It's been a seven year wait for a follow-up to the surprise release of 2016's The Stage - itself an ambitious masterpiece that saw them work with Cirque Du Soleil for a visually incredible tour - but new album Life Is But A Dream... pushes the boat out even for them.
We've already shared out feelings on the album (via both Classic Rock and Metal Hammer), but we needed to know: how does the metal world at large feel about this album? We put a callout on social media and as ever you delivered in droves, telling us exactly how you feel about Avenged Sevenfold's eighth studio album. Here's what you had to say...
What we thought
"This is an album that’s defined by just that kind of refusal to conform to predetermined norms. There’s nothing so predictable as verse-chorus-verse here. Second track Mattel, named for the company behind the Barbie Doll and an arched-eyebrow look at the shallowness of modern life, mixes massive riffs, wailing synths, flailing guitars and a section that sounds like a child’s lullaby. Nobody starts with a noise like a klaxon being wrenched out of a guitar, which continues throughout the song, except for when it stops for a blast of vintage Queen harmonising." Dave Everley, Metal Hammer
"With Life Is But A Dream… Avenged Sevenfold haven’t just transcended their metal peers for good, they’ve also created their definitive artistic statement. And it’s bloody fantastic." Merlin Alderslade, Classic Rock
What you thought - the good:
"Been a fan since 2005 and honestly I love all their albums, this one is my new favourite." Rachel Sheppard, Facebook
A perfect album. A culmination of past efforts. Cosmic, for instance reached the aspirational lip of what Acid Rain and Planets were scratching at. (O), pulled from The Stage. The parts contribute to the whole. And the parts are great, but together — a perfect album.June 21, 2023
"As 'weird' as it was, it didn’t seem like a huge departure from the stage with the exception of a few songs. It could have been longer. But maybe that’s because of the long wait. Definitely one of my favorites though" Aarol Driscoll, Facebook
It’s great! I think the band took a tremendous chance and ended up with a great work of art, it great to see this from a hard rock/ metal band! I think this is a step in the right direction for Metal and Hard Rock! I’m sure they’ll be many imitators to follow🤘🏻June 21, 2023
"Has a Welcome To The Black Parade vibe and it impressed me to see how they have evolved as a band. Great album." Chris Fabien, Facebook
Sounds like Hans Zimmer joined Avenged.June 20, 2023
"Took me a few listens.. but I do really enjoy it. There are a couple recording decisions I could do without though. There’s a moment in Nobody with a drum fill and in Cosmic with a bass drop that absolutely try to wreck my car speakers. Other than that, it’s a weird and awesome album!" Eric Picl
Refreshingly ambitious and audacious. Not all of it works for me but it lands more often than it misses. I appreciate seeing a band as big as Avenged swing for the fences this deep into their career. Cosmic is one of the best things they've ever written.June 20, 2023
"This is an album a lot of bands would be scared to make, not radio friendly or full of bangers, just pure artistic ambition, which not everyone likes and that's fine. If they're really gonna stop making albums i understand why, this is like the peak of the mountain they've been climbing with all their albums, and also kind of a full circle thing since the rev has some credits on it, a cosmic reunion. It's the Dark Side Of The Moon/Sgt Pepper of the modern era." Giancarlo Santiago, Facebook
What you thought - the bad:
"Definitely not inspiring at all . If the plan was to abandon Metal then ok but RIP" Keith N Maria McGaughey, Facebook
Out of this album I like nobody but I was expecting something a little more not saying it's a bad album it just not my cup of teaJune 20, 2023
"I love all their old stuff, the newer stuff not so much. But I have deep respect for them changing their sound and making what they want to make. I may not like it as much and don't listen to it frequently but I heard it through, it's a great record despite me not really digging it and as long as they are happy with it I am fine with it and wish them a lot of success." Christian Nebel, Facebook
They're trying way too hard to be different. But, it has Synyster's best solo he's ever written on Nobody. Their best albums are City of Evil, Waking the Fallen, White and Nightmare. Life is But a Dream falls short, and it's a result of an Ahayuasca trip.June 21, 2023
"I can respect them for making the art they wanted to make and being creative, but I don’t vibe with this album. It had some songs that had some good moments, but there wasn’t a song I liked the entire way through. Most of the songs were very forgettable. I listened to the the whole thing straight through 4 times, trying to get into it as an entire experience, and sadly couldn’t. These guys are amazingly talented musicians, but this album was a massive let down for me after waiting 7 years for new material." Tony Ernst, Facebook
"While I appreciate them for trying something else, this is way to far off their own sound. It sounds messy, it goes all over the place to the point where it just gets annoying. I kinda liked their first single, wouldn't have mind if they just took it from there but they just went on and do even weirder stuff. This album is a hit or miss, and judging by the reviews; it's mostly a miss. Still think they are great tho." Ben Beentjes, Facebook
"So disappointing..Avenged to me has so much more talent than this epic mess! From Nightmare to this? I'm sorry but this is like 2 completely different bands..definitely time to find their roots again." Pat White, Facebook
"It’s the St Anger of A7X. Just pure awfulness." Anthony Boris, Facebook
"There were dozens of good moments and ideas, but they were scrapped so quickly that none of them ever stuck. Unfortunately all the drugs they were telling us about are clearly heard on the album. It's just a mess of too many ideas that they weren't in the mental state to piece together into a coherent whole." Henri Vaenerberg, Facebook
"Lots of people think it was great for A7X to go in this direction, but history has demonstrated that this is a horrible idea. From Megadeth's Risk to Metallica's St. Anger to Bullet for My Valentine's Gravity, we've seen how moving too far away from a band's original sound has grave consequences.
Every single band that decides to experiment to the level A7X has done on this record, eventually realizes that they've made a huge mistake and decide to go back to their original sound that made them famous.
From Sounding the Seventh Trumpet to City of Evil to Nightmare, A7X stayed consistent with their unique brand of metal, gathering a massive fan base that made them headliners. You can clearly see the punk influence of bands like Bad Religion in their music, an influence that's completely gone in this record. This is just a terrible record that sounds like more like Mr. Bungle than A7X." Gerardo Texidor, Facebook
What better summation could you offer than Life Is But A Dream getting comparisons to Dark Side Of The Moon on one side, and St. Anger on the other? A gonzo, genre-spanning epic, Life Is But A Dream... was almost inevitably going to be a polarising listen for fans, especially those who prefer A7X's more straight-ahead efforts like Nightmare and Hail To The King.
Yet, for the vast majority, there's a sense of appreciation for the effort A7X have put into the creation of Life Is But A Dream... and even where the album doesn't strike a chord with fans, they'd rather have an album where A7X express themselves creatively than generating something more traditional.
The seven-year gap has frustrated some fans who just want to dive into more music, but ultimately it seems to have been worth the wait considering just how far A7X have pushed the boat out with Life Is But A Dream...
Average Score: 7.9/10