Review Summary: Trivium, you are a fan's worst nightmare, really...
Personally I have always been a fan of Trivium; getting into them during my early teen years of reading Metal Hammer and other mainstream metal publications, I was one of those morons that really thought Trivium would be the next big thing. After the awesome Ascendency
I believed -- only to have my hopes crushed by the kiddie thrash mayhem of The Crusade
, an album that failed on almost all fronts. Shogun
once again got my hopes up; a huge step up from their previous effort, it seemed Trivium had once again regained their spark, igniting one hell of an album that featured as many twists and wonderful turns that any fan could ask for. It was in this approach that I once again put my faith in Trivium -- only to once again, face bitter disappoint in 2011's In Waves
, Trivium's most conventional album to date, a fact that endlessly keeps the band from creating something of true value and worth.
In Waves shows Trivium ditching their thrashing ambitions and adopting a more traditional melodic metalcore approach akin to a band like All That Remains. Stripped down into their barest forms, Trivium has pulled a complete turn-around from the adventurous musical pieces of 2008's storming Shogun
, instead opting for a more streamlined, pseudo pop-influenced approach, one that unfortunately more so highlights the now veteran group's inconsistencies rather then their strengths. One such example is a glaring element that has always somewhat hindered Trivium in previous endeavors -- while Matt Heafy has certainly improved his overall delivery of vocals (his cleans sound much more organic and his usual overbearing bark has been restrained to an extent, giving it a less forced feel as well) but as always has trouble replicating consistently successful vocal melodies. Getting passed the ridiculous intro of title track "In Waves" at least reveals the capability to create a catchy, perfectly layered vocal melody but sadly this is a sparse occurrence; Heafy and his cohorts often fail to create that lasting harmony, coming up instead with grating verses and despicable choruses.
On the music front, Trivium hasn't sounded this uninspired since their debut Ember to Inferno
-- whereas Trivium's last few albums at least saw them trying to outdo themselves, it seems complacency has finally taken hold of this Floridian quartet, creating an album full of boring and lazy musical passages. It's hard to keep count of how many times the band defers back to basic melodic metalcore instrumentation ("A Skyline's Severance", "Caustic Are The Ties That Bind", etc...) truly abandoning all the ambition they showed with Shogun
. One place where the band thankfully avoided a misstep was their use of guitar solos; while Heafy's and Beaulieu's furious shred as definitely been tempered to match their current music style, the more restrained solos actually compliment the songs more than hinder them. While not often, Trivium does at times manage to create some cool passages; "Drowning In Slow Motion" boosts a furious slew of riffs reminiscent of Unearth and "Of All These Yesterdays" manages to become the first successful in the band's discography, utilizing a blusey acoustic verse and an uplifting octave lead chorus.
In an obvious attempt to gain more mainstream exposure, Trivium has sure screwed the pooch this time. Throwing away essentially everything that made the band likable in the first place, In Waves
sees Trivium reduced to your any other metalcore band. The lesson learned after listening to In Waves
? Consistency will probably never prove to be one of Trivium's strong-points. As a band that to this very day have not a damn clue about what the hell kind of music they want to play, Trivium's apparently inescapable insecurity is something that will forever forbid them creating a truly great and cohesive album.