By the time Floridian thrashers Trivium released their second album, Ascendancy (Roadrunner Records) in 2005, the band were locked firmly into an upward trajectory which promised nothing short of global domination. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out as planned but the four-piece still remain one of the most successful metal acts around today despite having to constantly push against an unrelenting tide of haters who decided sometime during the mid-late ’00s that Trivium just weren’t metal enough any more or something.
Trivium, featuring Matt Heafy [vocals, guitar], Corey Beaulieu [guitar], Paolo Gregoletto [bass], and Alex Bent [drums] — will release their ninth full length, What The Dead Men Say (read our review here), through Roadrunner Records this Friday, April 24. The album, which was produced by Trivium and Josh Wilbur, is available for pre-order at the links below. The band just dropped a new single ‘Bleed Into Me.’ Listen below! Trivium is embarking on a series of release week events. On the actual Friday, April 24 release date, Heafy will do a full album playthrough on his massively popular Twitch channel at 3pm ET / 8pm BST. The band also announced these release week activities:Continue reading
There’s a different feeling about a Trivium show these days. Packed to the rafters with a second generation of fans picked up since their refinement and reinvention on In Waves and the successful follow-ups Vengeance Falls and latest opus Silence In The Snow (all Roadrunner), the Floridian thrashers seem very comfortable in their skin. And with good reason, as since entering the second phase of their evolution they have found themselves, no longer chasing the ephemeral but secure with their sound and who they are.
And it is with this calm confidence and assurance that Matt Heafy addresses the throng, self-deprecating tongue never far from cheek. He gently chides the crowd for being passive between songs despite their enthusiasm during tracks, indulges in classic metal encouragement getting everyone to “sing the guitar part, like Iron Maiden” on a flawless ‘Strife’ (and everyone does), addresses theSpinal Tap-esque number of drummers they go through and mocks his own appearance around the Shogun era.
A secure leader, equally his vocals have never sounder better, as he delivers note perfect cleans across the board, while still dipping into some welcome aggressive harsher tones on the older material. Corey Beaulieu is clearly enjoying connecting with a happy crowd while ripping out a slew of metal hits,Paolo Gregoletto is a head-bobbing pocket-dynamo, chipping in with some great harmonies and a ruthless pounding undertone, and new sticksman Paul “Wanky” Wandtke brings the beat, looking every inch a Steel Panther, adding showmanship, power and humour from behind the kit.
And it’s the set that makes you realize just how many great tunes Trivium have under their belt at this stage of their career. Whether it’s the more vocal-led ‘Silence In The Snow’, or the machine gun ‘Rain’, the, um, anthemic ‘Anthem (We Are The Fire)’ or the mix of it all in mid-set highlights ‘Through Blood And Dirt And Bone’ and ‘Ghost That’s Haunting You’, they’ve now reached a consistent, slick and career-high level of performance in the live arena. Flanked by huge white skulls with glowing laser eyes, by embracing their classic heavy metal roots, by the time a bowel-punching ‘In Waves’, complete with every voice bellowing the title closes things up, Trivium have calmly proven they are what we always thought they’d be; an excellent heavy metal band.
Their supports are still in the process of finding their places in the world, with Jamie Graham clearly hungry to bully and cajole every youthful face in the venue to join their cause. Backed by mammoth slabs of head-punching excellence, like ‘Hollow’, ‘Turmoil I’ and ‘Turmoil II’, it’s a successful venture as Heart of a Coward prove last year’s stunning Deliverance (Century Media) belongs in larger venues. Meanwhile, As Lions deliver plenty of promise in an engaging and triumphant opener slot that sees a band with only one song in the public domain convert new recruits by their hundreds; Austin Dickinson a strong presence with a versatile and dominant voice backed by hooks, riffs and people waiting to lap them up.
The next time each and every one of these three bands heads anywhere near you, do yourself a favour and indulge in their quality live fare, you won’t be disappointed.
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There aren’t many bands to achieve the success levels that Trivium have that have to subsequently prove themselves over with each album. While the shadow of the decade old Ascendancy (Roadrunner) continues to loom over their career, that familiar feeling of deja-vu pervades as the Floridians unveil their seventh album, Silence In The Snow (also Roadrunner), once again to a backdrop of doubters and people gleefully awaiting a failure to show their mettle.
