Manchester Phones 4U Arena
added: 3 Dec 2013
// gig date: 30 Nov 2013
reviewer: Ella Murphy
Rocketing straight to No. 1 in the UK album charts this year with Hail To The King and following a three year absence, expectations couldn’t have been much higher for American future legends Avenged Sevenfold.
A lot has happened since the release of Nightmare back in 2010; the tragic loss of Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan just prior to its release took its toll on the band. Returning with only three dates in the UK and an impending headline slot on the opening day of Download Festival 2014, Manchester Phones 4U Arena held the honour of being their host on Saturday.
With support band Device bowing out of the tour due to vocalist David Draiman understandably wanting to spend time with his new-born son and family, Swedish metal band Avatar were always in for a bumpy ride. Regardless, the clown-faced lead singer stomped on stage whilst wielding a cane to the crashes of songs that sounded like an amalgamation of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Rammstein. After a few technical difficulties the band battled to the end of their set, and though some found the spectacle bizarre the band undoubtedly recruited a number of new fans with their efforts.
But this was merely the calm before the storm…
Greeted by their ritual chant from devoted fans, Californian quintet Five Finger Death Punch took to the stage and it soon became clear that they are force to be reckoned with. Led by the most charismatic frontman at the moment, Ivan Moody, the band broke straight into Under And Over It. With open water bottles being launched into the crowd and guitar picks being thrown left, right and centre, spirits remained high until they were peeled away from the stage which they easily could have headlined.
Wasting no time, Avenged Sevenfold succeeded with a bang (literally). It appeared they hadn’t forgotten to pack their colossal deathbat décor nor their impressive pyro techniques which were set to explode in sync with songs. From as soon as Synyster Gates played the first chords of Shepherd Of Fire the crowd erupted and set the tone for the night and though the show had not sold out there was not a single available seat in clear sight.
Despite blistering through tracks such as Bat Country, Critical Acclaim and Nightmare, the band had missed several of their greatest hits in place of newer material, showcasing the extremity and success of their extensive back catalogue.
But it wasn’t all just chaotic mosh pits and vigorous fist pumping. A poignant tribute to fallen drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan touched everyone, in the form of the haunting song Fiction, reflecting the sombre ache that still fills the bands hearts. Taking comfort in the idea that their friend was looking down on them, a spotlight was beamed down next to M. Shadows resulting in a majority of the audience unashamedly becoming emotional.
Effortlessly astounding the audience with the rest of the set, Avenged obliged to playing an encore of Unholy Confessions and Chapter Four; both of which are from their second studio album Waking The Fallen.
A stellar performance by the guys sets them in good stead for their debut as Download Festival Headliners and certainly dispels any of the sceptics’ comments of doubt. Avenged Sevenfold have been known to make bold statements about domination and carrying the flame for metal but with the direction they are heading in it seems that there’s nothing in their way.
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