Avenged Sevenfold have always been a divisive but creative band. Over the years their style has evolved though different genres and concepts, amassing hordes of fans as they grew. From their humble beginnings in the California hardcore scene, the band have developed into an act big enough to headline festivals. Some have even claimed that they will be first in line to replace the regular headline slot when the torch is passed down from the likes of Metallica and Iron Maiden. They’ve had their fair share of nay-sayers along the way, so this tour is a chance to demonstrate their ability to put on a massive stadium show. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint.
Hitting the stage relatively early (at 6:15) were Swedish metalheads, In Flames. I’d really not heard much from these guys before the show but I was impressed by their stage presence and ability to hold a room as big as the MEN arena. This music was made for stadiums. Vocalist, Anders Fridén seemed incredibly relaxed, joking about how British cheddar is the best cheese on earth. Despite their early performance only being witnessed by a half full arena, they definitely made a lasting impression 7/10.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Disturbed as I hadn’t listened to them since my teenage years. Any expectations I had were blown out of the water, they put a truly incredible show worthy of a headline act. If you like monkey screams, trench coats and fire, this is the band for you. Disturbed create such a big sound despite only having one guitarist. David Draiman’s voice is incredibly powerful, cutting through the dark crunch of the heavy guitars. He commanded the stage with a calm energy, slowly pacing up and down the runway while bellowing his outstanding vocals. The band provided an incredibly tight performance, the highlight of which being their cover of ‘The Sound Of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel. Bringing on a cellist, a violinist, an acoustic guitarist and two massive Djembe drums, Disturbed proved they were much more than a one trick pony.
Finishing their set with the fan favourite, ‘Down With The Sickness’ provided the perfect nostalgia to make the crowd go wild. I’d never had the opportunity to see this band before but as far as first impressions go, these guys put on one hell of a performance. 9/10
At first you might think that Avenged Sevenfold had a very minimal set up. Before the band began the stage was mostly empty apart from a drum kit on a small platform. But as Brooks Wakerman took his seat at the kit and the 9 screens flashed into action, it was clear that things were grander than their first seemed.
As they started to play their opening song, new hit ‘The Stage’ a giant cube hovering above the band started to project images from their music video.
The band were on full form with M Shadow’s wearing his traditional snapback, bandana and aviator combination. Unlike David Draiman he used as much space as he could, running up and down the runway and singing directly to the fans. Hits ‘Afterlife and ‘Hail to the King’ Went down a treat with the audience chanting along. Guitarists, Zacky Vengence and Synyster Gates harmonised their fast and loose solos while bassist Jonny Christ, strutted around the stage.
“Now we have 7 albums out, we have to play songs from all our records, so everyone is equally unhappy” jokes Shadows before launching into hits from their first two albums, ‘To End The Rapture’ and Chapter Four respectively.
It has to be said that Brooks Wakerman did a fantastic job as the new drummer. His fills were incredibly impressive and his replication of the Rev’s drumming style was more or less note for note. ‘Nightmare’ and ‘Almost Easy’ were among the highlights of the night, whilst songs like Planets failed to impress. For the last few songs of their set Avenged hovered a giant spaceman above the stage. By this point it had become clear that the band were aiming to create more than a show, but a spectacle.
Every time I see Avenged they seem to improve on what they’ve done before. It can be hard for a band with such a plethora of records to build a consistent set but I’d say that they did a pretty good job of it. Rammstein and Iron Maiden may be famous for their dramatic performances but I’d argue that Avenged are learning to do them just as well. 9/10