Photography + Review: Avenged Sevenfold

Posted: by The Editor

“There’s no way we booked a show on Easter Sunday…” quipped Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows to a fully packed crowd at Newark’s Prudential Center. Blasphemous? Maybe. 

Self assurance has defined Avenged Sevenfold’s winding history. Never afraid to push boundaries, the band has spent their 25-year career towing the line of what classifies as metal. 2023 album Life Is But A Dream is a nearly uncategorizable ride through an ambitious, Camus-inspired soundscape that makes for a mindblowing – bordering on confusing – first listen. Upon repeat spins, their masterful demolition of genre lines makes most other releases sound damned near dull in comparison. 

At their March 31st Newark, NJ show, controlled, confident, chaos defined an experimental night that proved the Orange County rockers have only become more cutting-edge with time.

Tour openers Sullivan King and Poppy set the stage for a riotous closing show of leg three of A7X’s “Life Is But A Dream Tour.” Less than a year after the band’s triumphant return to NYC for a sold-out Madison Square Garden show, the crowd was littered with merch from previous legs of the tour. Repeat tour attendees and dozens of deathbat tattoos only scratch the surface of their cult following’s loyalty. 

The haunting guitar plucks of Life Is But A Dream album and tour setlist opener “Game Over” quickly led into blistering guitar as a ski-masked M. Shadows took his place center stage in an office chair. Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance’s signature dueling guitar melodies carried a career-spanning setlist dotted with rarities that haven’t graced the stage in a decade or longer. B-sides can tow the line of losing the crowd, but the addition of City of Evil’s “Blinded In Chains” for the first time since 2006, the full 11 minutes of Nightmare’s “Save Me,” and new setlist closer “Cosmic” fit seamlessly. 

An air of effortlessness highlighted their 1.5 hour performance. Technically polished and beautifully produced, the guys’ energy feels brand new despite showcasing a level of skill exclusive to veterans. Fans in the nearly sold-out crowd buzzed excitedly while recapping the show to each other, affirming that the possibly accidental Easter show booking was well worth their time. 


Tiana Timmerberg