Avenged Sevenfold Usher In a New Era in New Jersey at Tour Kick-Off

Avenged Sevenfold live 2023 [Credit: Matt Bishop]

The band played a big chunk of their new album at Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden

Avenged Sevenfold live 2023 [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Avenged Sevenfold [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Last night, life was a dream come true for Avenged Sevenfold fans as the band kicked off their first North American tour in five years. The heavy metal hitmakers returned to the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden to reveal songs from their brand new album Life Is But a Dream and quench fans’ thirst for some of the hits that have made them one of the biggest bands in the world. Things aren’t always as they seem, however. It is certainly a new era for the band, who just released the most experimental album of their storied career. While the initial reactions to the record were very mixed, the capacity crowd was anxious to see how the new tunes would translate in a live setting.

After fans had some time to raid the merch booths, Kim Dracula took the stage to start the evening’s festivities. Raising some eyebrows at first, they seemed to win the crowd over with their nu metal and rap-rock influences. You would get some serious vintage Korn vibes quite often throughout the set. The industrial metal version of Lady Gaga’s “Papparazzi” was quite something. In all, they turned some heads and captured a few new fans

Kim Dracula live 2023 [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Kim Dracula [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Alexisonfire certainly seemed on a mission last night. Fairly fresh off the release of their first studio album in 13 years, the band churned out a blistering ten-song set. The played three tracks from the new record, as well as a solid mix of fan favorites from all throughout their career that has spanned over two decades.

They started with “Sweet Dreams of Otherness.” The track is a bruising wall of melodic sound. It was the perfect way to start their set, putting the audience deep in the pocket right out of the gate. Other hits included “Boiled Frogs,” “Sans Soleil,” and “This Could Be Anywhere In the World,” among others. It was one of the better live sets we’ve seen from any band in quite some time.

The furious “Young Cardinals” closed out their time. Absolutely gassed from bringing it all in the blistering heat, the band had the venue bursting at the seams with a palpable energy before the sun even went down. Giving a band like Avenged Sevenfold a run for their money is no easy task, but Alexisonfire brought it all and proved that they’re still at the top of their game.

Alexisonfire live 2023 [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Alexisonfire [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Avenged Sevenfold charged out of the gate with “Game Over,” a blistering slice of speed metal with melodic, almost opera-like breaks. The stage was basically barren, a far cry from the over-the-top production and pyro that fans have gotten used to. Instead, massive floor-to-ceiling screens have taken over featuring imagery that coincides with the songs. It’s not as flashy as their previous tours; the band is mostly in the dark. But, the stripped down darkness does seem to feel right for this record.

After “Game Over,” they went right into “Mattel,” which has a similar feel and formula. Then, the took it way back with “Afterlife” from their 2007 self-titled hit album and then

While a bulk of the set was comprised of new material, the band do a nice job of sprinkling in past hits and fan favorites. Personally, I would have traded “Hail to the King” and “Nightmare” for, say, “Critical Acclaim,” “Welcome to the Family,” or “Beast and the Harlot,” but with such a stacked catalog it must be getting tough to craft a setlist.

Avenged Sevenfold live 2023 [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Avenged Sevenfold [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Midway through the set, M. Shadows took a moment to address the audience. He spoke of living in the moment, and not thinking too much about later, tomorrow, or the future in general. Although he pointed out that he hates it when band’s talk about the same shit every show, it is a poignant talking point in this day and age.

“If you live in the moment, time will slow down and you can enjoy the ones you love,” Shadows stated. Pure facts, and some advice we should all take to heart. This is, in fact, something that needs to be said at every show.

In closing, he made a dedication, saying, “This song is called ‘So Far Away,’ and it goes out to The Rev and everyone we’ve all lost.”

Following immediately was “Nobody,” the lead single from the group’s latest LP. It seemed to be the most well-received track from the new outing. With its industrial tendencies, the track translated well live, especially Synyster’s dazzling outro solo. It was a staunch reminder that he’s undoubtedly one of the best metal guitarists of all time. And, say what you will about the new album or the lack of pyro – A7X’s musicianship is always supreme.

Avenged Sevenfold live 2023 [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Avenged Sevenfold [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

While a bulk of the set was comprised of new material, the band do a nice job of sprinkling in past hits and fan favorites. Personally, I would have traded “Hail to the King” and “Nightmare” for, say, “Critical Acclaim,” “Welcome to the Family,” or “Beast and the Harlot,” but with such a stacked catalog it must be getting tough to craft a setlist. Plus, hopefully, there’s always next time.

Don’t get it twisted, highlights like “Nightmare,” “Bat Country,” “Unholy Confessions,” and others were fuckin’ killer and still hit like a ton of bricks.

They wrapped things up with “A Little Piece of Heaven.” Returning for the encore, they took the opportunity to roll through three more new songs – “G,” “(O)rdinary,” and “(D)eath” all strung together just as they were recorded. It did make for a pretty cool sequence. It wasn’t how most envisioned an Avenged Sevenfold show ending, but you have to admire their commitment to this new record.

Avenged Sevenfold live 2023 [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Avenged Sevenfold [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Avenged Sevenfold’s new album cycle seems to be a bit of a St. Anger moment. When Metallica dropped that album, it was widely panned by fans and critics alike for detouring too far from the band’s classic sound. However, a lot of fans found something to love about it, because of their love for Metallica. The same can be said for Life Is But a Dream. Hell, on a recent episode of the Let There Be Talk Podcast, Shadows himself said, “It’s ok to hate this record.” What’s not ok, though, is hating Avenged Sevenfold for experimenting and giving themselves some space to grow. For whatever reason, this is the album they needed to make, not Nightmare II. If anything, the marketing rollout for this campaign was one of the best we’ve seen in a long time.

We’ll see what happens once LIBAD has some more time to marinade. For now, we can all just enjoy the fact that Avenged Sevenfold are back in our lives. We still love you, A7X.

Avenged Sevenfold setlist Camden New Jersey 2023 tour

The post Avenged Sevenfold Usher In a New Era in New Jersey at Tour Kick-Off first appeared on The Rock Revival.

The post Avenged Sevenfold Usher In a New Era in New Jersey at Tour Kick-Off appeared first on The Rock Revival.