ALBUM REVIEW: Trivium – What The Dead Men Say

There was a time when it looked like Trivium were going to be huge. Seriously huge. Arriving on the scene with two critically acclaimed albums, they rose fast, eventually exploding onto the international platform with a career-defining performance at Download Festival in 2005.

For a time, the world was theirs. You couldn’t move in venues for Trivium t-shirts, and whether you liked them or not, they just seemed to be everywhere. However, due to inconsistency and poorly received material, the Floridian metalcore act were never quite able to make that next step to world domination. No matter how hard they tried to push on, they found themselves falling behind to other, newer acts instead.

Sounding more relaxed than on some of their previous, somewhat try-hard efforts, latest album What the Dead Men Say (Roadrunner Records) probably won’t win them any more fans, but maybe it should. Vocalist Matt Heafy‘s vocals, whether clean or harsh, sound fantastic, and Corey Beaulieu is surely one of the most underrated guitarists out there at the moment, some of the solos on this release among the best of his career.

Opening with the neoclassical shades of intro ‘IX’, the title track takes over featuring Avenged Sevenfold style melodies and Gojira scrape effects before slamming face-first into a chuggy, staccato breakdown. This is followed by ‘Catastrophist’, which although enjoyable, does have the tendency to sound like the result of filling a washing machine with Black Veil Brides, Machine Head, Disturbed and Gojira, and setting it on spin.

‘Amongst the Shadows and the Stones’ begins as a throwback to their earlier days before switching between Lamb of God riffs and Jamey Jasta vocals, while ‘Bleed Into Me’ is a solid pseudo-power ballad led by Paulo Gregoletto‘s bass and some fine vocal work from Heafy. The uptempo gallop of ‘The Defiant’ contains a big Maiden influence among the roared vocals and thrashier sections, while ‘Sickness Unto You’ should appeal to fans of Killswitch Engage.

‘Scattering the Ashes’ goes down the Swedish melodeath road, with an approach similar to In Flames or Soilwork, combined with more Black Veil Brides. ‘Bending the Arc to Fear’ is fast-paced and thrashy with a nice breakdown and adept footwork by drummer Alex Bent, but the band arguably save the best for last with the quite superb closer, ‘The Ones We Leave Behind’.

As ever, Trivium sound as much like a combination of other bands than as a unique, individual entity, but with What the Dead Men Say, it’s clear the band are past caring what other people think and are now simply out to please themselves.

7 / 10

GARY ALCOCK