Jul 18

Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 53:22 minutes | 732 MB | Genre: Metal
Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio.com | Front cover

Produced by Mike Elizondo, Hail To The King is the follow up to the band’s 2010 release, Nightmare, which debuted at Number One on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, Hard Rock Chart and Digital Chart.

Following the release of “Carry On” for the Call of Duty Arms: Black Ops II video game, Avenged Sevenfold returned to the studio with new drummer, Arin Ilejay of Confide, to record 2013’s Hail to the King. In a press announcement, vocalist M. Shadows announced they would be attempting to go back to their Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin roots, and at the surface, the idea of dumbing down their music to sturdy classic rock grooves made a lot of sense, since many of the compositions on their last two albums had become overwrought with studio overdubbing. Unfortunately, once they tried to take inspiration from other bands, they mimicked them so well that they lost their sense of identity in the process. “Doing Time” came straight out of the Guns N’ Roses songbook, “This Means War” is a direct rip of Metallica’s “Sad But True,” and “Crimson Day” could be any number of ’80s hair metal power ballads. By the album’s second half, Avenged Sevenfold can’t help but let loose their guitar shredding theatrics a bit, and their personality starts to shine through as the tempo quickens and tracks take flight to unabashed heights. “Heretic” and “Coming Home” are still firmly indebted to their roots (specifically, Megadeth and Iron Maiden) but they are exciting metal numbers, and they set the stage for the colossal “Planets,”, which incorporates motifs from “The Planets” suite by 20th century composer Gustav Holst and includes all the arpeggiated soloing and operatic yowling you could ever want. If this sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is, but it’s undeniably more fun to hear the members pushing themselves and showboating than doing mock covers.

01 – Sheperd Of Fire
02 – Hail To The King
03 – Doing Time
04 – This Means War
05 – Requiem
06 – Crimson Day
07 – Heretic
08 – Coming Home
09 – Planets
10 – Acid Rain

M. Shadows – vocals
Synyster Gates – lead guitar
Zacky Vengeance – rhythm guitar
Johnny Christ – bass
Arin Ilejay – drums

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Jul 04

Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls (2014) [Deluxe Edition]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 83:46 minutes | 1,03 GB | Genre: Rock, Metal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover | Label: Columbia

To be released in the US on July 15th, 2014 via Epic Records (as a standard version and a deluxe edition with five bonus tracks), ‘Redeemer of Souls’ is Judas Priest’s latest collection of epic metal – “raising the bar is consistent for us and ‘Redeemer’ hits the ground running” – it matches up perfectly to earlier Priest classics as evidenced by the album’s leadoff single ‘March of the Damned’ – the band mean business once again.

“Welcome to my world of steel” sneers Rob Halford on the punchy, surprisingly spartan “Dragonaut,” the opening salvo of the venerable New Wave of British Heavy Metal legends’ 17th studio long-player, and their first outing without founding guitarist K.K. Downing, who left the group in 2011. The antithesis to 2008’s overblown Nostradamus, Redeemer of Souls feels quaint in comparison, eschewing the largely fantasy-driven conceptual style of the ambitious, yet undeniably cumbersome, two-disc set in favor of a more refined, classic rock approach that edges closer to the group’s late-’70s offerings like Sin After Sin and Stained Class. New guitarist Richie Faulkner, with his golden mane and tight, controlled riffing, suggests a wax Downing just sprung to life and simply walked out of Madam Tussaud’s museum and into the band’s rehearsal space, and his tasteful, yet undeniably meaty playing alongside Glenn Tipton goes a long way in helping to restore some of the classic Judas Priest luster, especially on standout cuts like the aforementioned “Dragonaut,” the nervy and propulsive “Metalizer,” and the rousing title track. Still, this is a band that’s well into its fifth decade of being “Hell Bent for Leather”; they’ve explored, both successfully and occasionally at great cost, nearly every shadowy nook and suspicious looking crevice of the genre, and the album’s stalwart yet shopworn 13 tracks reflect that journey. That said, Redeemer of Souls is also the loosest (attitude-wise), leanest (arrangement-wise), and most confident-sounding collection of new material the band has released in ages, and while it will forever tread beneath high-water marks like British Steel and Sad Wings of Destiny, it most certainly deserves to be ranked alongside albums from that era.

01 – Dragonaut
02 – Redeemer Of Souls
03 – Halls Of Valhalla
04 – Sword Of Damocles
05 – March Of The Damned
06 – Down In Flames
07 – Hell & Back
08 – Cold Blooded
09 – Metalizer
10 – Crossfire
11 – Secrets Of The Dead
12 – Battle Cry
13 – Beginning Of The End
14 – Snakebite [Bonus Track]15 – Tears Of Blood [Bonus Track]16 – Creatures [Bonus Track]17 – Bring It On [Bonus Track]18 – Never Forget [Bonus Track]

Produced and mixed by Mike Exeter and Glenn Tipton.
Mastered by Dick Beetham.

Rob Halford – vocals
Glenn Tipton – guitar, synthesizer
Richie Faulkner – guitar
Ian Hill – bass guitar
Scott Travis – drums

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