I kept hearing about these guys in press releases and watching them pop up on a variety of metal tours, including the current Road Rage tour. But for some reason I was having a hard time believing the comparisons with Metallica and describing their style as shredding metal. I say this because I look at their picture and it just doesn’t appear as if that would be their style. They looked like they may be some type of Linkin Park style act or perhaps some new garage punk act. Then I put those preconceived notions aside and popped the disk in, and received a big surprise.
The sound that emanated from my car stereo, I do a lot of listening there, was heavy, driving, and subscribed to the old school sound of metal past in combination with a more modern approach to create a sound that you don’t here on modern pop radio. That’s a good thing too, well hopefully the radio landscape will change and we will get a better variety of metal, I’m rambling now. Back to Trivium, something else that surprised me was the youth, the lead singer is at the tender young age of 18!
The weakest point, at least at first listen, was the singer. It’s not that it was bad, but the first thing I heard was what seemed be a rather generic screamer. I have found myself becoming less and less tolerant of these guys that just scream and don’t offer anything else to the table. Screamers are becoming a dime a dozen, and this started out to be no different. That changed quickly enough as he mixed in some straight up signing which gave a different feel to the scream, bringing it up as a result. I still feel that is the weakest aspect of the music, but it is far from a deal breaker, this is a very impressive debut for such a young act.
Time passes. I have listened to the album many more times, and each time it gets a little bit better. This five piece are really coming into their own and gearing up for a long career. The style is at times reminiscent of Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Slayer yet as modern as Killswitch Engage, Machine Head, and Iced Earth. Featuring a two guitar attach, they have a large sound which gives their music a crunch that any metal fan is sure to love.
The primary songwriter is also the lead singer and guitar player Matthew Heafy, his guitar playing is exceptional, offering great interplay with fellow axe man Corey Beaulieu. They chug out the heavy riffs and progressions, trade solos, team up for breaks, great stuff. Drummer Travis Smith is quick, does some great double bass work and keeps the beat going. Finally there is bassist Paolo Gregoletto, getting a few lead breaks and filling out the low end. Together they combine to give us one of the better new voices on the metal landscape, and for me one of the better discoveries since I found Killswitch Engage.
The album starts with a short, light, acoustic guitar and piano based intro which leads us into the first opening chords of “Rain.” And thus begins our journey, I would be hard pressed to really play the favorites card, all of the tracks have their strengths. Although I cannot claim favorites, there are a few that had something that jumped out at me. One of those tracks is “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr,” when the growl stops and he sings one of the lines, it really jumped out and made me realize there is more than a scream to his singing. There is also the first single, “Like Light to the Flies,” is a great choice showcasing soloing and singing abilities and bringing it forth with relentless aggression. Not to be left behind is the track with the best title on the album “A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation,” a tale dealing with abusive families, and also has one of the best metal headbanging moments of recent memory, which must be great to see live!
Overall, this is an excellent album and hopefully a sign of music yet to come. It alternately displays modern music aggression, respect for the old school of metal rather than bowing down at the altar of the current wave of corporate driven mediocrity, there is also a softer underside giving a well rounded collection of songs. Musically there are moments of technical expertise and just plan shredding, be it the crunchy riffs, speedy solos, or the relentless drum machine that is Travis Smith.
Bottomline. I suggest you all give this album a shot. An excellent new voice is rising on the horizon of metal, along with Killswitch Engage, they show there may be hope for the newer generation of metal. Matthew Heafy and crew are an act on the rise.
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