Footnotes: A Handy Catalog of Every Song from Which Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail to the King “Borrows”
As I noted when the full-album stream went live on Monday night, Avenged Sevenfold’s latest offering, Hail to the King, borrows liberally from a plethora of early-90s (and late-80s, which were practically the early-90s) metal releases. I know this probably should bother me and I will almost certainly use it to gently rib A7X in a future post, but for now, at least, I’m really enjoying the album and the stroll down memory lane it’s providing.
So, for the benefit of those of you who are too young to remember all this shit, those of you who were so hip that you were born and went straight from The Beatles to Bolt Thrower, and my own fun, I have decided to catalog every song A7X ape on Hail to the King. Yes, this took me a long time. Yes, I am a massive nerd. Whatever. Don’t pretend you don’t love it.
“Shepherd of Fire”
For the first fifteen seconds, this song is actually paying homage to two releases from the 80s, not the 90s: the rain and spooky background noise is not dissimilar from the intro to Slayer’s “Raining Blood,” while the bells recall — duh — Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
Once the main riff kicks in, though, the song takes a turn for the “Enter Sandman,” right down to the pounding bass and rolling drums. There’s even a spoken-word section after the guitar solo, when the music quiets down (there’s that drum n’ bass again). It’s kind of amazing that Synyster Gates didn’t use more wah.
Interestingly enough, the song’s lyrical inspiration seems to be a different Black Album cut — specifically, “Sad But True.” Here are the lyrics to that song’s chorus…
I’m your dream, make you real
I’m your eyes when you must steal
I’m your pain when you can’t feel
Sad but true
I’m your dream, mind astray
I’m your eyes while you’re away
I’m your pain while you repay
You know it’s sad but true
…and here are the lyrics to “Shepherd of Fire”‘s chorus:
I am your pride
Agent of wealth
Bearer of needs
I am your war
Arming the strong
Aiding the weak
I am your wrath
I am your guilt
I am your lust
I am your law
I am your scar
I am your trust
So like I said the other night, the opening owes a clear debt to Guns N’ Roses’ “Back Off Bitch,” right down to M. Shadows’ yelp, which sounds just like the one Axl Rose uses in the GN’R tune:
Shadows then adopts his best iteration of the deeper register Rose utilized on tracks like “It’s So Easy” (yeah, I know, another 80s song, not a 90s song) and “Bad Obsession”:
Then it becomes another GN’R track, “Right Next Door to Hell,” for the guitar solo, complete with Shadows continuing to scream under the music, just as Rose does on “Hell”:
“This Means War”
Now that they’ve already cribbed the lyrical style of “Sad But True,” A7X crib the actual music from that song on “This Means War.” There’s even a little pause at the beginning before the main riff kicks in, as is the case on “Sad”…
…although the free-falling sound and thunderous drum beats signaling that the music is about to kick-in again is right outta Aerosmith’s “Living on the Edge”:
Also taken from “Sad”: the emphasis on an “I” sound at the start of every phrase.
Actually the older song from which “Requiem” most obviously borrows isn’t from the early 90s or the late 80s — it’s Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”
Oddly enough, this is the track where Gates gets all Hammett-y with the wah during his solo.
Although it shares a first note with Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” the song this most closely resembles is actually Firehouse’s “Love of a Lifetime,” especially once the vocals kick in:
The orchestral stuff also recalls Warrant’s “Heaven”:
Yeah so like I said on Monday night, save for the chorus, this pretty much is “Symphony for Destruction,” the same way “This Means War” pretty much is “Sad But True.”
Well, the opening is just a sped-up version of the riff from Marilyn Manson’s cover of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”:
The rest of the song has a very Iron Maiden-esque feel to it, although I don’t think it’s referencing any one particular Maiden tune.
An epic orchestral, piano-fueled ballad with the word “Rain” in the title? Hm… nope, I’m stumped here. Can’t think of any clear influence. Weird.
Did I miss any? Am I being too forgiving? Not forgiving enough? Weigh in below.