Avenged Sevenfold Close out Pennsylvania's Musik Fest with a Bang
August 14, 2013
By: Nicole McKay
Avenged Sevenfold made their highly anticipated return recently with a brand new single, the title track off of their upcoming album Hail to the King. The California metal giants are back out on the road in support of the August 23rd release, and we were there to check out the band when they stopped at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania's Musik Fest to close out the week long festival alongside Fight or Flight and Mindset Evolution.
Mindset Evolution kicked off the evening early with a short but sweet set filled with tracks off of their upcoming debut Brave, Bold, and Broken. Having seen these guys quite a bit recently, it was no surprise that they did a killer job of warming the crowd up for the band's to follow. "Sing" and "Burn It Down" had everyone moving along with the band's blend of aggressive and melodic sound.
Fight or Flight were up next to give Musik Fest their first taste of the band's live show, featuring members of Disturbed and Evans Blue. Playing through most of their debut release A Life By Design?. Powerful vocals from Dan Chandler and energetic riffs from Dan Donegan on their first single "First of the Last" had transformed the entire audience into fans of the new band by the time they left the stage to let Avenged Sevenfold close out the night.
The instant the lights dimmed and the intro music started blasting the eager Bethlehem crowd erupted. Anticipation rose as we waited for the band to take the stage, with new drummer Arin Llejay taking the stage first, followed by guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates, bassist Johnny Christ, and front man M. Shadows.
Backed by an enormous deathbat and scorching pyro, they wasted no time jumping right into things, kicking off their set with "Critical Acclaim," "Beast and the Harlot," and "Welcome to the Family". Flames and fireballs shot out from the wings of the deathbat while the band delivered crushing riffs and intense vocals. M. Shadows didn't let fans off the hook at the entirely seated pavilion, asking the crowd if they still thought they were at the previous night's Ke$ha show and making sure everyone figured out a way to mosh and crowd surf despite the chairs.
Fans sang along to "Almost Easy" and "Nightmare," their loud voices audible no matter how loud the metal got. Hauntingly beautiful switched up the tone of the night for a few minutes as Avenged began "Fiction," drawing out massively loud chants of "Jimmy! Jimmy!" in memory of the band's late drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan. Backed by The Rev's vocals, the lighter track sent a chill down my spine.
Things kicked into full power once again for "Nightmare". Fans truly lost it on this one, shouting along on the aggressive verses and of course head-banging along to Synyster Gates' mind blowing guitar solo. Next up came new song "Hail to the King", which sounded even better live than recorded. "Chapter Four" marked the end of the band's set, who returned a few moments later to finish the night with a band on their two song encore. I thought the night was over when they finished up "Bat Country", but they closed up with older track "Unholy Confessions", an unexpected and welcome surprise.
Fireworks shot into the air at the end of their awesomely theatrical set, and at just 10pm, it was time to say goodbye to Musik Fest until next year with the festival's own amazing fireworks display