2016’s The Stage, the seventh album from rock veterans, Avenged Sevenfold is one of their most ambitious of their long career. It’s an ambitious concept album chronicling an apprehension on the growth of artificial intelligence and self-destructive human tendencies. The band has come a long way from the beloved metalcore sounds of 2003’s Walking The Fallen and morphed into a modern day heavy metal style more apt to bands like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica.
Having canceled their Philadelphia appearance on their supporting trek with Metallica due to lead guitarist Synyster Gates welcoming his new baby boy into the world, the band showed their dedication and played a free show at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden.
The Hardwired tour with Metallica could be looked at as the passing of the torch in a metal genre that is looking for acts to carry the mantle. While Metallica is still going strong, a new generation of fans are starting to grow older. Avenged Sevenfold’s show came with all the trimmings of a theatrical metal show. A huge astronaut, indicative to The Stage’s album art was draped at the top overlooking screens that played like a journey through space. Gates played the opening chords of the song of the same title where some fans in the crowds mimicked the finger placement on the fret board.
Vocalist M. Shadows interacted with the crowd often, high fiving and fist bumping out stretched hands. The newest addition to the team, ex-Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman sounded like he had been playing with the band for years on end. Gates and rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance came together at points to harmonize on the notes of their solos during songs like “Afterlife”. Every song sounded crisp like it’s studio counterpart. Old favorites like “Bat Country” and “Nightmare” garnished singalongs and air drumming.
Some of us are getting to the age where there is starting to be a musical divide with the younger generation. In some cases, we find ourselves in a constant role reversal where we are the teachers and sometimes, the students. 2005’s City Of Evil is really where you saw Avenged Sevenfold make a turn into a band that wanted to have the same staying power as classic bands before them. Then again, the band never really were the ones to rest on their laurels. The Stage, what is considered a “living album,” was released without an announcement – finally bringing rock music into the “shock release” campaign. Where some people feel that rock music is behind the curve, Avenged Sevenfold keeps going by their own definitions.