AVENGED SEVENFOLD PROVE THEY’RE AMONG ROCK’S ELITE PLAYERS AT THE HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM, 11/14/07
After watching Avenged Sevenfold rock the fuck out of 3,000 strong at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom last night, Axl remarked to me “I can’t help but think I would’ve enjoyed that more if we hadn’t seen Van Halen last night,” a sentiment I had been thinking mere seconds earlier. So while the show seemed short at 60 minutes + encore, the production seemed light, and the show seemed somewhat anti-climactic… all things said it was still a fucking great show, we just happened to have been spoiled by one of the all-time greats 24 hours prior. Avenged Sevenfold are certainly among the best players in rock and metal today, and they proved it last night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
Avenged Sevenfold took the stage to manic chants of “SEV-EN-FOLD!” and launched into new-album-opener “Critical Acclaim” before belting out face-melters both old and new from their three full-length albums. Songs from Waking the Fallen elicited the most frantic crowd response while “Bat Country” and encore “Seize the Day” from City of Evil were crowd-pleasers as well. From their latest self-titled offering, in addition to the aforementioned opener the band played “Afterlife,” “Almost Easy” and my favorite of the night, the heavy-as-fuck “Scream.”
The musical talent of this band is really unparalleled in metal and rock today — a newly mohawked M. Shadows has grown leaps and bounds as a singer, and last night was proof that the noticeable improvement on their latest disc was not just studio trickery. Shadows belted his balls off STRONG all the way through, and guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance added ample background vocals to boot. Gates is as close to a modern day guitar hero as there is, nailing his complicated guitar solos with chilling accuracy (seriously — pay attention to what this guy is playing — he is super talented), and Vengeance is his perfect accomplice, providing virgin-tight rhythms and harmonized leads when called upon. Drummer The Rev nails it every single night which is somewhat surprising given his knack for hitting the bottle in addition to the skins, but you gotta hand it to the guy — anyone who can hit double-bass triplets and sing at the same time gets a nod in my book.
As good as Van Halen? Maybe not; though you can’t expect everyone to do kick flips. But Avenged Sevenfold are absolutely in rock’s upper echelon as players, to say nothing of both their catchy and clever songwriting. Go see this band if you have the chance.