After hearing the title track to Avenged’s sixth and first full album without any input from Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, I was concerned for the direction the band would be taking this this album. Hail to the King isn’t perfect, there are some songs that listeners will overlook, but overall I think fans will be very happy with this record. Avenged Sevenfold is back.

Within the first few tracks I noticed that Avenged has gone back to their metalcore roots and added a Black Sabbath influence in-between it all. Shepard of Fire kicks off the album with an assembly of dark horns behind a powerful guitar assault. The guitar work (as always) is great, the shredding duo Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance are on-top of their game. The newest member Arin Ilejay holds his own behind the drum kit and draws some of his drumming influence from The Rev. I think in the hearts of Avenged Sevenfold fans The Rev will always be seen and remembered as thee drummer of Avenged, but Arin does well for his first album. M. Shadows as always is solid throughout the record. Some moments feel a bit ‘cheesy’ with his exaggerated vocal runs and lyrics, but overall he does a good job.

As I said before, there are a few duds on the album. I suppose that happens when you’ve been a band for over a decade, and the main reason why these tracks don’t stick out is because I feel like the band has written songs like these before. I think songs like “Shepard of Fire”, “Coming Home” and “Planets” will surprise fans and could be their new favorites from A7X. Hail to the King is definitely a different kind of album from Avenged. It’s an album that fans need to hear for themselves to fully judge.