Trivium
Shogun


3.5
great

Review

by Justin Taslak USER (30 Reviews)
September 23rd, 2008 | 133 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: They're back?

TriviumShogun

I wouldn't be alone in stating that 2006’s The Crusade was not only a major letdown after the promising Ascendancy, but it was a downright horrendous album. Writing and recording a completely contrived clone of Master of Puppets does not assure a nearly flawless thrash classic, and while Trivium raked in plenty of cash for the release, music buffs everywhere grimaced at the more than laughable product. The instrumental aspect of the band had been blatantly dumbed down, and the vocals went from strained screams and poor singing to mimicking James Hetfield yells and equally poor singing. Only a scarce number of interesting riffs and solos saved it from being absolute garbage.

On the contrary, I will be the first to admit that I loved Ascendancy, and I really was obsessed with it for quite some time. It included a nice balance of heavy and melodic, and displayed above average instrumental skill for such a young band. While it is still enjoyable, I have since moved on. It took a good six months for me to scrape the surface of that album and notice the all too evident flaws within the numerous breakdowns and outstanding solos that it was saturated with. Almost every song was constructed in the same manner, revolving around choruses with stale verses and an exciting breakdown and/or solo during the bridge. Dying In Your Arms only stood out due to the mass amounts of clean vocals, and it really is more of the same. This was more or less expected for the band’s big-label debut, so it was excusable. Would bringing back some of this old style help a future release?

Through three albums, Trivium were unfortunately in shambles. They still did not possess the ability to compose a song of their own, or if they did, they hadn’t shown any desire or initiative to do so. After a world tour, they wisely took a few baby steps towards making up for the disgrace that was The Crusade. They parted ways with producer Jason Suecof and teamed up with Nick Raskulinecz, of Foo Fighters, Rush and Coheed and Cambria fame. Matt thankfully took more voice lessons, every band member improved instrumentally, and the band as a whole agreed to incorporate elements of Ascendancy into their next effort, primarily in the form of bringing back the screaming. The easiest way then to describe Shogun is a smoothly-executed blend of the best bits of the band’s two prior releases.

When the album begins with Kirsute Gomen, the first thing one might notice would be Travis Smith’s drumming. While still not impressive or mind-blowingly technical, it is better than it was on The Crusade and suits the music, without being ridiculously bland. All the riff work had my head slowly bobbing up and down and a smile slowly began to form on my face, one that would have stayed in hiding had I been listening to The Crusade. The solo only strengthened the song, and this one is truly a gem. Screeching, brooding and varied arpeggios joined together with rapidly changing tempos are its constituents, and it really outdoes any the band has whipped out previously. Almost every solo on the record is nearly this solid, and they function as the yang to the choruses’ yin, providing an equal amount of ominous toned composition as the catchy, radio-friendly sections provide melody.

The aforementioned improvement of Matt Heafy’s vocals is also a welcome sound. I still can’t say I enjoy the yelling, and many loathe it, but there isn’t all that much James Hetfield left in his voice. Choruses will all expectedly feature clean singing that is solid but tedious after a couple run-throughs of the cd, and the screams are very similar to those from Ascendancy. Overall they are still lacking, but the steady improvement is appreciated.

An expected complaint with Shogun in addition to the vocals and the cheesy title is the song structure. It is about as simple as possible, but is fitting for the genre. Since the instrumentals showcased on The Crusade were so poor, it is better that the band first improved on that front and stuck with basic song structures, rather than shooting for the impossibly difficult task(for a maturing band) of fixing all of their prior miscues with a single album. Almost every song has some enjoyable melodic bits, with Insurrection being the only truly terrible track, as it is far too reminiscent of The Crusade. Torn Between Scylla And Charybdis features some slick guitar harmonization, some of Travis’ better drum work, and never feels as long as its almost seven-minute length would suggest. Similarly, the runtimes of most of these tracks are between five and seven minutes, with a few fluctuations here and there.

Trivium have had a few mediocre title tracks, in comparison to their respective albums of course. Ember to Inferno was a great exposition of “thrashcore” at first, but quickly grew monotonous after a few listens. Ascendancy was on par with everything else on its album, nothing special there either. Then came The Crusade, and I remember being quite intrigued by it, and it quickly became my favorite song on the album. This was in fact me clinging onto the nicest sounding piece of that recording session (not counting Broken One); because I had been an avid Trivium fan and didn’t want to accept that they had gone from good to plain awful. The “instrumental” was just a bunch of semi-intricate riffs sloppily thrown together. Shogun is different though. It’s a twelve-minute closer that integrates every stylistic trait the band has used to date, and I actually partially enjoyed Matt’s vocals. The tempo is brought down for a majority of the song, and there is even a short and tasteful Queen-esque solo thrown in for good measure.

If you hated Trivium before this album, it isn’t going to sway you towards liking them. If you’re a crazed fanboy, you’ll love this. If, following The Crusade, you were stuck somewhere in that expansive middle, there may be some respectable entertainment value in here for you as well. It is by no means superb, with flaws still shamefully abundant, mainly the vocals and repetition, but Shogun is a definite improvement. It has the band headed in the right direction, and with a little more originality and some general musical progression, Trivium could have the potential to release some fantastic albums in the future.

