Avenged Sevenfold

Sydney Entertainment Centre, Haymarket NSW
July 30, 2011

POST A7x Avenged Sevenfold/Aaron Saye

If you find yourself hovering around this particular venue enjoying a pre-show lager, keep an eye out for the guitar display nestled between levels. There are also numerous concert shots around the place which bring back some memories. I suspect that tonight’s attendees might lack interest in their forefathers and this was reinforced by responses to both before and between set music. Looking around it was fingerless gloves, dyed hair amd pocket chains. Good on them, but when Dio, Queen and Whitesnake is being pumped over the PA, any decent metal crowd would respond with reverence and maybe the odd tear into their lager instead of obliviously twittering away and updating their Facebook pages. Ah… back when I was a lad. Maybe they’re checking metal reviews.
The lights dimmed and on popped Dream on, Dreamer instead of Sevendust so they already had a task ahead of them. The six piece ticked all the metalcore boxes and to their credit, did well under the circumstances. Plenty of their set included combinations of buzzing guitar lines invading verses that fluctuated between the harder screamed frontman vocals and higher pitched but well sung vocals of their bassist. It was the usual breakdowns and circle pits breaking out here and there that for some is a mark of success. Others might say it has been done by so many to the point of overkill. Each to their own but when the frontman Marcel Gadacz kept getting the number of songs left wrong and constantly used the fold back wedge to pour out his angst, well, it was only a matter of time until we copped a cry of ‘Fuck this shit up!’ over the heavier parts. The “Jesus” chant at keyboardist Daniel Jungwirth and dedicating a song to girls in the audience was vaguely amusing but probably skewed depending on your viewpoint and life experience. They managed to trot out old songs like ‘Ambitions’ and material from their new album. Credit where it’s due, they did pretty well.
Before the headliners hit, the floor filled up and the beer queue was much faster than usual. A lot of fans were keen to see how Avenged Sevenfold would hit it live with newly green drummer Arin Ilejay in the touring fold, replacing the late Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. Given Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater fame filled in for recording the latest album, Nightmare and A7X have toured here twice before with their late drummer, the jury was out. Having also missed Soundwave earlier in the year due to scheduling conflicts (or so they tell us – Ed.), it was good to see a full production looming.
The stage set was reminiscent of Motley’s set up with the drum kit elevated centrally and level with raised, curtained scaffolding used to support lighting and yet to be revealed pyro canisters. Pyro pots also lined the floor with some of their amps hidden behind. As the massive album cover backdrop graphic loomed ominously, the PA pumped out Master of Puppets. It was almost an admission of musical riffs borrowed in the coming set.
The crowd surged as A7X hit the stage. Production was perfectly executed with three foreground risers to allow various band members to elevate themselves to accentuate solos or rouse up the crowd. Opening track ‘Nightmare’ hit with double kick drums, synchronised lighting, harmonised solos and plenty of pyro. When guitarist Synyster Gates was up to his flashier tricks, his partner in crime, the left handed Zacky Vengeance, held things down with tight, chugging rhythms. Within several songs, the new drummer had proved himself to be up to the task whilst sunglasses-sporting vocalist M. Shadows had promised tonight’s performance would be ‘off the fucking chain’ without jetlag hassles.
‘Almost Easy’ and ‘Buried Alive’ had shredding solos, sliding harmonies, Metallica-inspired riffs and more pyro. Unfortunately, there were times when the soloing of Synyster was drowned out by the rhythms of Zacky but mixing is a malleable thing so a second section with the lighting being dimmed to bring out the power of burning pyro strips on either side of the kit lighting up the venue put errors aside. The image worked well with driving outro riffs.
After an eager fan jumped the stage, it was a more subdued moment as the ballad of ‘So Far Away’ was dedicated to The Rev. The stage was lit red, Zacky strummed an acoustic and Synyster let rip into a solo whilst iPhones and lighters lit the venue. The carnage resumed with more circle pits, twin guitar solos, pyro and riffing away. ‘God Hates Us’ reminded of earlier thrash metal and am sure the Slayer reference was missed by some. It also reminded of Pantera with interesting drumming, very Phil Anselmo-styled vocal wails and some held screaming harmonics straight out of Dimebag’s trick bag.
Next up was heavily harmonised alleged tales of necrophilia in ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ that segued into next track ‘Bat Country’. Guitars let rip with showcase and harmony solos. There was more ‘old school shit’ in ‘Unholy Confessions’ resulting in more moshing and some staggered riffs that kicked hard. Then it was the moment of massive circle pit encouragement, which looked more like a dirty great circle jog. Many enjoy it but I am fairly certain others find it immature and it pisses them off when they have to move from a decent vantage point. Do we pay good money to be annoyed by these infantile irritants?
After throwing out picks and sticks, a brief break welcomed in the encore. Bass and drums began with a mini Metallica-esque intro before M. Shadows appeared to perform the final song, ‘Save Me’. Bellowing lines like ‘something we did?’ and ‘ tonight we all die young’ repeatedly, the fans were inspired in a sing along. Pardon the pun but he overshadowed the skills of heavier riffs and twin guitar, tremolo picked solos. It was all pretty damned good but I still wanted to hear the end of ‘Leper Messiah’ which was cut off during the solo just as they came on.
Only joking kids! It was a well crafted show and well rehearsed. Given what they’ve been through, it really is a great achievement and the fans knew it. Horns up!
Critical Acclaim
Welcome to the Family
Almost Easy
Buried Alive
So Far Away
God Hates Us
A Little Piece of Heaven
Unholy Confessions
Bat Country

Save Me