Sunday, September 19, 2010

Avenged Sevenfold: Heavy Metal Is Solid Gold

I'm not my grandmother, but I'm not 17 anymore either. When I reviewed the set list for Avenged Sevenfold, the band immediately preceding the band Disturbed at the USANA Amphitheater in Salt Lake City, I knew this wasn't going to be a warm and fuzzy lyrical nirvana. “Nightmare,” “Beast and the Harlot,” and “Unholy Confessions” were among the group's featured numbers.

Before the concert, I ran into my son-in-law's brother, and he literally giggled and said “This isn't really your kind of music, is it?” I had to chuckle, too, as his laugh sounded just like my son-in-law's, so genuine and from the heart. “Trying to be expansive,” I smiled.

Another young couple reached over the railing near the lawn section and handed me their empty beer cups to facilitate recycling. “Excited for the concert?” I asked. Never did I expect to get such the complete analysis that followed on the musical theory and tonal qualities behind one of America's up-and-coming heavy metal bands. We might as well have been discussing the New York Philharmonic. “And their vocals are the best,” he added. I surprised him by handing him my list of the group's songs from one of their recent concerts. “Oh I knew they were going to play Nightmare!” he exclaimed.

The stage was nearly dark but I could see a platform high above the stage as the crowd anticipated the entrance of the band. When they raced onstage, a dummy suspended by a rope dropped and hung in front of the group. The set was as eery as a haunted house, with rapidly changing lights and fire torches shooting flames to the beat of the music.
Everyone was on their feet. The energy was a rush unto itself. The throng was jumping with hands up in the air or doing the “spawning salmon” move with their heads. This was not a concert, it was a happening. The mosh pit down in the front was a rippling mass of amorphous motion.
Can’t wake up in sweat
'Cause it ain’t over yet
Still dancin' with your demons
(Victim of your own creation)
Beyond the will to fight
Where all that’s wrong is right
Where hate don’t need a reason
(Loathing self-assassination
And so it continued for about an hour. The one mellow moment, if there was one, was during the song “So Far Away,” a tribute to the band's drummer, James Sullivan, who died of a drug overdose.
Although I must admit I doubt I'll get cravings for a steady musical diet of Avenged Sevenfold, this band was the full package and doesn't need to play second fiddle to anybody. No kidding. Their stage set up was unequaled and they lured the crowd in further and further with every song. Suffice it to say, they played it like superstars. And rightly so. The group's Nightmare album debuted at #1 on the Billboard magazine in 2010.
Disclosure: I was a volunteer at this concert. I received NO compensation for this review.

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