Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage album review

A modern classic of epic metal gets a polish

Cover art for Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage album

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Two years ago, Avenged Sevenfold took everyone by surprise with The Stage, which showed the band elevating their ambitions and taking on board influences from Queen and Queensrÿche. In the process they came up with a brilliantly explosive and intelligent musical presentation.

Now, that album has been expanded, with the addition of seven studio recordings, six of which are covers, plus four live tracks. The live material, which is basically the opening quartet of tracks from The Stage, and Dose, the one previously unreleased studio original, are all worthy additions.

But it’s those covers which get the attention. The band give the Rolling Stones’ 50-year-old As Tears Go By a contemporary thrust, Mr Bungle’s Retrovertigo sounds like it was actually composed with this version in mind, and the Del Shannon’s Runaway is spritely. Malagueña Salerosa, meantime, stays true to its Mexican roots.

However, the shining moments on this reissue come with a breathtaking march through The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were, both of which have distinct Avenged affectations yet are respectful of the classics we know so well.

This deluxe edition on two discs adds to the original album’s impact.

Malcolm Dome

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 (opens in new tab), 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. 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.