Over the past week there has been speculation as to when Avenged Sevenfold would release their new single. On October 13, with very little warning, fans got what they wanted.
Avenged Sevenfold’s “The Stage” is an 8:30 minute masterpiece with many political undertones. With one presidential candidate threatening nuclear war and the other being bought out banks,corporations,and releasing sensitive material, the somewhat harsh message of “The Stage” is something everyone needs to hear — and take seriously.
Disclaimer: Below is a summary and analysis of the music video for “The Stage”. If you don’t want anything spoiled you can watch the video at the end of the article.
The video opens on a carnival tent. As an audience of all ages begin to file into the tent and pay a mysterious man in the ticket booth, You see a small box with a marionette stage. The show is titled “Professor Batz ‘Fantastical History of the World’” with the tragedy theatre mask and other phrases surrounding the stage. The audience members seem intrigued but also confused about the performance they are there to see. Then, the show begins.
The puppet show opens up on a lone caveman. A little later another one appears.With both of them walking backwards they bump into each other. When they notice each other, they begin to fight and eventually one caveman slays the other. This first act of violence grabs the audience’s attention immediately.
The show moves on to Egypt where we see a Pharaoh-like figure ordering around a slave performing tasks of manual labor. Once the slave collapses, the Pharaoh continues to whip the slave while he lays defenseless on the ground. You can already see a trend where the acts of violence are becoming more and more inhumane. Next, we see a quick scene outside of a castle. Several invaders try to enter through the front gate and the castle’s watchmen laugh while they pour what seems to be something like hot tar on the invaders.
Next stop, Rome. The stage opens up on the Coliseum and we see some politician with his wife sitting in a booth. A gladiator brings in two men tied up to the center of the arena. The politician promptly raises his puppet arm, with the thumb pointed to the side. The audience sees this and responds by pointing their thumbs down. The politician points his thumb down as well, following the audience’s command, and out comes a lion who tears the men to pieces.
The next several show an attack and pillage by a group of vikings, Spanish Conquistadors killing off rebellious natives in South America, a burning of a supposed witch in a town similar to Salem, General Custard’s betrayal of the Native Americans, and lastly a volley of tank blasts and hidden soldiers during World War I.
As the smoke clears off the stage, we see a field of flowers surrounded collapsed buildings. A dove flies by and sits on a nearby branch, but as the guitar solo picks up it scurries away from incoming bomber planes and an advanced tank. The giant war machine travels across the stage billowing smoke and firing its cannon into the air. The smoke eventually fills the tent and the audience goes missing.
Once the smoke clears, the stage curtain reopens and the audience members are now the puppets. The camera pans up to see who pulls the strings of the puppets. Standing in a line are Kim Jung Un, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Vladamir Putin, and Xi Jingping pulling the strings. The most interesting part, however, is that these key politicians are also puppets attached to strings that are controlled by the body-less hands of death itself. The boney finger of death pressing down a red button and the screen seems to lose connection.
The last scene on stage shows the set used for the cavemen. The single caveman walks out to center stage but there is no one to be found. As the snow swirls around him the curtain closes and the lights go dim, ending the show.
This musical video is extremely topical with our current election. The message is clearly related to the evolution of war and how in the end it will kill us. First, look at the title itself. In the time we are in now, “The Stage” may reference the stage politicians and military commands take to spread propaganda and agenda. It certainly has a Lord of the Flies-esque feel to it.
In each scene, the method of kill becomes more and more gruesome than the last. Once the dove and poppies — flowers used to commemorate those who died in WWI — arrive, it seems that the kill has stopped. The return of the bombers represents that while we may reach peace, it’ll be short-lived. Once the most interesting aspect of this scene is the giant tank. All of the previous war machines were tethered to strings or were controlled by “man”, but not anymore. This master of death stands alone, showing how man no longer needs to kill because we have machines to do it for us.
Having the audience was turn into the puppets was a clear metaphor that we are all controlled by the will and words of the government, but having the government leaders being puppets as well just goes to show that everybody is controlled by someone else, and everyone has an agenda that they need pushed.
The ending of the video is the most important. As death fires of the nuclear warhead, a clearly inferred WWIII must have ensued. From that war we are all alone. In the nuclear winter that followed there are no living organisms left, because we killed them all. We are doomed to live alone until the curtain closes, signifying the end of life itself.
Whether you believe in the endgame of the video or not, it is scary how accurate it is. We as a community need to fix the hate, the prejudice, the war; and we need to fix it fast. If we don’t, we may be doomed to a pretty grim future consumed by the endless cycle of war.