Released yesterday in the US (and on a different date in 4 of the other countries in the world), Trivium have returned to the scene after almost 7 years of bursting into the forefront of mainstream Metal, and having lost some of their momentum in recent years.
Regular readers of Dose of Metal will know that I haven’t always been that kind to the band, but being honest, I actually consider Ascendency a damn good album. Overrated? Maybe, but a bad album it is far from being. As the band grew in popularity, however, that is when the band began to lose themselves. The Crusade was nothing but a straight ‘Tallica and Megadeth rip off, being nothing but a wank stain of a record. Then came Shogun, a massive improvement with some claiming it to be a return to form.
So, it’s 2011, Trivium are back with another album. Despite my rantings, I actually gave lead single ‘In Waves’ a positive review last week. Now it’s time to find out the verdict on the album, so make the jump.
Trivium – In Waves
1. Capsizing the Sea – 1:30
2. In Waves – 5:02
3. Inception of the End – 3:48
4. Dusk Dismantled – 3:47
5. Watch the World Burn – 4:53
6. Black – 3:27
7. A Skyline’s Severance – 4:52
8. Ensnare the Sun – 1:22
9. Built to Fall – 3:08
10. Caustic Are the Ties That Bind – 5:34
11. Forsake Not the Dream – 5:20
12. Drowning in Slow Motion – 4:29
13. A Grey So Dark – 2:41
14. Chaos Reigns – 4:07
15. Of All These Yesterdays – 4:21
16. Leaving This World Behind – 1:32
17. Shattering the Skies Above – 4:45
18. Slave New World” (Sepultura Cover) – 2:58
So let’s get the first thing out of the way. I live in the UK and possess the so called “special edition”. This is the version I will be reviewing and I believe in the USA, it is digital release only. Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of a couple of bonus tracks being added to the end of the album, the entire tracklisting is completely different and I’m too lazy to work out the standard song order for the review. Sue me (or in the case of most of the idiots in this country, beat me, steal my clothes and loot me. BTW, to all my females fans out there, don’t worry, I’m fine).
Fans of Shogun will straight away notice that the songs on this album are noticeably shorter, so gone are the ambitiously long songs, with a return to a more standard approach, at least in terms of length. A sign of a less ambitious album? Perhaps, but not necessarily. The band certainly seem, arguably, more focused than before.
In Waves opens with a typical pretentious instrumental track that leads into the first song. The intro builds with gated, distorted off key piano notes that sound like something I would create in Cubase. That’s all right though, because I’m awesome. The melody sort of builds into that of first real song, the title track. ‘In Waves’ is catchy and takes the thrashy and melodic sound of the band’s past work and creates a brilliant opening. Although strong, however, the single does fail to have the impact of Ascendency‘s ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr’, or the opening track of that album, ‘rain’.
Following the title track, the majority of the album follows a very similar pattern. The album has a narrow focus, with each track aiming to hit hard. Compared to the band’s previous work, In Waves is closest to Trivium‘s second album, Ascendency. In many ways, it’s a return to form, but one that may disappoint some fans of the ‘Progressive’ Shogun. Each track is about 3-5 minutes in length, with blistering riffs, catchy chorus’s and metal breakdowns. The album is varied, but within a very constrained focus.
Ultimately, it is the narrow focus that lets the album down somewhat. I have since listened to this album numerous times for the purpose of this review, and very few tracks really stand out to me. Musically, the band are tight, but there memorable moments really are few and far between. It’s not that any of the songs are terrible by any means, but too many of the tracks are simply average. It lacks the ‘punch’ and catchiness of Ascendency, but musically is too similar to that album to really stand out.
Of course, In Waves isn’t without its gems. ‘Caustic Are the Ties That Bind’ is a fantastic slab of melodic metal, with brilliant riffs and emotive screams, whilst ‘Chaos Reigns’ brings grooves by the bucket load. The title track introduces epic breakdowns and brutal screams (I promise I’m not 14 years old, they really are pretty damn cool). Many tracks, however, just fall short of being anything remarkable.
To sum up, what you have is an 18 track album, with too many songs that just blend into each other. The album may be cohesive, but there’s just not enough of interest occurring on the record. If this is the “progress” the band have made since blowing up into the mainstream with their Roadrunner Records, major label, debut (and second album), then they really haven’t progressed at all, it would seem. Whilst Shogun did display promise that the band have grown, this seems like Ascendency 2, but without many of the things that made that album a success. After a while, the alternating between screams and cheesy clean sung vocals, along with generic metal riffs do start to grate on you. Trivium fans should be pleased with this record, but it’s by no means their best. Others may wish to check out Sylosis instead.