Thought you guys might be interested in this since Trivium will be supporting DT across the US.
‘In Waves’ is Floridian metallers Trivium’s 5th opus, which is rather impressive considering that their frontman/resident genius Matt Heafy is barely 25, and it delivers in ways that any band’s 5th opus would be expected to in that it sounds mature, calculated and thought out like no Trivium album preceding it. Actually upon reflection, Trivium has yet to go in the same direction twice on consecutive LP’s. ‘Ember to Inferno’ was melody deficient and raw but heavier than lead elephants, Ascendancy a metalcore landmark and 2006’s “The Crusade” was Trivium’s attempt at a thrash album a la
Metallica. In fact, if underrated fourth opus “Shogun” was Trivium’s shot at a “progressive” metal album in the vein of the aforementioned Californian metal giant’s …And Justice for All, In Waves is Trivium’s meander across the much trodden upon sonic path dominated by Metallica’s “Black Album” and to some extent, it manages to walk that path without a hitch.
The band have gone on record and said that this album was to be more about well written songs. Consequently the album finds itself laden with jams tailor made for mainstream rock radio. ‘Black’ is everything this album is about, containing stomping (yet more simplistic than we’re used to from this band) and swagger-filled riffs, catchy lead lines and Heafy’s lush baritone (which is still under-used!) combining to great effect. More of the same is evident on lead single “Built to Fall” which will require you to manually chisel the chorus out of your skull after a couple of listens. Furthermore, the Bullet For My Valentine goes Iron Maiden mid-section of “Caustic Are The Ties That Bind” and closer/ballad “Of All These Yesterdays” are almost as saccharine again. However, it is the songs on the album that blend the technicality and melody which stand out. ‘Inception of the End’ is quintessential Trivium all the way through, containing the album’s best vocal lines and riffs and the storming ‘Watch The World Burn’ gives it a run for its money as far as highlights go. The intro and outro tracks are nice touch too with “Capsizing the Sea” providing the otherwise basic title track with some much needed context.
However, ’In Waves’ is far from flawless and many aspects of the album can be considered disappointing. Firstly, the lack of technicality (technical riffs being an integral part of the Trivium sound) on display is alarming. While the greater use of guitar harmony is good to hear, it is no substitute for the riff deficiency on the album. The blazing solos and guitar duels are conspicuously absent too and whilst the solos are there, they merely blend into the songs and fail to ignite as they should. In fact, “In Waves” feels like a band playing within its means, desperately searching for a sound that isn’t natural to them, drummer Nick Augusto’s spastic outbursts of blastbeats being a prime example of a musician trying and failing to contain himself to playing a certain way instead of opening up to express himself naturally. Another disappointment is the seemingly tacked on heavier tracks which simply do not fit with the overall sound of the album which tends towards the mainstream end of metal. “Dusk Dismantled” sounds like a Sepultura B-side (which is no licence to tag a Sepultura cover onto the end of your album if you’re reading this, Trivium!) and for all its beat-downs, ‘A Skyline’s Severance’ cries out for a vocal melody that just never comes. Lyrically too, the album seems anaemic. Gone is Heafy the great orator who successfully tapped into teenage intrigue in recounting murder (‘The Crusade’) and mythology (‘Shogun’) and he hasn’t been replaced. The lyrics are generally cryptic and open to interpretation yet nothing really grabs you as being somewhere north of generic. It’s one thing being able to write great songs and melodies but if you have nothing to say, then the power of your songs will diminish and ‘In Waves’ suffers greatly from that.
On the whole, ‘In Waves’ is not a bad effort but it seems forced, mildly schizophrenic and as such, firmly in the shadows of their previous efforts. Are Trivium past their peak as a creative force? Who knows? But it remains to be seen whether this band has another storming album within them. Unfortunately, for all its ambition and fresh direction, ‘In Waves’ isn’t it.
Tl;dr: Shogun is much better, this is fairly weak by this band’s fairly high standards.