Trivium is one of many American metal bands christened as the revitalization of American heavy metal. At a very young age and with a mere two albums, Trivium has managed to turn heads of metal fans as well as setting records with their record label. This band is undoubtedly not without the potential to write great music, but at this point their writing skills are in desperate need of development. They have a definite strength in their playing - musicianship is respectable and it's obvious they are capable of much. However, Ascendancy
seems to show that at this point, they have not yet mastered a unique style. Riffs and melodies sound bland and uninspired, and the vocals are in desperate need of repair.
After hearing so much about how guys this young can be so good at their instruments, I was eager to hear what they play. Needless to say, I was disappointed. As I said, riffs are beyond bland. They harmonize downtuned riffs like every other NWOAHM band, but they obviously haven't figured out how to distinguish themselves among a legion of bands that have emerged in recent years. While some songs do contain some catchy riffs such as Ascendancy
or Like Light to the Flies
, for the most part it is very generic sounding. The soloing is definitely a highlight of the album, however. The guitarists don't mindlessly shred like many other metal guitarists, but they obviously can. They choose to play solos that accent the song and display emotion, a very commendable course of action.
Unfortunately, the short spans of soloing time we hear are vastly overshadowed by the horrendous vocals work. To say the least, Heafy does not have a good voice. His scream is a high rasp that sounds identical to plenty of other mainstream bands I've been hearing lately. His singing is hardly any better. He can stay on key perfectly, meaning he doesn't need vocals lessons or anything along those lines. The problem is that his voice simply isn't good. Aside from a few highlight moments such as Dying in Your Arms
or Suffocation Sight
, the band could only benefit from a replacement. The rest of the band are much better at what they do, but for some reason they chose not to utilize their capabilities. The riffs are very simplistic, which only aid to the bland tincture of them. The bass goes unheard (except for perhaps Suffocation Sight
) throughout virtually the entire album, a common thing among metal bands. The drums are respectable. The double bass speeds do get higher than expected at times (Rain
), but overall none of his patterns are creative or mindblowingly fast.
In the end, these guys have potential, but I don't hear anything that would make them worthy of the praise they get. The musicianship involved is very solid, but nothing out of the ordinary. The riffing is relatively boring and uninspired. The vocals are of course, horrid. Trivium definitely has strengths, but they have yet to master those in their music and develop their songwriting. The soloing was used well without being overdone. Overall, the song structures were all very similar and predictable. Some of it sounded like rushed writing with no though, such as The End of Everything
, which had extremely sloppy guitar/piano harmonizing. Perhaps in the future these guys will improve, because they many good things going for them. But for now, all they're simply another generic American metal band with adequate playing and unoriginal writing.
The album starts off with The End of Everything
, a song that immediately gave me doubts about the album. The guitar playing was a little sub par, and the piano arrangement was extremely sloppy. It led right into Rain
, a song that definitely kicked it up a notch. It was fast and heavy thanks to the chunky riffs and sweet drumming, but the slow parts and vocals bring it down. It kind of drags on and gets a little boring after the first minute or so. Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
is one of the better songs. The riffs and nice and catchy. Heafy's screaming seriously compromises the song's listenability, but the singing works very well with the music. The solo kills as well. Drowned and Torn Asunder
doesn't differ much from what we've heard so far - the fast part of the intro sounds very similar to Rain
, save for the brief lead lick. The rest of the song is really nothing special. By now, the transitions from the heavier sections to the melodic/singing parts are getting very predictable and overdone. The solo is easily the best part of the song.
The next song, Ascendancy
, is yet another display of their style, this time around it is seriously repetitive. The transitions between heavy/melodic parts are sounding essentially the same every single song and this is no exception. A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation
is also nothing special. A notably good solo, but beyond that, they reuse more of their boring riffs and heavy/clean tradeoffs. Like Light to the Flies
makes much more use of Matt's singing instead of screaming, and consequently the song stand slightly above the rest. Once again, the soloing efforts are commendable, but the riffing is as uninteresting as ever. The fading in of the drums with the harmonizing in the middle of the solo sounds quite cool. Dying in Your Arms
make use of some nice lead guitar. Matt's low singing along with the bass sounds very off, but the clean singing with the harmonized guitars is incredible. A little more emphasis on singing like we see here, and this album would've been much better.
again sounds like the heavy Rain
riffing and isn't the most original song. More lead guitar licks are present, but not as noteworthy as ones prior to this. Basically the entire song sounds the same as stuff they have been playing so far. Suffocating Sight
is a nice step up. The singing and choppy riffs sound pretty cool, and the soloing is once again a moment of as
s kicking. Some nice guitar playing and acoustic lead into Departure
, but the song is downhill from there. Screaming and familiar riffing are dominant, but the clean singing does give it somewhat of a boost. Declaration
is the token long track on the album. Some interesting guitar playing eases us into the song before it once again descends into monotony. There's plenty of chugging and various other filler material, but for the most part I think they tried to drag this out too long. The soloing is incredible as usual, which makes the song worthwhile for the most part. Aside from that, the vocal/riff interplay is again recycled. Half way through the song gets faster and heavier, which, unfortunately, does not mean better.
- Great soloing
- Some nice guitar/vocal work at times
- Fast and heavy
- Terrible vocals throughout
- Bland, recycled riffing
- Way too repetitive
- Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
- Like Light to the Flies
- Dying in Your Arms
Unfortunately, the bad vastly outweigh the good on this album, and the majority of the album sounds like bland, repetitive filler. Every once in a while they get it right, but overall it seems like they have yet to realize what their strengths and weaknesses are.