Review Summary: Matt Heafy's stunning and eloquent command of the English language11 of 21 thought this review was well written
In looking at the cover art for "In Waves," I can't help but think of the game Riven. Riven centers around a decaying world whose megalomaniacal ruler Gehn has convinced the primitive inhabitants he is a god. Gehn's primary obsession is writing "linking books" to other worlds so as restore the D'ni, a race who mastered this art, but were ravished by a disease. Unfortunately, Gehn's books always come up short, and the worlds he creates are unstable and dangerous. Your job, as the Stranger, is to free to people of Riven, and imprison Gehn for his wicked ways. This is a bit like the modern metal scene, isn't it? Gehn is Matt Heafy, the D'ni are Metallica, the disease is metalcore, and the failed linking books are "Ember to Inferno," "Ascendancy," "The Crusade," "Shogun," and "In Waves." I am the Stranger, and I have to come to free the masses from the clutches of bad metal. If you think that was a bad analogy, shove it. I'm brilliant.
Instrumentally, this album is passable. It sounds like pretty much like every other metalcore album I've heard, alternating between bland riffs and whiny vocal interludes with the occasional blast beat or breakdown. Musically, this is a pretty ho-hum affair. Where Trivium really becomes a laughing stock is in the department of words. Just look at their name. Though the word "trivium" comes from "the lower division of the seven liberal arts in medieval schools,"
in a modern context, it's actually the singular form of the word "trivia," which is defined as "insignificant or inessential matters; trifles."
What happened to the days when bands actually meant something? Has music become so vapid, bands are just flat-out telling people they're insignificant? Or maybe Matt Heafy really wanted to name his band after the lower division of the seven liberal arts in medieval schools. Who knows?
Before even delving into the lyrics, it's apparent by the song titles alone that Trivium aren't exactly wordsmiths. Some are pretentious sounding ("Inception Of The End" "A Grey So Dark" "Caustic Are The Ties That Bind) and some are downright incoherent, like the opener "Capsizing the Sea." "Capsize" means to overturn, or flip something over, especially a boat. If you capsized the sea, wouldn't it look exactly the same? Or what about Dusk Dismantled? How do you dismantle a time of day? Apparently Trivium think you can "Ensnare the Sun" as well. This kind of pseudo-intellectualism isn't surprising considering some of Trivium's previous song titles- "If I Could Collapse the Masses," "Entrance of the Conflagration," "Like Callisto to a Star in Heaven." Unless Matt Heafy's mission is to persistently confuse the people on songmeanings.net, he seems kind of dumb. And don't get me started on his lyrics. Check out the first verse and chorus of "Black:"
Decomposing in this worthless tomb,
Nothingness inhaled, I am consumed.
Starving for the ending to this doom,
We the parasite, our death overdue.
Oh, how it stares!
Into the soul,
So deep into the soul!
Downfall of decimation!
It tears apart the night!
This sounds like something a 13 year goth would scrawl on the back of their English notebook. The other songs follow suit, stringing together cliched dark words and imagery in a way that's ultimately meaningless. As a vocalist, Heafy is alright, but needs to work on his enunciation. "IIIIIINN WAAAAAAAVES" has already replaced "THE BEST THE BEST THE BEST" as the incomprehensible repeated phrase that everyone on YouTube just needs to interpret. "EGG WHITES!" "EIGHT WIVES!" You're not clever and no one cares! I can't understand a single word of "Dusk Dismantled" either. The chant at the end sounds like "Toast is metal!"
and though I would agree with that statement, I find its inverse much more true: "metal is toast."
In the end, Trivium are just another "poor man's metal band," in the vain of Avenged Sevenfold, Dragonforce, or even their idols Metallica. They're every bit as pointless and dull as their poorly-chosen name suggests.