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Life Is but a Dream, or is it really a Nightmare?  You be the judge.

To be honest, I have not been a lifelong Avenged Sevenfold fan. I was introduced to them back in 2013 by my friend Tony who nothing but raved about the band, their unique sound and their impressive musicianship.  Since then, I’ve really fallen in love with the band and their impressive catalog dating back to their Huntington Beach origins in 1999.

Life Is but a Dream is Avenged Sevenfold’ s 8th studio album and was recently released on June 2nd, 2023.  I was exposed to the album’s initial single “Nobody” in mid-March and quite frankly was unimpressed after taking it for an initial spin.  While it had many of the fundamental A7X features I would come to expect, it fell short of my initial expectations as a follow up to 2016’s The Stage.  The follow up single, “We Love You” didn’t fare much better to be honest.  I felt the track jumped all over the musical spectrum with roads leading seemingly to nowhere.   

So when Life Is but a Dream was finally released on June 2nd, I wanted to give the entire album a fair an honest review, not influenced by mainstream publications who either loved it or hated it upon first listen.  Driving to work, I dropped the needle on “Game Over” and honestly thought that it might just be that for Avenged Sevenfold.  Continuing on cruise control through the instrumental, “Life Is but a Dream”, the album didn’t seem to get much better and instead got a lot more chaotic, confusing the Avenged traditionalist in me.  After the initial once over, I asked myself, “What the heck are these guys thinking?”

So now what?  Do I shit-can the album in its entirety or give it another run through, hoping to somehow find something positive in what initially I felt was 11-tracks of pure garbage?  Well, I chose the latter, and after a few more uninterrupted spins, may have figured out (at least for me) what this album is really all about.  What it is not is your traditional A7X release.  To take it a step further, it’s not even a traditional rock or metal release.  Instead, it came across to me as 53 minutes of a mind-altering dream that bounced around in my head like a ping-pong ball looking for a way to escape the madness from within.

For most, the challenge for Life Is but a Dream will be that there is no consistency to the album upon first listen.  Fans will definitely hear the underpinnings of traditional Avenged Sevenfold throughout the album.  However, it hops back and forth in a beautifully chaotic way across many genres that initially confuse but ultimately provide clarity when the dust finally settles. Yes, it takes some time to get there, but the journey is worth it if you take the time and open your mind just a little bit.

A few call out’s I’d be remiss not to mention after becoming fully immersed in Life Is but a Dream…

  • Call it what you will, but top-to-bottom musicianship of M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, Synyster Gates, Johnny Christ, and Brooks Wackerman is second to none.  They are collectively brilliant.
  • Growing up in San Bernardino, I have to give a nod to the San Bernardino Symphony.   Amazing work from an amazing group of folks.
  • It was awesome to see the late Jimmy Sullivan honored on this album with his obvious contributions on “Mattel” and “Beautiful Morning”.  The Rev’s memory lives on!
  • Brooks Wackerman joining A7X in 2015 was literally the perfect fit for what was to come.  He is an incredibly technical drummer that stands among the giants in the industry.


Bottom line,  Avenged Sevenfold’ s Life Is but a Dream ended up being a dream come true for me by all accounts.  For new and old fans alike, this new music is definitely a departure from the norm but a welcome one in a world filled with cookie cutter sounds that fail to inspire or engage.  In order to get it, one has to have an open mind, a willingness to listen to new things, and have some patience in their process. Trust me, it all makes sense if you give it some time.  The album may not be for everyone, but it ended up being an instant classic for me. 

I’d give Life Is but a Dream 9 out of 10 stars and is 100% Hunnypot approved!


Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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