It’s reductive to call this Avenged Sevenfold’s ‘on drugs’ album, but the chemical magic of the LSD in its veins is undeniable. Bonkers without boredom, manic without meandering, it’s an experience weirdly evocative of the wide-eyed, white-knuckled, ultimately euphoric thrill of dropping something ill-advised before wandering into the city lights, not knowing where you’re headed, what your face is doing or, indeed, which way is up.
The moments of real lucidity pop even harder for it, too. Alice In Chains-inflected highlight Beautiful Morning blindsides you, sandwiched between Rainbow-meets-Bowie space-rock epic Cosmic and openly Kanye-indebted funk-metal banger Easier. The three-song suite of G, (O)rdinary and (D)eath, meanwhile, reckons on big ideas – life, love, region and, once again, killer AI – while cramming in country, soul, disco, jazz and everything in-between.
If there’s a criticism to be levelled it’s that the closing title-track wrong-foots you ione last time, offering up understated, instrumental piano when it seemed like the album was heading for some gloriously over-the-top burnout. But the joy here is, ultimately, in the unexpected. And listeners can always just head back to the start to peel back the countless layers they didn’t even realise were there. A trip worth taking, over and over again.
For fans of: System Of A Down, Sigh, Metallica
Life Is But A Dream… is out on June 2 via Warner