Trivium really crowns themselves with their most recent release, Shogun. To any fan, it is easily known as their greatest album in terms of instrumental genius. With such detail put into each and every strum of the guitar, pluck of the bass, hit of the drums, and note of the vocals, they show how they clearly have the right to take an album purely to showcase what they can do with their given skills. And in such an epic fashion, as to put in constant references to Greek and Japanese mythology and some allusions to religion as well. This album was also recorded with 7 string guitars as opposed to the first 3, so it has a far more technical sound and a progressive feel throughout.
They have the album starting off with "Kirisute Gomen" which almost gives off the feeling of the hostility that the lyrics contain, but purely with the tribal drumming sound and aggressive yet eerie riff. It is written about the Samurai Code where they are given "authorization to cut and leave", in a literal translation of the track title. The solo in this song is reminiscent of Metallica, much like most Trivium, but is in a sense, starting to individualize Trivium, because what is also very trippy is the rhythm section throughout this stringed assault on your ears. This song is one of the heavier tracks on the album and is a perfect track to open up the journey that this album takes you through. When a fan who putting "Shogun" into the CD player for the first time after getting so used to the previous release, "The Crusade"...They, like myself, will notice the return of the screaming that all the Trivium fanatics and critics spent the two years between these albums, talking about it's absence. And the screaming has improved since Ascendancy as well.
The second song opens up with guitar that any Trivium fan would recognized in milliseconds, then it flows into a great groove beat on the drums and personally, is intensely catchy. It repeats over chorus-verse for a bit, but then it speeds up into a climatic solo that is generic by Trivium standards, but is my favorite rhythm sections when concerning the drums on the entire album. The rest of the song similarly to "Declaration" from "Ascendancy" takes you on a ride through the rest of the song and just flows into a nice end. "Torn Between Scylla And Charybdis" stands out as a very technical song, but is no match for the epic tune ahead.
To most Trivium fans, "Down From The Sky" is the best song on this whole album. It opens on some catchy guitar that would be recognized easily by a Trivium commoner, and the intro verse almost seems to speak of a tragedy. It bridges quickly into a very tense and commanding pre-chorus and melancholy chorus that is complimented by a guitar riff that almost seems like a second vocalist in the background. It continues verse-chorus then goes into a different verse that sounds like an angsty teen wrecking a home to the sound of a mean riff and tribal drum roll. This leads into a heavy breakdown that moshers would die for then flows into a short but sweet solo. Overall, this song is an uproar for any Trivium fan who is lucky enough to hear it live.
Most people who aren't even Trivium fans recognize "Into The Mouth Of Hell We March" for it's placement on Madden 10, but them and fans alike underestimate the intensity of this song. It's very intricate on guitar and great to jam to behind the set. It is an amazing personification of the epicness on "Shogun", it shys away from the angry feel given on the first 3 songs and towards the middle of the track is nearly sad, yet retains the intense feel. This flows into an impressive solo that really picks up the tempo of the song for a good bit of time, and the return from solo to verse is a genius effort from Travis Smith. It is met by an epic short verse then return to chorus for it's last then declines into a nice end.
The 5th song, "Throes Of Perdition" is a personal favorite of mine. It opens up on a genius riff that commands the track for about 30 seconds then goes into a different riff that could get even the most intense metal hater rocking their heads. The drum beat frequented throughout the song is a masterpiece by Travis Smith. This song does a phenomenal job of transition between the slow verse 1 and intense pickup in the verse 2. The chorus screams out a sadness from Matt Heafy and then the following verse intensifies it with seemingly pain-forced screams. This flows into an awesome solo that enhances the identity of the song as a nice, thrashy, ballad by the metal giants known as Trivium. The song begins it's outro on repeated chorus, and really is left to the listener to decipher the meaning.
"Insurrection" almost signifies resentment left wondering from the previous song, and quickly becomes known within the song as the anthem track and heavy hitter on the album. The guitar work within the entire song is nothing but amazing, but the listener has heard nothing until the epic solo within it. It's almost a solo to even rival the unprecedented one showcased within "A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation" on the second album. But this one isn't for the purpose of just soloing, this one shows the anger and spite within the entire song. The solo defines the entire song, for it is extremely lacking without it. Without the solo, this is probably my least favorite track on the album.
"The Calamity" is probably the second least enjoyable on the album, and is yet interesting merely for the meaning of disaster (thus, it's title) that is successfully shown with the instrumentals. It would be more interesting if not for the bland verse aside from the nice fills between lines. The chorus itself is very nice, and has very interesting changes each of them. The solo however, is very good and would be an atrocious attempt from anyone who doesn't like sweeping. My only problem with it is the lack of length, if it had been longer I probably would've enjoyed it like I did for "Insurrection".
