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Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage album review

From out of nowhere, a metal masterpiece

Avenged Sevenfold The Stage album cover

With no build-up, Avenged Sevenfold just dropped their seventh album, taking everyone by surprise.

But while there was no warning, what they’ve come up with is brilliant. Easily their best album to date, it has the power-metal aggression we’ve come to expect, but so much more sophistication. The band have simply torn down the barriers and allowed their imaginations to run riot. It’s a conceptual album, about artificial intelligence and the future of humankind, but that doesn’t do justice to the sheer avalanche of creativity.

The title track and Exist bookend the album. Both are epics worthy of Rush or Dream Theater. They have progressive inclinations, yet never eschew a desire to be thunderous. The rest of the songs, though, are equally as essential, having a majestic sense of melody and intricacy. Avenged Sevenfold have lost any previous limitations and inhibitions, and they’ve crafted a landmark metal album.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio, which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.