadium shows around whatever the artwork will be. It’s massively important they get the whole package right this time. Let’s see something special.

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Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.