Having been lucky enough to attend the recent Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) concert at the Impact Area in Bangkok on January 20, I came away mostly overwhelmed with the performance and with a firm view that I had just witnessed the very best that present day heavy metal music has to offer.
This was my first encounter with the California-based band and I was drawn in from the first minute of the concert– the gig started with the superb “Shepherd of Fire” – until the very last notes at the final curtain. To be truthful, it would be incorrect to call this just a rock concert; it was a multi-media event with state of the art lighting and huge projection screens surrounding the stage that allowed everyone present to feel like they had a front row seat.
M. Shadows (left) and Synyster Gates (right) from the band Avenged Sevenfold perform at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, January 20, 2015.
An early highlight of the show was “Hail to the King”, the title song from the band’s most recent album released in 2013 and this was followed by “Afterlife”, a track which allowed lead guitarist Synyster Gates to give a virtuoso solo guitar display that even fast fingers like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai would find hard to match.
Other crowd pleasing favourites such as “This Means War” and “Acid Rain” kept the Impact Arena throbbing with energy and excitement and at some point a red bra was tossed onto the stage and was left adorning a microphone stand for some minutes.
The encore provided the absolute highlight of the evening, a performance of “A Little Piece of Heaven” that was mastered like a mini-horror musical with state of the art animations and flicking strobe lights, creating an atmosphere that gave the audience goose-bumps and left them craving for more.
After the show I was given the opportunity to interview the band and asked them how they were enjoying their visit to the ‘Land of Smiles.’
“The hospitality of the Thais has been overwhelming since we got here,” said lead singer and group spokesman M. Shadows. “We know that Thailand has so much to offer in terms of its ancient culture and great scenery, but as a band we prefer the throbbing nightlife of Bangkok, so you’re probably just as likely to find us in a Patpong street as you are in a temple.”
The band went on to talk about their association with Andy Wallace, producer of the “Hail to the King” album.
“To be honest, we work with Andy because he is the best,” said the band members. “He worked with us before on the “Avenged Sevenfold” album (2007) and he understands what we want to sound like. He brings a lot of fresh ideas into the production of our studio CDs.”
I also questioned the group on their decision to re-release the 2003 “Walking the Fallen” album last year with a deluxe makeover that included a host of demos, videos and alternate takes.
“The biggest treat was rediscovering the album’s demos from 2003,” said M. Shadows. “We knew they existed but some were hard to find. They show that there was some semblance of a vision of where we were trying to go. We definitely accomplished some good stuff on this album and hopefully some of our newer fans will get a kick out of hearing it.”
The show in Bangkok gave A7X’s Asian fanbase a chance to witness first hand a group with incredible musical creativity that has still yet to reach the zenith of its career. In October last year the band announced that they will begin writing their seventh album during the summer of 2015. The album has a tentative release date of 2016 and it will be a date that all metal lovers will be eagerly anticipating. Fans in Thailand meanwhile will be hoping for a swift return visit of this stellar performing group to Bangkok.