Release Date: Aug 9, 2011
Record label: Roadrunner Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
By and large, the heavy metal community can be counted on to listen with open ears and form individual, unbiased opinions, but some prejudices still run deep, and the members of Trivium have been on the receiving end of several of these throughout their career. Cursed by their own precociousness, musical malleability and, most problematic, their earnest ambition and self-confidence, the quartet has quite simply been blacklisted by a considerable swathe of listeners, led by self-appointed officers of the heavy metal poseur police, and helped none by their contract with leading heavy metal label Roadrunner, whose very success can ironically become an albatross around its bands' necks. As a result, Trivium have been dodging verbal barbs and metaphoric flying tomatoes ever since the modern melodic thrash of sophomore album Ascendancy (their first for Roadrunner, coincidentally), landed them on magazine covers and on stages with Metallica, who they proceeded to inadvisably clone on hit-and-miss third opus, The Crusade, before delivering a more brutal and technical sound on fourth album Shogun.
The fifth album from Floridian quartet Trivium finds the band returning to the more metalcore, less straight-up thrash, direction of 2005’s Ascendancy, while exploring new directions. Standout tracks “Watch the World Burn” and “Caustic Are the Ties That Bind” echo the catchy choruses and blistering riffs that have first made the band popular; lead single, “In Waves,” meanwhile, suggests Fear Factory with its scathing title refrain. Unfortunately, many of the other songs sound too similar and simply blend together, and the frequent layering of melodic singing over blast-beat drumming sounds out of place.
Knowing Trivium’s backstory, it’s easy to see why there have been great expectations put upon the Floridian metallers since they first emerged in 2003. Frontman Matt Heafy was a 17-year-old wunderkind when debut Ember to Inferno was written and recorded, and he still couldn’t drink legally when the band released what’s generally considered its best outing yet, 2005’s Ascendancy. During those years, Trivium stood willing to take on the seemingly insurmountable task of knocking Metallica from its monolithic throne, a feat that more than a few staunch fans believe was actually achieved.
In the past, Trivium has been accused of many things. Most notably, the band’s affinity for the heavy metal stylings of Metallica was frequently pointed out, especially on records like The Crusade and Ascendancy. With 2008’s Shogun and now with their latest, In Waves, the band seems to be moving past the thrashier elements of their early records.
It's never a great sign when the most interesting composition on an album is a spooky piano intro – and so it is with Trivium's fifth release. For the odd moment, you want to give the Floridian metallers the benefit of the doubt when they try to spice up the dynamics with the occasional blast beat, as in the Inception of the End, or in Dusk Dismantled, when they rip out some straight-up black/death metal. But then before you know it, you're back in the clutches of the kind of heavy-rotation schlock that clogs up the darker reaches of rock music cable channels, with its staccato non-riffs and alternating screamed and sung vocals (sometimes – shudder – Auto-Tuned).
Floridian metallers attempt to regain lost ground on fifth album. Ian Winwood 2011 In the past, Trivium were seen as being the future. On a freezing day at the 2005 Download Festival at Donington Park, thousands upon thousands of metalheads could be seen sprinting their way across uneven ground in order to watch the Orlando quartet’s early afternoon set.