Now personally, the next 3 songs I find similar to eachother, yet having extremely individual qualities from any other Trivium song that the band has demised throughout each of their 4 releases. They all give a progressive feel and instrumental perfection. "He Who Spawned The Furies" almost seems as if to pull you through hell itself from a safe but menacing view of the gross tragedy below, all to the theme of nice drumming and great guitar. The solo is an epic creation and genius idea of continuing through a vocal part, this solo would be great to mosh to. The song then returns to the tragedy it had before and ends on a high note.
"Of Prometheus And The Crucifix" opens up nicely on guitar and keeps up through the song on every instrument as in a way almost upbeat as a song, yet hidden within the lyrics is a strong sense of suffering. Matt Heafy's vocals retain a higher note than usually heard throughout, and nicely hides the fact that it is similar to a 3rd album song, with mostly singing. Because by now the listener is all but engulfed in the wrathful awesomeness of this song. Now mostly notable within the song is the verse before the solo with an impossible drum roll that would enfuriate any aspiring drummer when trying to successfully cover it. Then the solo takes it's own roll in frustrating even the best musicians not of Trivium quality. This song is a spectacular performance by the band and should be far more popular than it is.
"Like Callisto To A Star In Heaven" is clearly about a Greek mythology story and has no other emotion to it other than telling the story within the lyrics. The pre-chorus grown-talking thing Matt Heafy does is purely just odd and makes the song stand out on it's own where it would be in a way generic without it. And the chorus itself is very nice and memorable to any fan. The screaming within this song is as commanding as it gets through the whole album and is very very nice. After a few verse-chorus progressions this song also has a crushing breakdown that I thoroughly enjoy every time, then an epic solo. Followed by, you guessed it, another impossible Travis Smith drum roll. In this song it almost seems like he's teasing the drummers that ever wish to be like him. The song ends nicely and gets you prepared for the monster ahead.
The novel that concludes this album in it's regular edition, effectively named by the title of the album itself, showcases every emotion felt while listening to the album before this song. It is 6 seconds shy of 12 minutes in length, but anyone listening through it wouldn't even notice it's length, for it perfectly flows through the entire time. This is very difficult to do when you make any track this long, so if I was in the studio as this song had just concluded it's recording, I would personally congratulate the band on it's flawless creation. It has a part where each instrument gets it's chance to shine and has elements of multiple genres, not even limited to metal, all in one song. This song is a progressive metal favorite to anyone who likes metal and I smile listening to it sometimes, it is thoroughly masterful and worthy of endless awe and amazement.
If you bought the deluxe edition of Shogun, you also have received 3 extra tracks, which seem to spoil the title track after being so amazed and jaw-dropped from the epic creation. Each of the songs on the deluxe edition are notable, but didn't cut it for the regular release for a reason. "Poison, The Knife, Or The Noose" is very creative and similarly to "Like Callisto To A Star In Heaven" in the way of telling a story to the listener. My favorite part of this song is the great drumming throughout and the encouraging chorus. And the creative guitar is insinuated throughout any Trivium song you'll ever hear, but I thought i'd just throw that in as a reminder. The solo is very nice, although it doesn't stand out ahead of any other solo on the album.
"Upon The Shores" is the best of the 3 deluxe edition songs, and seemingly is a sequel to "Into The Mouth Of Hell We March", and I wouldn't doubt that as the intention of Trivium while writing it. It has captivating quick parts in the non-vocal verse and stays jammable throughout. The chorus is a beautiful clean vocal performance by Matt Heafy. And after the second chorus has a nice heavy part with unique low growls that make this song very different. Which is followed by a predictable solo split into two interesting parts that make it pretty awesome. This song was probably the closest to making the album, I really liked it.
The last track I really wish wasn't even put on the b-sides of this album, it's a nice cover and all but it heavily takes away from the heavy element in each of the other songs, including other b-sides. I love Iron Maiden truly, and Trivium did no disgrace to the track, but it did do negatively to the album that carries heavy and epic meaning throughout.
Overall, the album is a substantial success and should increase Trivium's fanbase for their next release, coming on August 9th, 2011. They say it will be better than the rest, which all always are, but they mean it as their defining creation. Here are my individual ratings on this whole album and the artists themselves.
Clean Vocals (Matt Heafy): 8.5/10
Screamed Vocals (Matt Heafy): 9/10
Guitars (Matt Heafy & Corey Beaulieu): 10/10
Bass (Paolo Gregoletto): 8.5/10
Drums (Travis Smith): 9/10
1. Kirisute Gomen: 8.5/10
2. Torn Between Scylla And Charybdis: 8/10
3. Down From The Sky: 9.5/10
4. Into The Mouth Of Hell We March: 8.5/10
5. Throes Of Perdition: 9.5/10
6. Insurrection: 8/10
7. The Calamity: 7.5/10
8. He Who Spawned The Furies: 8.5/10
9. Of Prometheus And The Crucifix: 9/10
10. Like Callisto To A Star In Heaven: 8.5/10
11. Shogun: 10/10
12. Poison, The Knife, And The Noose: 8/10
13. Upon The Shores: 8.5/10
14. Iron Maiden: 7/10