Music review: Avenged Sevenfold’s “The Stage”

Famous heavy metal band’s new song comments on corrupt leadership

Michael Ambrosino, General Manager & Entertainment Editor

“Who is the crowd that peers through the cage… as we perform here upon the stage?”

What a message, and what perfect timing, too!

Is this the coming of a brand new album? This would be the band’s first since their relentless 2013 album, “Hail to the King,” whose “Acid Rain” still sends chills through my body every time I listen to it.

According to Fozzy lead singer Chris Jericho, Avenged Sevenfold’s new song, titled “The Stage,” could very well be a teaser to a future album. Subsequently deleted, Jericho posted a photo to Instagram that essentially informed the world on the band’s new album, apparently titled “Voltaic Oceans,” and that it would be released on Dec. 9

The band has yet to comment on this – but, do they really need to clarify anything? Teaser or not, Avenged Sevenfold simply premiered an amazing new song, accompanied with a music video that, in my gradebook, is nothing short of a masterpiece. 

It’s mesmerizing, epic and beautiful. Listening to the eight-and-a-half minute-long “The Stage,” I was immediately brought back to the rapid-fire ferocity of the band’s terrific third album, and my personal favorite thus far, City of Evil, with just a few glimmers of the heaviness showcased in their fifth album, Nightmare. 

It’s really good stuff, with skillful drumming, a kick-ass guitar solo by Synyster Gates and a dead serious message. Even if their lyrics fail to blow your socks off, it’s difficult to deny that Avenged Sevenfold knows how to write the living hell out of a song, instrumentally. 

And about that message – this is where the music video becomes slightly more captivating than the song itself. 

It sheds light on the meaning behind the lyrics, and ultimately presents something smart yet compelling and, in its own right, kind of scary. 

The video sees a group of average, every day people seated in a tiny theatre. When the curtains open up, we see puppets, controlled by an unknown puppet master, act out some of history’s most cruelest acts of mindless violence. We’re taken through the days of Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, various wars and the Salem Witch Trials, to name a fair few. 

The audience goes bananas over this, laughing and playing along, sometimes deciding the fate of some of the poor puppets. 

When the music reaches its final, electrifying chorus, the curtains close and smoke fills the room, wiping the audience out of sight. The curtains open up again, and we see that very audience as puppets, controlled by the world’s powerful leaders, including the next possible leader of our country, Hillary Clinton.

This isn’t the first time Avenged Sevenfold has gone dark and political in their music. “The Stage,” however, may be one of their darkest and most political yet, as it shows us the terrifying reality of the world we live in.