Whilst the peak of metalcore crashed years ago, Avenged Sevenfold have arguably been the one band to keep the pace going and continue to headline festivals and arenas all over the world.
On a cold and blustery January evening, they ripped the roof off Birmingham’s Genting Arena. As part of their tour off the back of latest album The Stage, they were joined by fellow veterans Disturbed in an epic double headliner show.
Whilst we unfortunately missed Sweden’s In Flames, Disturbed did not disappoint. Backed by an incredible pyrotechnics show, their performance was astounding and devoted fans sang along en masse to the mixed set list spanning their career.
They were heavy and faultless but the main wow factor was Draiman’s voice. Adorned in floor length black coat and his signature lip piercings, he commanded the audience effortlessly as they followed every instruction to participate immediately.
There is no arguing that his voice is sublime, but their rendition of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Sound of Silence” gave everyone goose bumps as the whole arena held their phones and lighters above their heads and sang along.
“Ten Thousand Fists” saw the crowd throw their fists into the air as they sang along proudly before the song that everybody knows, whether you class yourself a Disturbed fan or not, signaled the end of their performance. The moment “Down With The Sickness” began, the cheers were deafening and again Draiman’s vocals soared to incredible heights. “Together my brothers and sisters, we are Disturbed!”
An amazing start to my Friday evening!
And so the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived. With Elton John’s “Rocket Man”, followed by David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” playing over the PA and huge astronauts adorning each side of the stage, the anticipation was clear.
Vocalist Matt “M” Shadows proudly promised us songs from their 16 year history and they didn’t disappoint. From “To End the Rapture” from 2001’s release of Sounding The Seventh Trumpet, to 2007’s “Afterlife”, to crowd favourite “Nightmare” from 2010, everything was covered. Informing us that “David said you’re the best crowd of the tour so far” ensured a huge scream from the audience as he went on to admit “It’s always good to play a show in the birthplace of heavy metal.”
Musically, the band were incredible with guitarist Synister Gates shining brightly as the star of the show as he thrilled with his fast paced shredding and intricate finger work that he somehow made look simple. An instrumental of “Warmness of the Soul” allowed Gates as well as Zacky Vengeance to really showcase their talents.
The visual aesthetics of the stage set-up were stunning, with an impressive light show and 3D effects transporting fans into space whilst a lucky few viewed the show from mini pits on either side of the stage.
They all made fantastic use of the runway, enjoying getting as close and personal to the fans as possible, somehow making the Genting feel quite intimate.
Their main set was completed by “Acid Rain” before their encore of my personal favourite “Bat Country”, “A Little Piece of Heaven” and “Unholy Confessions” brought their show to its crescendo.
A thundering show that has proven why they are still at the top of their game after nearly two decades and something I’d be more than happy to witness time and time again.
Photos by Amplified Gig Photography