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Avenged Sevenfold

Rialto Theatre, Thursday, Dec. 6

All day last Thursday, I had a bad taste in my mouth. The thought of subjecting myself to the trendy, mall-core pop-metal of Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) made me sick

By the time A7X ended their 70-minute set, all of my preconceived notions had disappeared.

"How the fuck we doin' tonight, Tucson?" screamed lead vocalist M. Shadows once the band took the stage, before opening with "Critical Acclaim," from their new, self-titled release.

"It's a motherfucking heavy-metal party in Tucson tonight," commented Shadows prior to playing "Remenissions," which guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance kicked off with a dual guitar solo. The song also featured multiple transitions of heavy, crunching riffs to melodic harmonies.

Despite being crammed, the crowd managed to make room to mosh during one of A7X's commercial hits, "Beast and the Harlot." While the crowd loudly sang every word to the song, Gates performed a virtuoso guitar solo with his fingers flying like the Eddie Van Halen of old.

"I want to see what the fuck you got down there, Tucson," screamed Shadows before "Burn It Down." The crowd showed the band what they had by headbanging frantically to the midtempo heavy jam of the song.

Prior to performing "Afterlife," the band took a moment to thank the crowd for letting the band evolve over the years from album to album.

During one of the group's current singles, "Scream," Shadows looked over the crowd and commented that "Tucson likes to groove." The group's breakthrough hit, "Bat Country," once again sent the crowd into a frenzy of moshing and singing.

Prior to kicking off their encore with "Seize the Day," Shadows mentioned how happy he was to be back on the West Coast and how the band was craving In-N-Out Burger.

The night came to an end with "Unholy Confessions," which featured a mix of thrash metal and some hard-core grooves. Drummer The Reverend even did his best Tommy Lee impression, twirling his drum sticks between drum hits. Even after the house lights came on, the band remained onstage to acknowledge and thank the crowd.

Despite the band's youthfulness, A7X has a mature sound that merges Social Distortion, Metallica and Pantera with a modern twist. Who knew people from Orange County could be so humble and (slightly) hard-core?

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