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Concert Reviews:
Avenged Sevenfold does a bang (and boom) up job at Joe Louis Arena
 

by GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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DETROIT -- As deftones neared the end of their opening set Sunday night, Oct. 13, at Joe Louis Arena, frontman Chino Moreno took time to pump the crowd up for what the members of headliner Avenged Sevenfold had up their tattooed sleeves.

"Wait'll you see what's coming up next -- (expletive) flames! Explosions! All kinds of (expletive)! Beware!" Moreno announced.

And he wasn't kidding.

Supporting its chart-topping sixth studio album "Hail to the King," A7X delivered a classic kind of heavy metal exposition, a literally explosive 100 minutes of mayhem marked by plenty of pyrotechnic spectacle and musical dazzle that played right to the appetite of the mosh pit-minded, crowd-surfing that filled the Joe Louis floor (the seated areas were more sparsely populated however). A7X's members may be more players than performers -- as necessitated by the tricky, prog-leaning arrangements of many of the show's 14 songs -- but the visuals provided the extra octane and charisma to bring Sunday's how up to headbanging standards.

Following deftones' slamming aggro rock and Ghost B.C.'s winningly tongue-in-cheek Satanic ritual, A7X started with a bang -- again, literally -- as flames appropriately filled the stage for the opening "Shepherd of Fire." The haunted castle scenery, with macabre animated videos playing on either side of a large, skeletal "King" figure that emerged during "Hail to the King," referenced vintage Iron Maiden, while some of A7X's songs paid clear respectful homage to Metallica ("This Means War") and Guns 'N Roses ("Doing Time"). But the group certainly blew aside Machine Head bassist Robb Flynn's recent well-publicized criticisms with blazing renditions of prog-tinged fare such as "Critical Acclaim," "Buried Alive" and "Nightmare" -- with all manner of pyrotechnics going off on all sides of the stage.

A7X turned the gentle "Fiction" into a warm, photo-accented tribute to late drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan, though guitarist Synyster Gates' solo spot was a bit of a speed bump in an otherwise fast-moving show. Frontman M. Shadows, meanwhile, voiced plenty of appreciation for Detroit, noting that local radio stations were among the first to support the quintet with its first single, "Unholy Confessions" -- which closed the show following "Chapter Four," another track from 2003's "Waking the Fallen" album.

Shadows also thanked fans for coming out on a Sunday night (he might have noted competition from the Detroit Tigers' playoff game in Boston, too). But he and his bandmates certainly put on a show that will bring everyone back -- and likely generate the kind of word of mouth that will grow the audience for A7X's next visit.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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