On the artificial sand of Sunway Lagoon’s Surf Pool here in KL last Friday, A7X was scaled down and even then it wasn’t like they were a local band. But at times, they played like one, either out of fatigue, or maybe below-par energy feeding back the rock stars’ way from the Malaysian mosh, or (God forbid) out of boredom.
While lead singer M. Shadows appeared to be taking the piss half the time, his vocals soared and he ruled the stage like a heavy metal tyrant. With the customary swear words, tattoo sleeves and eye of Horus on his chest the frontman was an imposing presence to back up the monster voice. It could be the confidence that comes with being the world’s current highest-selling metal band.
With no such concerns to live up to other than playing their instruments, lead guitarist Synyster Gates and Asian drummer Arin Ilejay were more zoned into the music, and were the only ones who seemed like they were playing music. Mohawked bassist/founder Johnny Christ was all menacing rock moves and laser-beam staredowns, connecting with the front row whenever M. Shadows was busy stretching another operatic Iron Maiden-esque high note, while guitarist Zacky Vengeance often looked more like a bored punk rock guitar player rather than a heavy metal guitar hero.
A mix of singles and mint-condition headbangers from the current album (“Hail To The King”, “This Means War”) and their recent foray into video games (“Carry On”) and carefully included hits (“So Far Away”), inserted in between fan favourites like “Chapter 4”, “Dear God” and a changed-up “A Little Taste Of Heaven” for the encore.
Shadows had barked from the stage as he and his tattooed gang returned for the encore: “You don’t always get what you want in life. But tonight, you do. You want more? Tonight, you get more.”
Yeah, it was more, just more of the same damn thing from Avenged Sevenfold, in actuality a versatile, imaginative metal noir band on the first few of their six existing albums. ‘Hail To The King’ was their supernova pop-metal album, cementing their A-list status, so hopefully they’ll go back to what made them so interesting musically in the first place for their seventh offering due this year.
Here they just came off as a repetitive beast, albeit perfected into a multi-million-dollar travelling metal production for A7X’s hungry (or shall we say bloodthirsty?) Malaysian deathbats.
But let’s cut ’em a break. To be fair things haven’t really been the same without the heart and soul of Avenged, the acrobatic-drumming, piano-playing, rock & rolling compositional wizard the late Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, no disrespect to the brilliant Arin Ilejay. R.I.P., Rev, you will be missed.
*‘Avenged Sevenfold: Live In Kuala Lumpur’ at Sunway Lagoon Surf Pool on January 23, 2015 was brought to you as part of the band’s ‘Hail To The King’ World Tour.