It's an album on which the Californian heavy metal band - who this week were announced as one of the headliners of Australia's Soundwave festival - finally get serious following a run of mostly patchy records where they seemed unsure about who and what they were.

On Hail to the King they up the grunt and brutality factor, and give it a staunch melodic metal and classic rock edge. Though it initially comes across as a slick heavy-metal album, the impressive scale of the record is revealed with centrepiece Requiem, with its grand, eerie Nosferatu-like orchestral and choral arrangements.

And there are other towering epics here, too. Coming Home powers and pummels on effortlessly and This Means War is a bruising cross between classic Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold's own penchant for fist-pumping anthems.

What also lends the band a wider appeal than just being a heavy metal band is singer M. Shadows, who's a mix of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden and David Draiman of Disturbed, but with hints of former Stone Temple Pilots' vocalist Scott Weiland (especially on the raging Sunset Strip rock of Doing Time).


Crimson Day is the album's snooziest moment, where you wish they'd just get on with the grunty stuff - which, thankfully, they do with the jagged guitars and bottom end rumble of Heretic.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Mainstream metal's new big band.
Click here to buy Hail The King by Avenged Sevenfold.
Follow @nzherald_ent on Twitter for all the latest entertainment news.

- TimeOut