In July 2005 the British music magazine, Kerrang was released with a small-time unknown Metalcore band from Orlando Florida on the front cover with the bold title: “Sabbath… Maiden… Metallica… TRIVIUM; the hottest band of the century.” Skip forward eight years and Matt Heafy, the frontman of Trivium, is giving a speech at the Rollans College in Winter Park, Florida and opens with this line: “I’m always asked if I could go back in time and change anything that had happened, what would that be and why? My answer is always, ‘I wouldn’t change anything.’ Failure teaches us, it shapes us, it tests us on our weakest and most vulnerable states. Only through struggle and failure can we overcome, dust ourselves off and begin back on our paths to greatness.” – Matt Heafy 2014
What happened between those 11 years, from being put up on a pedestal, having to achieve impossible goals for a band so young and receiving a mixture of love from fans and hatred from other people, is what makes the story of Trivium so interesting and what makes each new album worth checking out. This is a band we’ve watched grow as much as we’ve watched fail. Now we watch them become one of the biggest Metal acts in the world and watch them lose some of those fans and almost tear themselves apart.
No other major popular act apart from Trivium is unafraid to try something new and be fearless to hold dear what they’ve created and achieved with conviction even in the face of backlash.
Their last album, Silence in the Snow, was one with such backlash. After singer Matt Heafy blew his vocal chords, the band found themselves with a singer unable to scream, an element that many fans would argue is vital and something they find core to their concept of the sound of the band.
Since then, after much practice, Matt Heafy has returned to hurting his throat (quite literally we find out, if you watch the ‘Making of’ webisodes). Trivium is now realising its eighth album, 14 years onwards since their debut album Ember the Inferno in 2003.
So, with such a varied backlog and with such varied opinions from fans about when they stopped being a good band, Trivium fans argue about which albums are hit and which are miss. How does the new album fare?
Well… I think we’ve most definetly got a hit. The album kicks straight off the bat with the main single ‘The Sin and the Sentence,’ which has already been acclaimed by many Trivium fans worldwide as a grandiose return to form for the four-piece, with new drummer Alex Bent not only filling impressively difficult, and numerous shoes, but turning them into military grade combat boots and blast beating his way into fans appreciation with intensity.
One thing I personally found intresting diving into this album is the structure. Many of the songs are similiar in songwriting approach to Trivium’s last album Silence in the Snow, but unlike their earlier album, Trivium have no interest in holding back on heaviness when they can. However, in saying that, they also try to push into melody whenever they can, which makes me ponder if a lot of Trivium fans’ harsh response to Silence in the Snow was simply the lack of heaviness and screams. The song writing is similar, with big, bold chunky chord structures interlaced with lead chorus melodies and powerful seven-string chugging.
Despite being in the same vein as Silence in the Snow but re-done, this time with anger and intensity, I actually feel this might be the most unifying Trivium release since 2008’s Shogun. All the early Metalcore Trivium fans that got bored after Ascendancy should check out this album. All the more elaborate song structure lovers who cherish Shogun, check out this album. All the people who dug the in-your-face punchiness of In Waves or the anthemic Metal stylings of Vengeance Falls, check out this album. All those who love Silence in the Snow you should definately check out this album, because it’s been re-coloured and is ready to make you headbang even harder.
Standout tracks have to without a doubt, be given to ‘The Sin and the Sentence’ and ‘Betrayer,’ the latter of which I’m ready to call their best song in almost nine years. Some surprises on the album can be found in ‘Sever the Hand,’ which contains moments which could possibly be the heaviest sections of a song Trivium has ever realised (sorry to ‘Dusk Dismantled’). Yet it still manages to hold great melody and song structure. ‘Endless Night’ throws back to ‘In Waves” level of a hearty singalong.
‘The Revanchist’ near the end of the album has stuck with me after spam listening to this album the most though, being something very different then any previous Trivium song and yet still fitting perfectly into this album as a whole. Don’t expect not to have this haunting low sung chorus stuck in your head.
The re-recording of ‘The Wretchedness Inside,’ which was previously released as a demo in 2014, fits nicely into the album, having been drop tuned.
One interesting aspect of this album is how audibly and frequently the bass comes into front and centre to the listener. I’m unsure if bassist Paolo Gregoletto having a much bigger impact in the composition of the album is a major factor in the bass getting its moments to shine more then previous releases, but the bass tone that is used on the album is phenomenal.
Matt Heafy soars and screams all over this album. He switches between crushing screams and catchy melodies in choruses that you’ll catch yourself singing just minutes after listening to this album. The return of the screams are great and used incredibly appropriately.
In a strange way I have little to say about lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu. He has always been a standout and a jaw dropping lead guitarist providing tasty and impressive solos to this band, and nothing has changed here. When you do something extremely well constantly it becomes non-noteworthy, as we’re all expecting Beaulieu to rip your head off with a tasty lead riff about three minutes into the song, and on this album, like always, he never disappoints.
Trivium, although never being off the main stage, are a band that has stepped out of the glaring spotlight recently. They’ve spent the last few years in the back lines doing their parts and now they’ve drawn on their last 14 years of experience and moulded it into an album. They have taken one bold step back into the spotlight to punch you in the face with it, and they couldn’t receive a higher standing ovation if they tried.