Total Time: 52:16
Label: Roadrunner Records
Just a year and a half since the release of the very good “What The Dead Men Say”, TRIVIUM releases their new and 10th album of their career “In The Court Of The Dragon”. With Josh Wilbur back behind the production wheel and the beast Alex Bent behind the drumkit since 2017 (if you’re aware of his previous band, the tech deathsters BRAIN DRILL, you understand what kind of skills we’re talking about), the Americans seem to be going through a refreshing period of inspiration and creation.
Having found their distinctive style for a few years now, Matt Heafy and his partners seem to be just refining their sound from album to album. For those who do not know what TRIVIUM is all about, we are talking about a Metalcore band that honours the Metal prefix of the term with numerous Thrash (think of modern TESTAMENT or DEATH ANGEL), Melodic Death Metal (IN FLAMES of course) and classic Metal influences (METALLICA and IRON MAIDEN of course).
Album number 10 finds the band in top form, more mature and tighter than ever before. It is evident from the amazing self-titled opening piece that TRIVIUM is in high spirits. Thrashy rhythms, harsh vocals and Maiden-esque melodies lure you from the beginning in unstoppable headbanging. The chorus comes in with the drums switching to a blastbeat while Matt’s cleans vocals are nailed to your mind at once. A groovy Metalcore part follows which in turn leads to an epic guitar duel between Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu. Arguably one of the best songs of these guys.
The entire album continues in similar fashion. Thrashy fast tempos alternate with groovy rhythms, melodies, proggy parts (though I heard a little bit of DREAM THEATER in a song), riffs and solos. The more I think about it, the more I end up with the fact that the band is more Metal than Metalcore. Listen to the amazing work they have done on guitars, especially in the solos. It is admirable when a successful band after so many years in the field does not put water in the wine to soften its sound but continues to play with the same zeal as if it were at the beginning of their career.
Amid all this aggressive storm of riffs and fast tempos, the choruses balance the situation somewhat with their addictive melodies and Heafy’s mostly clean vocals. The whole thing acquires a more dramatic / cinematic dimension with the excellent work that has been done in the orchestrations by the very magician of Metal Ihsahn (EMPEROR)! The most striking example is “Shadow Of The Abattoir”. A seven-minute composition that begins quite gently like the classic big pieces of IRON MAIDEN to evolve into an epic metal anthem. Another one of the highlights of the album.
Unfortunately, not all tracks are on the same level, and some seem a little “simpler” compared to others. Not that they are bad compositions, but they do not cause the same level of excitement as the heavy hitters of the album. Of course, I found at least one part in every song, that would make me want to listen to it again. Heafy’s vocals is another point for discussion, as some fans don’t like either his clean or harsh ones. My opinion is that in this album the harsh vocals sound a little tired while in the clean vocals department Matt has done a really good job.
Summing up, TRIVUM created a quite aggressive album, combining all the elements that characterize them so far. The songs are memorable, the guitars serve riffs and solos all the time while technically the band has reached another level. They don’t reinvent the wheel, but they show us how a modern Metal album should be in 2021.
Editor: Dimitris Benetatos
Related Link: TRIVIUM – Official Page