Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trivium - In Waves

In Waves
Roadrunner Records/Warner Music Australia

Orlando (Orange County, Florida, U.S.) based outfit Trivium have always had the drive and enthusiasm to be the biggest band in the metal scene, but if there’s one thing that’s always held them back, it would have to be their music. Trivium is hardly a terrible band, having produced their fair share of stellar moments throughout their near decade long career. But that’s where the crux of the problem lies. Despite writing some great material here and there, Trivium has yet to translate that consistency over the course of a whole full-length effort.
Three years after the release of their rather confused sounding ‘Shotgun’ in 2008, Trivium has returned with fifth full-length effort ‘In Waves’. And while the band have always laid claim that each and every one of their new albums is their strongest to date, this time around Trivium seem to actually have a point. Although far from perfect, ‘In Waves’ is no doubt Trivium’s most daring and diverse release ever, and one where the band’s song writing seems to have finally found that comfortable balance between the melodic and the aggressive, without drifting too far into either extreme.
The album is opened up in an intriguing fashion with the slow building piano/militaristic mark instrumental piece ‘Capsizing The Sea’. As the track comes to its conclusion, the band (Comprising of vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy, guitarist/backing vocalist Corey Beaulieu, bassist/backing vocalist Paolo Gregoletto and new/ex-Maruta drummer Nick Augusto) get the album off to a crushing start with the title track ‘In Waves’ (Which is also the first single released from the album). It’s immediately clear that they’ve experimented a little more on the song writing front, with the forsaking of complexity in the guitar riffs for something a more straight forward and crushing, which the mix of melodic verses and guttural choruses sound far more thought out and playing to their strengths. In a sense, the band seem to have tried hard not to make the song sound like an epic classic, and have instead gone with their natural instincts. And the result speaks for itself.
Augusto’s performance on the relentless ‘Inception Of The End’ is a real stand out, and as a consequence adds a sense of urgency to the brutal/melodic track, while on ‘Dusk Dismantled’, ‘Chaos Reigns’ and ‘A Skyline’s Severance’, the band rely heavily on strong simplistic grooves alongside straight forward chorus structures, which in turn provides the album with just three of the album’s more memorable efforts.
But ‘In Waves’, it’s not all about brutality and aggression, with tracks such as ‘Watch The World Burn’, ‘Black’, the latest single ‘Built To Fall’, ‘Forsake Not The Dream’ and ‘Of All These Yesterdays’ showcasing a greater melodic influence. Unlike Trivium’s melodically inclined efforts in the past, all these songs work, with Heafy’s mix of clean vocals and growls working perfectly together to give the songs enough bite when required, and enough hooks to give the listener something to latch onto.
As mentioned earlier, ‘In Waves’ is far from perfect - there are weaknesses (The lyrics are a little cliché in places, and there’s a couple of songs that don’t stand out as memorable as the others), but there’s a whole lot more in terms of strengths. Given the patchiness of the previous albums, it’s not hard to see that Trivium have definitely raised the bar with ‘In Waves’, and created one of their best efforts to date.

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© Justin Donnelly