3.5/5



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user ratings (1274)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • TheSpeedNirvana (2.5)
    Would sound great if it could just make up it's mind....

    P.J. Quinones (4)
    ...

    MarkedFortune (4)
    Trivium may either be loved or hated by the metal community. Some may see them as immature...

    Locrian (3.5)
    Although there's still room for improvement, Shogun is easily Trivium's best work to date....

  • ChickenWingDoctor (5)
    There is no better balance between melodic beauty and fierce intensity than the album Shog...

    Chris Gaduzo (3.5)
    With "Shogun", Trivium have finally created their own sound, but it still has that same "l...

    Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF (3)
    Shogun may well rankle the traditionalists, but in going back to basics Trivium have retur...

    red0 (2.5)
    It sounds good at first, with lots of positives, until you realize the songs all fade toge...

  • username345 (2)
    An improvement on 'The Crusade' but still a weak album, too long and ruined by Heafy's dre...

    Fugue (3)
    Better than I had expected, worse than I had hoped....


Comments:Add a Comment 
bustyagunz
September 23rd 2008


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ridiculously rushed prolly, not one of my better written, but i think its my longest.
if there is anythin i missed gramatically, feel free to point it out.
n my rating could bounce between 3 and 4 often, 3.5 seems right for now.
Edit: and yea this is streaming.This Message Edited On 09.23.08

BallsToTheWall
September 23rd 2008


44375 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was waiting for the first which I expect many, many more reviews to come. Great review and i'm still a personal semi- Trivium fan after buying Ascendacy on my 15th b-day and still rather enjoying it. As of now i'm going with a three, the new albums not bad.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

bustyagunz
September 23rd 2008


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol yea, i loved ascendancy when i got it at 14, and thanks.

SCREAM!
September 23rd 2008


10098 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is ok but i cant lsiten to it all the way through. 3 for me.

Acendancy is still really good. Got it at 15 too.

jrowa001
September 23rd 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

im at a 3.5 as well. wasnt expecting a positive review so quickly. i agree on all levels with your review. i particularly like you last paragraph on how people will respond to this. im having a hard time believing though that they can improve anymore despite improving a lot on this one.

Willie
Moderator
September 23rd 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The review seemed fine to me. It flowed with no weird sections. Plus, you summed up my feelings perfectly

Digging: Necropoli - I

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 23rd 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Huge, huge improvement over The Crusade, but I'm not completely sold yet. I'll try to get a review up over the weekend possibly

Cesar
September 23rd 2008


2732 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The screaming is sooooo bad, it hurts. This isn't too bad, but I can't give it more than 3.5. Won't rate it yet, but its shaping up to be a 3.

Thor
September 23rd 2008


10192 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

The Crusade was one of the five worst metal albums I've ever heard, so I really don't know if I should give this album any time.

Willie
Moderator
September 23rd 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The Crusade was one of the five worst metal albums I've ever heard, so I really don't know if I should give this album any time.
The first three songs on that album were enjoyable.
You might as well give it a few minutes since it is streaming in its entirety.

ChrisWyatt
September 23rd 2008


88 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cant help it guys, really loving this album. kirisute gomen slays all

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

Thor
September 23rd 2008


10192 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Just started listening to a few of their new songs. Musically it's all right, though the vocals are actually worse.

BallsToTheWall
September 23rd 2008


44375 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I might be the only person who enjoyed This World Can't Tear Us Apart but Tread The Floods, Unrepentant, and Anthem(We Are The Fire weren't bad. The video for Anthem was pretty badass too which also featured our very own Jrowa.


btbdrum812
September 23rd 2008


21 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Now that I've listened to it the whole album a few times, I'll stick with a 3. Its infinitely better than The Crusade, but it's still not quite there for me. Hopefully the next album will be the one these guys are capable of making.

fireaboveicebelow
September 23rd 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

better than the crusade, but still pretty unbearable

bastard
September 23rd 2008


3435 Comments


The Crusade was one of the five worst metal albums I've ever heard, so I really don't know if I should give this album any time.


I maybe the only one who thinks this, but this album is just a bland mixture of The Crusade and Ascendancy imo.

Of course, enjoy it if you like it, but I can't bear this.

iamthenightmare
September 23rd 2008


754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i shouldnt like this as much as i do, considering The Crusade is metal gone shit and i never cared too much for ascendancy as most of the album felt like filler.

but this really struck me as being good. ill prolly move down pretty quick, but after having this for 2 weeks and giving it a couple run-throughs i can definitely say this is my favorite trivium album.

Zoo
September 23rd 2008


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album is decent. It'll probably get old in a short while and I'll drop it to a 2.5.

Poet
September 23rd 2008


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off


I might be the only person who enjoyed This World Can't Tear Us Apart

I love that song honestly.

As for this album. It's pretty nifty. Better than the Crusade, and the s/t track is plain awesome.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2008


17213 Comments


Some of the songs on this are a chore to get through. At least it's a step in the right direction.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville



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