There is often negativity and scepticism attached to bands changing their style, but Trivium’s new music sounds more sophisticated and almost effortless. The introductory track ‘Snofall’, delicately crafted by Ihsahn to reflect the melodies of the upcoming title track, is dark and haunting; intriguing the listener, yet not giving away exactly what direction Trivium are going to take with their new sound, and the beautiful melodies are able to reinforce the themes of loneliness and of course… snow. The snow theme seems to have put off a lot of people, as if snow is only related to Frozen or Christmas. Although it may make a good Christmas present, this album is anything but tacky…
Title track ‘Silence In The Snow’ had its live debut earlier this year on the bands’ summer shows and since then it has been frequently gracing the airwaves and segues from the introduction before duplicating the same chaos as ‘In Waves’ with its melodic stomp. ‘Blind Leading The Blind’ is one of the strongest songs on the album and the guitar work is extremely effective: the simplistic riffs contrast well with the technical guitar solos.
‘Until The World Goes Cold’ opens with a haunting guitar riff, and progresses into a slow yet bass-heavy song. There are no fast-paced or shredding guitars, as the track shows Trivium’s softer side. Matt Heafy’s clean vocals are stronger than ever, and there is more of a focus on the lyrical content, with the heavy vocals of previous albums left by the wayside; exploring themes of legacy and fading away in ‘Dead And Gone’, singing “I feel I will die a forgotten man, just a number.”
Trivium have been criticised in the past for trying too hard to create music that they think everyone will like, however, Silence In The Snow should change perceptions and sets up a future direction. With less of a focus on trying to be the heaviest, it is much easier to enjoy their sound for what it really is: decent metal music which does not need harsh vocals.
Heafy’s improved vocals are the focus throughout, a path which is a continuation of the route travelled on Vengeance Falls (Roadrunner), so if you are looking for an extremely heavy album then you will be disappointed. Allow yourself to enjoy the increased emphasis on song-writing and melodic refrains, however, and Silence In The Snow will resonate with you.
With new album Vengeance Falls scaling charts around the world, Ghost Cult caught up with Trivium bassist Paolo Gregoletto to hear all about the band’s sixth, and definitive, opus. They also chatted about writing and recording, touring Europe, recording with David Draiman, and comparisons to Metallica.
Being a fan of the band, it’s interesting to see how Vengeance Falls fits into the overall journey. Ascendancy established the core sound, The Crusade added Classic Metal, Shogun was dark and heavy, then In Waves and now Vengeance Falls follow a more linear path from each other, being more melodic, more straightforward “Trivium” albums. Was this a conscious decision?
Since the beginning it’s just been let’s get together, write riffs and get the music together, but never to a set plan. This time around we really wanted to have a clear vision well before going in. Every day on tour and during writing we were talking about what we wanted to get out of this record; who we are, what we stand for, and all the things we’ve done previously, what we loved about each of the records, what we could have done better, and what “Album 6”, this far into our career, should be. So, (this time) we wrote towards a specific goal.
You worked with David Draiman (from Disturbed, who produced the album), a decision which caused a “mixed reaction” online, to say the least. Were you aware of the controversy around it, and did you approach working with him with any caution because of that?
When David first approached us, we were really surprised. We didn’t know he wanted to produce us, or even that he produced other bands. When we decided to work with him, we knew that there’d be a stronger reaction than any other time because no other producer we’ve worked with has been in a multi-platinum band, so, yes, we knew there was going to be a reaction, good and bad. When we showed him the demos, and talked to him, and saw the excitement from him to want to work with us and the ideas he had, we all agreed that the music would speak for itself.
We’ve always been a band that has done unexpected things here and there, and this album is one of those moments. I feel you can’t make something unique and exciting if you don’t try to get out of your comfort zone. People will say what they want before they hear it, we just had to make sure we produced what we were talking about from our first meeting, then that would say everything for us. We all feel very confident we achieved what we were talking about in the beginning.
I’m not just pleased with what came out, I’m totally blown away with it.
