30 September 2008
by Joel McIver
Thousands of metalheads despise the Florida quartet Trivium without, it seems, even hearing their music.
For the last few years they’ve been the butt of much criticism for sounding too much like Metallica, or for including too many hair-metal-style singalong choruses in their songs, or for being too pretty, or just for not being ‘troo’ and ‘kult’ enough.
There are elements of truth here – frontman Matt Heafy’s vocals have been very similar to James Hetfield’s at times – but it’s high time for the haters to get over themselves, as Trivium’s new album sounds like Trivium and no-one else.
Even if you don’t like Shogun – and it’s not a perfect album by any means, so a lot of people won’t – you’ll have to admit that they’ve found an original sound, composed of melodic choruses and fat, downtuned riffs, which is uniquely theirs.
The first song released from Shogun was ‘Kirisute Gomen’, a song which acknowledges Heafy’s Japanese background in its lyrics but which is all-American in its music, like it or not.
It’s probably the best song on the album along with ‘Insurrection’, both of which switch smoothly from a knowingly cheesy singalong chorus – which could have been designed for rock radio – to a fast, sub-thrash metal riff.
Watch an alternative, piss-taking video to ‘Pull Harder On The String Of Your Martyr’ by Trivium
Trivium never really enter extreme metal territory, with drummer Travis Smith sticking to on-beats rather than the full-throttle off-beat workout: in fact, it’s your duty to inform anybody foolish enough to think that Trivium play thrash to inform them of their mistake.
The usual dazzling solos, multilayered choruses and tempo changes are all over the remaining songs. Trivium obviously have tons of ideas: there are at least six different vocal styles, from death-grunt to midrange snarl to clean tenor, and the number of riffs per song is impressive.
The recipe gets a little old by the end of the album – pretentious songs like ‘Into The Mouth Of Hell We March’ (listen to that on their MySpace) and ‘Of Prometheus And The Crucifix’ could have been deleted and no-one would have complained – but if this is where Heafy et al are going, at least it’s a path that is theirs and no-one else’s.
Shogun by Trivium is released on 29 September 2008 on Roadrunner Records