They Say :- In Waves is the hugely anticipated fifth album from metal juggernauts Trivium. Produced and mixed by the legendary Colin Richardson (Slipknot/Sepultura/Machine Head) it’s a whirlwind of massive, crunching breakdowns, ferocious riffs and soaring melodies and showcases new drumming powerhouse Nick Augusto for the first time. Incorporating the best bits of the Floridian metal titan’s previous albums, singer Matthew K Heafy states “we’ve finally made the record that we’ve always strived to make.”
Since Trivium exploded onto the scene with 2005’s UK Gold selling Ascendency, winning Kerrang! magazine’s Best International New Artist Award, the band have toured the world over multiple times, headlining shows and playing with metal royalty in the shape of Metallica, Slipknot and Heaven & Hell amongst many others.
We Say :- Trivium are one of those bands who stand accused of that most heinous of musical crimes, being popular. Now I must admit that the sheer scale of their appeal has often been lost on me, always seemed to be just a little “metal by numbers” for my tastes. All of the elements were there but not much in the way of soul. Now for me 2008’s Shogun was a step in the right direction, showing a band who were growing in belief, and also showing definite signs that true metal superstardom was within reach..
It’s taken 3 years to release the follow up, and this could be described as make or break. Would they continue the evolution that had shown up so clearly in Shogun, or would they follow the somewhat predictable path followed by many of their contemporaries ??
OK, so the album may open predictably enough, you know the score. Military type drumbeats underlying a slow burning, atmospheric build up. It’s really well done actually, not the usual cliched attempt to make the jump to the inevitable metalcore sceamey stuff an abrupt one, instead acclimatising you to it more gently. Once things kick off properly it immediately strikes you that this isn’t really trying to be a progression from their last effort, it’s a quite different beast. There is a much simpler feel to everything and I think it is a much better album for it as, instead of showcasing their (not inconsiderable) talents in sweeping epics, the band appear to have focused on writing short, sharp songs with impressive melodies, great riffs and killer hooks. You just get the feeling that this is going to be massively popular across a wide swathe of the metal spectrum, and the men with beards will largely hate it which is always a bonus.
Now as regular CackBlabbath readers (both of them) will know I’m not usually a huge fan of the sing / scream vocal approach. This is usually down to the fact that one or other of the vocal styles is usually less well delivered than the other, or the balance between the two is all wrong, or the band are just doing it cos it’s fashionable, but I have to say that here Trivium have got it pretty much spot on. Neither of the vocal deliveries go too far into overdrive and the mix of the two is spot on. A place for everything and everything in it’s place, so to speak.
As I mentioned, it’s the fact that the band have deliberately not overcomplicated things that makes this album work so well. Tracks like Dusk Dismantled are just well written, crushingly heavy, straight up metal songs without all the extra bells and widdly bits that less confident bands like to put in to show off how technically proficient they are. Although Trivium can clearly play a bit this not a technical exercise, it’s just a damn good metal song (also has a killer solo, go check it out).
Although there are tracks on here that are pretty samey, there is enough variety to stop things getting dull or predictable and enough stand out moments for us to let them off.
The inevitable slower number is often where things start to come unpicked as they reveal a band hiding behind big riffs and angry screams to mask there deficiencies, but there is none of that here. Of All These Yesterdays works really well with an emotive slow burning start leading you into an arena-huge crescendo. It’s always difficult to predict where the next festival-headline-big band are going to come from, but Trivium are definitely heading in that direction..
Simply put, I think this is the best thing Trivium have done to date. It may not be exactly the album that we were expecting but I think it’s going to keep the band’s existing fans very happy and hopefully generate them a whole legion of new ones.