Review Summary: Trivium seems to finally break out of their old mold, and into their own unique spot in the mainstream.
Trivium has been a band forever held in the shadow of the never ending comparisons to Metallica. While some called them the NEW Metallica, holding no ill will, older rockers dub them a Metallica rip off that will never live up to what they attempt. They can’t be a better Metallica, we’ve known this for 8 years now. But they have become a great presence in the metal world as Trivium, with album number 5; In Waves.
This album is blatantly less complex instrumentally, while still very effectively mixing the styles from their more favorable albums (Ascendancy & Shogun). Another very notable difference is the drastic improvement in clean vocals by Matt Heafy, utilizing more smooth clean vocals and better flow in coarse singing. The screaming has improved as well, using more ranges bellowing lows and improved clarity.
The guitar performance is where the mainstream took it’s biggest effect, using more generic melodies, and simpler choruses. For Trivium, it’s nothing but good due to the fact that the previous releases were heavily reliant on showing the band’s instrumental prowess. In interviews Trivium discussed this precise subject and how they’d be focusing more on the matter of the song, and not the instruments included. The bass performance was average by Paolo’s standards, which is above average at the least. Since Shogun, Trivium has switched drummers for Nick Augusto (formerly of speed metal band, Maruta). His job on the album was remarkable, considering the expectations after the release of Shattering the Skies Above in February of 2010. The fills are unique, his transitions are crisp, and he doesn’t overdo drum parts nearly at all.
In full, the album stays interesting, with a healthy mix of light tracks, heavy tracks, & ones that find their way in between. They’re so unique and different that a fan might say In Waves is a lighter turn for Trivium and a heavier one all the same. It calms and surprises the listener with interesting melodies and suitable clean vocals, and enhances them with epic breakdowns and commanding screams. In Waves came out immediately with an original copy and a deluxe, with the deluxe including 5 (essentially 2 full new) bonus tracks. In the deluxe edition, there are 3 all instrumental tracks, all timing less than 2 minutes. Most bands don’t do a good job of keeping these interesting, but each of them finds its unique place in the album and they are interesting at the least.
Lyrically, Trivium gave no details on specifically what the album is about. Speaking of their wishes for the fan to depict the album art, music, lyrics, and feel all individually to have their own definition and thoughts on the album. But it a literal sense, the lyrics were simplified. They dropped the stories of mythical creatures told in Greek & Japanese tales of war & gods, and also abandoned the tragedies spoken of in The Crusade. Not even the essential theme of Ascendancy or Ember to Inferno. It really IS another new thing for Trivium, and leaves you to wonder, as it was the purpose.
Overall, Trivium does themselves well by relinquishing complete individuality for a powerful mix that will be sure to make them more noticed to all kinds of metal fans. By improving the vocals and not overpowering nor lacking intensity where due, and mediating the instrumental performance on all cylinders, Trivium puts out an album worth not only the time of their fans, but worth a listen by a wider amount of metal fans from many spectrums.
Clean Vocals (Matt Heafy): 9/10
Screamed Vocals (Matt Heafy): 9/10
Guitars (Matt Heafy & Corey Beaulieu): 9/10
Bass (Paolo Gregoletto): 8/10
Drums (Nick Augusto): 8.5/10
Recommended Tracks: In Waves, Dusk Dismantled, Watch the World Burn, Black, Caustic Are The Ties That Bind, Forsake Not The Dream, A Grey So Dark, & Of All These Yesterdays