Trivium
Shogun


3.0
good

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
October 1st, 2008 | 685 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shogun may well rankle the traditionalists, but in going back to basics Trivium have returned to a solid base.

"Nothing mars a good metal record like so-called harsh vocals."

The above sentiment opens Rolling Stone’s review of Trivium’s 2006 album The Crusade, the Florida metal group’s third and most successful outing to date. Not only does the above quote say just about everything that can be said about the magazine’s dated philosophy (“everything was better in the old days, even when it clearly wasn’t”), it’s indicative of the trap the band fell into while making the album. Regardless of whether The Crusade was musically accomplished or not, most saw it for what it was- it wasn’t a cheap Metallica knock-off, but it was still a bargain basement Metallica record, and a lot of people called them out on it. Trivium became one of the biggest acts in commercial rock, but in doing so they had sacrificed many of the elements that had made them special to begin with, an outstanding group within an increasingly derivative NWOAHM movement.

With Shogun, Trivium appear to have taken much of the criticism to heart in a constructive way. Frontman/guitarist Matt Heafy’s Metallicophilia is still rampant in places, but here it is much more individualised and in tune with the band’s metalcore roots: the singer could now actually pass for somebody who’s been influenced by James Hetfield, rather than somebody who’s trying to become him. Opener ‘Kirisute Gomen’ demonstrates the point neatly. Beginning with a decidedly ‘Battery’-like baroque guitar motif, the track kicks into gear with harmonised leads and a galloping thrash riff around the one-minute mark, but from thereon in it sounds more like the Trivium of old. Heafy’s pig-squeal vocals during the verse gel well with the strained melodic pre-chorus, while Travis Smith’s renewed love affair with the blast beat is, at least it becomes clear he can’t snap out of it, a welcome re-addition to their sound.

By and large, though, Shogun is less a compromise as it is a retreat. As befits a commercial rock band of the populist bent, Shogun lives and dies by its “singles.” The three pre-released promotional cuts, ‘Kirisute Gomen,’ ‘Into The Mouth Of Hell We March’ and ‘Down From The Sky,’ are easily the most accomplished of the album’s eleven tracks, the latter two holding more-or-less faithful to the formula of big riffs, breakdowns, harsh vocals and layered melodic choruses that caused the band to blow up in the first place. Even the rare exceptions- the mainly sung ‘Of Prometheus And The Crucifix’ and the elegant pop-rock of closer ‘Shogun’- sounds less forced and more organic than the majority of the last album. Now if only Heafy could do a Colin Meloy and stick to butchering one mythological tradition per album instead of two within the one song.

Shogun may well rankle the traditionalists- rest assured, Rolling Stone have already forgotten about ”one of the few contemporary metal bands that matter”- but in going back to basics, Trivium have at least returned to a solid base upon which to re-develop their sound. Shogun is by no means an outstanding metal album, but it should be enough to satisfy both fans of their older material and those attracted to the meatier hooks of ‘Anthem (We Are The Fire)’ and ‘Entrance Of The Conflagration.’



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user ratings (1283)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • CiaranMartin (4.5)
    Trivium are back on top of their game....

    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...

    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....

    Justin Taslak (3.5)
    They're back?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
taylormemer
October 1st 2008


4953 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Correct rating, correct review.

AtavanHalen
October 1st 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some nice writing here, Dave. Though I don't necessarily like your use of the word "Metallicophilia", haha.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

They should get a little bit of that Mettaliphobia if they ever want to continue to truly develop their sound!

AtavanHalen
October 1st 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It was either that or Metallicoholism!

You have chosen the lesser of two evils then, sir; well done.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2008


8021 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review, nicely done, as usual.

I am more a fan of Metallicoholism though.

DeadToPain
October 2nd 2008


694 Comments


Come on, has Rolling Stone ever written a good metal review? They seem to think it's still going to disappear in a few years.

AtavanHalen
October 2nd 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

RS writes fine metal reviews, I find. Never had a major issue with them.

TNY
October 2nd 2008


571 Comments


How are the bonus tracks on here?

TNY
October 2nd 2008


571 Comments


About the review, I fail to see how the title track is "pop rock".

At all.

taylormemer
October 2nd 2008


4953 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

RS writes fine metal reviews, I find. Never had a major issue with them.

Second time you've made my day more funnier. Keep it up.

Inperiour
October 2nd 2008


78 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Short but good review, I think this album is great, my favourite Trivium album by far, the production is outstanding.

Phantom
October 2nd 2008


8930 Comments


Nice review. This album is not terrible, that's all I can say about it.

Nice to hear some vocal variety again though.This Message Edited On 10.02.08

Pluh
October 2nd 2008


579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I pretty much enjoy this entire album, there are a few problems here and there but so far it's all great.

PatchworkNeurology
October 2nd 2008


352 Comments


This is alright, good review you summed it up very nicely

Wizard
October 2nd 2008


19644 Comments


Best review for this album!

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

beans
October 2nd 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

considering there are about 4 too many

bustyagunz
October 4th 2008


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

AYYYY b unit, dat makes me sad, but yea, dis review is boss sauce , gj as usual

zulop
October 4th 2008


165 Comments


Rolling Stone is the biggest load of BS i've ever came accross. Good review.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2008


2712 Comments


I still have a hard time listening to these guys. The instrumentation is pretty cool on a consistent basis but Heafy's velociraptor shouts are awful. Big ups for "Metallicophilia" :p

beans
October 4th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

AYYYY b unit, dat makes me sad, but yea, dis review is boss sauce , gj as usual


not that yours isnt good or anything its just hard to really get an idea for how an album sounds when there are 6 or 7 reviews for it all saying different stuff
idk
thats just me



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