In 2001 a band caught my ears, that band was Avenged Sevenfold. “Warmness On The Soul” from their debut release Sounding the Seventh Trumpet was the song that did it. I dug the sound and the imagery the band was trying to present. I thought to myself if this band managed to keep it together, and not breakup, they had the potential to become a great band.
They released three more albums Waking The Fallen, City Of Evil, and the self titled Avenged Sevenfold. Each album brought enjoyable music and showcased their growth and talent as songwriters and musicians. And then in 2009 disaster happened, founding member and drummer James”The Rev” Owen Sullivan passed away. Was this end of a band that I was sure would rise to the top?
I cannot imagine their thoughts at the loss of their comrade in arms and yet, they muddled through it and released Nightmare in 2010. Pulling in Mike Portnoy (one of The Rev’s idols) to complete the drum work The Rev had started and including the vocal tracks he had laid down. Nightmare was met with critical acclaim and launched A7X into mega stardom.
Due to the fact that The Rev played a part in the songwriting process of A7X people began speculating as to the survival of the band post Nightmare. Mike Portnoy toured with the band briefly before leaving the band. Arin Ilejay was then tapped to become their permanent drummer.
2013- Hail To The King was released on August 27th and I was scheduled to shoot their performance on August 30th. What can I say about this album? My prediction from 12 years ago has come true. A7X has managed to knock everyone off the charts and put ROCK N’ ROLL back on top as it should be. Congratulations guys, your perseverance has paid off.
Now, to address the naysayers to the album. There has been postings and rumblings on how A7X has “ripped off” Metallica, Megadeth, Guns N’Roses, and Iron Maiden. Well if you give it some thought you will realize that those bands were some of the bands who inspired the members of A7X. Go through your records and listen to them again and you will hear similarities to other bands in almost all of them in some way or another. How long has it been since a hard rock act has been on top of the charts? A7X has gone to ground and pulled from those influences and made a damn good hard rock record. Thank you gentle men, thank you very much. And to the naysayers: how many records have you sold recently, and what is your tour attendance like?
Now, on a lighter note, here’s some of the pics I shot from their stellar performance on Day 1 of The Revolt On The Rio Grande powered by Rock Star Energy Drink.
Hail To The Kings indeed