MUSIC REVIEW: Trivium - Silence In The Snow
Released: October 2nd, 2015
In the almost irrelevant Latin language, a Trivium is a place where three roads meet, etymologically speaking. For Florida metal band Trivium, it’s a three-way intersection between metal core, melodic death metal and thrash, although most critics may question what their style is these days.
With the release of their seventh studio album, “Silence In The Snow”, it sees them hit another turnpike in style so that it’s a far cry from “Shogun” (2008). Interesting, considering the title track was originally written for “Shogun”. Gone is the screaming and thrash to be replaced with more melodic vocals (yes! Matt can actually sing!) and more radio friendly tracks that are screaming “power metal”. Not surprising then, that it’s polarising fans into the “wow” camp and the downright disappointed.
Kicking off in 1999, the band have generally adhered to their proscribed appellation and cranked out thrash and metal core material, but, over the last eight years they have deviated from this, earning them scathing criticism. Maybe it was a deliberate change for something different or maybe it was time for Matt to use that fine voice of his instead of roaring all the time, which just led to numerous voice blowouts from over-screaming.
New drummer Mat Madiro (their former drum tech), replaced Nick after five years with the band and displays flashier chops. Whatever the reason for the changes, don’t knock it til you try it. ”Vengeance Falls” (2013) wasn’t half as bad as the critics made out. It still made top 10 charts around the world. Being produced by Dave Draimen from Disturbed, it may as well be him singing it, but, overall a solid album.
Corey giving an awesome demonstration of his skill despite the heat (Soundwave 2012)
When title track, “Silence In The Snow” was released in July this year it was surprising how Nordic it sounded compared with their previous music, but, being an amalgam of power and classic metal, it still delivers. Old school intro and shredding guitars sweep you along with galloping rhythms and ascending vocals to a pounding end. The overall theme of the album seems to be all battle and bloodshed where blood on snow “staining the earth such a beautiful red” and “let’s paint the ground red with the blood of our kill” are splashed all over. It’s very motivational musically and lyrically. “We must fight until they all die!”
“Silence In The Snow” is precluded by an instrumental piece called “Snofall” which is orchestral and haunting. It was created by Norwegian composer/multi-instrumentalist, Ihsahn (Emperor) and is a fitting intro to the album.
“Silence In The Snow” was produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Alter Bridge, The Amity Affliction) and mixed by Josh Wilbur (Gojira, Lamb Of God). Still you can hear the influence Draimen has had on Matt’s vocals, although at times on “Vengeance Falls” he sounded like James Hetfield (Metallica).
“Dead And Gone” is an example of this, being one of the few tracks that Matt still roars in. Ferocious and intense with heavy, pounding drums Matt uses a slower, old school vocal style holding his notes with shredding guitars in the background. Maybe even sounding a little like Mikkel Sandager (Mercenary). He is telling of his legacy. “What still rages will keep you fighting when I’m gone”.
The classic metal overtones on this one are palpable. Think Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. “Breathe In The Flames”, “The Ghost That’s Haunting You”, and “Cease All Of Your Fire” are giving us this in spades. Almost medieval sounding sometimes. In both tracks you have that superfast “power metal“ pace, although they start out with picked or acoustic guitar. Diving in head first with pounding rhythms and sometimes coming to dead stops. Bass grooves almost circular in motion then reversing direction throwing in a punk vibe.
Matt and Corey have this amazing synergy when they play together. Their musicianship is one of the reasons they have such a pure metal sucker punch. In “Breath In The Flames” you can hear this in the rising pitch of the bridge in the track. Their guitars are wailing in unison then turn slow and languid then burn you up then hit the wall in an abrupt acoustic conclusion. Interesting lyrics in this one. He speaks of “what kind of man you are”. “Poison is treachery/My jude is past the flame”. “Your throat is an open grave”. Obviously, there is a Judas in the camp of the back-stabbing variety.
Not to be lyrically lacking, “Cease All Of Your Fire”, screams “end of the world” and no one is cooperating. “Both sides claim the other’s a liar/Scream in the night like a choir”. The results will be “these streets will run red”. Very dramatic in its delivery.
“The Ghost That’s Haunting You”, the other track where you have roared vocals interspersed with elliptical harmonies and phased vocals in the background, is full of intense passion and fast, staccato drums, and triumphant guitars. He bemoans “what have I done? / what have I become?”. “Save yourself” “You know I’ll be the ghost that’s haunting you”.
There are a wide range of new sounds included this time round. Final track, “Darkness Of My Mind”, is a little Linkin Park at one stage, but, sounds more like “Down From The Sky“ (Shogun). It has such a gothic, almost romantic spin (“wreath of roses”) it reminds me of “love metal” artist, H.I.M. It still has all the deep pounding and direction changes you could want. The vocals are elliptical and gut wrenching. “I tried to help you fight misery / I curse the heavens for their thievery”.
A huge surprise was the ska influence in “The Thing That’s Killing Me”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, I’m getting “Spiderwebs” (No Doubt). Just before the chorus, no kidding! The stuttering rhythms kick in after a screaming guitar glissando intro and fast drumrolls build to a truly brilliant example of the boys’ classic metal solos that draw you up in a centrifugal force.
He is telling us that “you are the wrong that I must right”, ”while growing fat off this world”. He is going to “set fire to the empire”!
There is a folk flavour to “Pull Me From The Void” and alternating grinding and screaming paired guitars in “Rise Above The Tides”.
Only one track has a ballad feel, which will keep the metal heads happy and while not screaming, Matt still keeps the vocals growly. Going back to basics and brushing up on their guitar skills (like they could get any better) and getting in a vocal coach has paid off. Matt is more than capable of cranking out melodic vocals of epic proportions, even in clean vocals. They sound more awesome live. I heard them play at Soundwave in 2012 and was impressed exponentially.
Having ground out seven albums and contributed to computer game soundtracks (“Strife” from “Vengeance Falls” is on Guitar Hero: live), they have proven that, even though they have taken a different direction that is isn’t going to thrill some of their fan-base, they have had the courage to forge a new path in their varied, if somewhat noisy musical career, and evolve; something that all good bands do.
If, however, you are a huge fan of “power metal”, you will adore it. Huge on classic metal and rather ‘anthemic’ in parts, it sets a clipping pace and is awesome to drive to.
- Ember To Inferno (2003)
- Ascendancy (2005)
- The Crusade (2008)
- Shogun (2008)
- In Waves (2011)
- Vengeance Falls (2013)
- Silence In The Snow (2015)
For more information visit Trivium.
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