14 October 2013
Of the big four metal bands of the modern era (Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, Five Finger Death Punch, and Trivium) it is Trivium who are the most worthy. They don’t have the cheesy emptiness of the Welshmen, they’ve stopped ripping off Metallica quite as blatantly as Avenged Sevenfold are doing now and they’re not political knuckle-draggers like Five Finger Death Punch.
Basically, as fashionable as it is to suggest that none of them are metal enough to be spoken of in the same breath as the likes of Metallica and Pantera, Trivium, by simply being a bunch of metallers playing metal for metallers, have got the least to dislike about them. By a long way.
Vengeance Falls is Trivium’s sixth album and they’ve got Disturbed/Device frontman, David Draiman in to produce it. It’s curious because in the UK, he’s something of a figure of fun. As excellent a singer and heavy metal frontman he is, Disturbed’s over-bearing metalness never fully translated to these shores. In the US, broadly speaking, the millions and millions of records he’s sold over his career speak louder. It was only after hearing Trivium’s last album, In Waves that he decided he would work with the band.
Opening with the frantic, swinging riffs of ‘Braving The Storm’ is a bold move. It’s not particularly heavy but that’s a theme that runs through the album. Matt Heafy’s death metal vocals are put almost entirely onto the backburner here as Trivium favour greater melody over all else, the grizzly vocals are saved for the breakdowns. Fear not, however, for the riffs are still here in abundance and there’s loads to sing along to and who doesn’t like singing?
We heard the title track at Draiman’s house earlier this year, of course, and it is as unconventional and thrashy as it sounded on the first listen. There are interesting rhythms and Heafy’s vocals have clearly received a lot of attention as it fits in amongst all the groove. Yes, there are a couple of moments where he sounds a bit like Draiman. Remember: a lot of people really like that. A lot.
Then comes lead single, ‘Strife’ and you can and almost certainly already have made up your own mind about that but you should know that, allowing for the LA 80s metal vibes, it’s got one of the finest choruses of the year. Coming straight after is ‘No Way To Heal’ which is rather reminiscent of old Trivium and explodes into a thoroughly massive chorus. Win, as they say.
Watch the video to ‘Strife’ by Trivium:
The brooding ‘Villainy Thrives’ also brings that 80s metal feel in to complement the trademark pounding Trivium rhythms. (Trithms? Trivms?) What’s definitely true is that most songs might start off with a massively enthusiastic riff but will descend into something much more radio-friendly.
If some songs sound slower and more mid-tempo, it’s because they’re aiming at playing these songs at venues bigger than the shitholes you want to keep them in. They want to play their music to tens of thousands of people. You need slower songs for bigger rooms because it takes longer for the music to bounce around and off the walls. It’s science – physics or whatever. Look it up. David Draiman knows exactly what he’s doing in this regard and so the big, fat choruses that Trivium have sewn into their thrash and death-oriented metal are brilliantly executed.
If you really want to hate every big, new metal band, there’s nothing anybody can do to change that, but if you want to love just one of them; if there’s just that last smidgeon of hope left for the future of heavy metal, Trivium are here with Vengeance Falls. They’ve moved outside of their comfort zone and have produced an album that might be their most well-rounded to date. Listen to it and then headbang at one of their shows whilst disregarding all their fans around you that you deem not metal enough. Simple.
Sounds Like: the least annoying massive metal band around
Standout Tracks: Villainy Thrives, Strife, No Way To Heal