There is a much greater emphasis on the vocals than any previous album and the comparison that sprang to mind is Bob Rock working with James Hetfield on the ‘Black’ album…
Definitely. This is the album where Matt (Heafy, vocals/guitars) fully comes out as “The Vocalist”. Before, Matt would write as a guitarist first. When you play an instrument and you sing, I think you can use the instrument before thinking about the vocal stuff, and this time he turned that around and the vocals were a big focus. ‘In Waves’ was the start of that, but this time Matt really stepped up to the challenge of taking the lead of a song. Of any record we’ve done, this is one where the vocals are the dominant feature. There’s still the riffs and the technicality we do, but the vocals are in your face. When people hear it for the first time, they’re not expecting the vocals to be so powerful and upfront.
It’s all about the balance. We love our extreme side as much as any of our fans, but we love the melodic side, and all our influences are so varied from very, very extreme metal to very melodic metal, and everything in between. For us, it’s now not about trying to throw everything and a kitchen sink, but finding what works best for the song. Basing a song around him, the vocals sometimes being the key feature, was something that all of us had to learn how to do. But in the end, by doing that we were able to craft the songs into something much, much bigger than when we started demoing them.
The last two tracks take a different approach, and really stand out with a darker, more expansive approach, and two of the best tracks you’ve done to date. Is this a hint at a future direction for Trivium, or just something in line with the dynamics and pacing of the album?
‘Wake…’ was definitely always the one we had in mind for closing the album, for sure. When Incineration came around, that was another we felt could be a potential closer, but then when all was said and done, they fit very well together, the music, the lyrics. They’re definitely the more progressive songs on the album, and we wanted to end it on that note. The beginning, it’s more to the point, the singles, and the more up-tempo stuff, whereas those 2 songs definitely fit together well at the end.
You’re a very highly regarded bass player, with your own BC Rich Bass Guitar range (and VERY nice basses they are too!). How does it feel to be so well thought of in your field as a musician and a technician, a field with a lot of competition?
That’s something I would never have thought of starting out, being recognized for that. The fans getting the band to a certain popularity definitely got me recognized, but I think as each album has gone on I’ve focused on making sure the bass playing is living up to what people want to hear from me, and in the live sense always pushing to perfect my sound and my playing. Bass playing isn’t the thing that gets noticed by the average fan as much, but the people that do hone in on that, it’s nice to be recognised by them. When people say “Aw, man, the bass player’s awesome”, it’s not something you hear for every rock or metal band, and I really appreciate it! And the people I look up to are the larger than life presences in bands, like Steve Harris or Cliff Burton. Even Jason Newsted… just look at his presence in the band… Things like that I’ve tried to emulate myself, but do my own thing, but find my own spot both in the band and in heavy metal bass playing in general.
You’ve just announced UK tour with Killswitch Engage for February 2014, another band who has released a very strongalbum this year. You must be excited about that, and touring again?
We tried to make it a whole Europe thing, but schedule wise it just didn’t work out, unfortunately, so it’s just in the UK, but I’m really, really excited about it. Killswitch Engage are easily one of the best modern-day metal bands and we’ve been friends for a long time. I’m really excited we can make a tour like that happen. I think for fans, and for people that want to go to shows, it’s tough to go see every band you want, and when 2 bands can just get together and make it happen, that’s great, and I’m really excited Killswitch and us can do this.
As a band, you’ve made no secret of your desire to be as big a band as possible, to try to reach Metallica-like status. Is ‘Vengeance Falls’ the album to push you to the next level?
So far, so good with ‘Vengeance Falls’, we’re very happy with it, with how it sounds, the songs we chose, the order we chose. We had a lot of time to really think about it, and we wanted to make everything from the music to the artwork really solid and I’m glad we had that time to make it happen.
The desire of this band has always been to push it to be as big as it can be. In the beginning we just got out there and toured and we realized you have to make those things happen. Make quality music, do quality tours and the rest is up to people taking to it. When we went in to make ‘Vengeance…’ the only thing for us was making a quality record. Whether it’s the album that gets us to that level, I don’t know, but we put everything into it to make it the best it could be, and if it’s the right record at the right time, then maybe…
I definitely feel this is one of our strongest albums, for sure.
So, will you be recording a Metallica covers album to get to number 1?
(Laughs) Err, no comment on that one!
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