Contrary to what is commonly believed, first impressions are often very very wrong. I know of a guy, for example, who initially hated his new school, saying it was full of fags and that the prevailing culture in it was intolerable. Later on, however, he came to love this school of his to the point that most of what came out of his mouth were directed towards it. The point I want to make here is that one should not create conclusions and judgments based on first impressions alone. This is why I did not write a review of Trivium's Ascendancy immediately. Don't get me wrong; I loved Trivium since the first time that I heard them. I just wanted to see if they were going to be able to survive the test of time. I had to make sure that Trivium did not fall victim to the disease that seems to infect most of today's bands; being great during the first few listens and then, after a few more, drives the listener into thinking -How the hell did I come to like this band in the first place, they suck?!- Basically, I think that the best measure of a bands talent and greatness is how, even after listening to them so many times, the affect that their album has on the listener stays the same or, even better (as in the case of Trivium), improves in such a way that the one listening is converted into a full-pledged fan.
I guess you can easily tell how things ended up on account of the fact that I have now written a review. Trivium truly is one of the better bands today. Any metal head would fall in love with them instantly. Anyone who is instrument oriented would love the way the guitars, the bass and the drums are played to perfection without sacrificing the things such as harmony and melody. The songwriting, putting into consideration that these guys are really really young, is as matured and inspired as it can get. On the bad side though, the singing admittedly does need improvement. The screaming may get irritating at times. But heck Heafys 19, so..
1) The End of Everything- A technique old but effective nonetheless, this track is an intro to what lies ahead. -The calm before the storm- is what I usually say about it (in the most positive way of course). An instrumental with acoustic guitars and even piano, it is an excellent way to start such a jam-packed album.
2) Rain- The listener, from a state of euphoria and calm thanks to the intro, is taken aback with this track. This track is where the onslaught starts. It immediately establishes what Trivium is all about.. Thrash Metal. The talents that the quartet has are exposed quite empathetically. Being one of the simpler songs instrument-wise (the solo is not really what you'd expect from Trivium but it is really good nonetheless), its undeniable heaviness, which is the songs highlight, makes up for it. (4/5)
3) Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr- GREAT, GREAT, GREAT! The second single off of this album, this track really clinches it. This soon to be classic opens up with a terrific drum solo which is then followed up by a guitar riff that demands appreciation. The pre-chorus and chorus guitar riffs are remarkable, painting a clear picture of what the perfect blend between technicality and simplicity truly is. The pre-solo is equally impressive paving the way efficiently for the first Trivium solo. The sheer greatness radiating off this solo embeds a further plaque for Trivium. This song does not have a single outstanding moment simply because the whole song is a highlight. (5/5)
4) Drowned and Torn Asunder- This track I believe deserves further appreciation and attention than what it is currently getting. The track opens up weakly in relation to the rest of the album but the rest of the song I believe makes up for it dominantly. The riffs played by each of the instruments in each of the succeeding parts shout greatness. The highlight of this song is, without a shadow of a doubt, the solo. From the pre-solo alone, the listener is made aware that one heck of a guitar solo is coming his way. Its frigging technical and in itself can easily be considered as one heck of a grand solo. True enough, as set up by the pre solo, the guitar solo does not disappoint. It is one heck of a fast solo, having trade offs and harmonized riffs both present in it. (5/5)
5) Ascendancy- A good solid track but it is overshadowed by the rest of the album. Being the title track, I really expected a lot from it. Unfortunately, it one of the two songs in this album that fall victim to the disease I mentioned earlier. Opening very weakly, this track seems to be the shy one among all the tracks, barely attracting any attention and the least memorable of all the tracks. Truthfully, it is the track that I have listened to the least number of times since I purchased this classic album. The instruments in this are quite mediocre putting into consideration that it is a song of Trivium. If it were in any other album, it would definitely be a stand out track. In Ascendancy though, Ascendancy is a filler. (3.5/5)
6) A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation- In one word, this track is -magnificent-. From the moment that the song starts until it ends, nothing but impressive, impressive, impressive revolves around the listeners head. The opening riff is simple quite honestly but, as Trivium has done so efficiently throughout this album, still blasts the listener and reels him into the song, radiating both harmony and melodys epitome. The gaps between the end of the chorus and the start of a new verse are occupied by a riff beautifully crafted; very technical and solo-ish (solo-ish means that if it were played by any other band, it would surely be the highlighted solo) but still calming enough to give the listener a moment of breathing space. The solo of this song is the pedestal of Triviums instrumental work, especially the guitars. Starting with a lightning quick part by Corey, employing the fundamentals of pull-offs and the advanced techniques of shredding simultaneously sound, it is then traded off to Matt who finishes off the first part of the minute and a half (or more) long solo. Then comes the harmonized part, wooooooooo which has speed (How do the play that fast but still be in harmony with one another?) and accuracy without sacrificing its greatness. The only low point in this song is the -Hey,Hey- part. (5/5)
7) Like Light to Flies- I believe that Trivium is very well-oriented when it comes to letting the people what they are all about. Making this the first single of their debut album certainly deserves a round of applause. Being undeniably one of the best songs in the album, it efficiently reels the listener into the world created from Triviums fantastic musicianship (highly technical riffs, blasting drums, heavy singing, skilled 5-string bass playing etc.) but still leaves him begging for more, a lot more. The contrast present throughout the whole song definitely characterizes this song. The relatively technical verse, pre-chorus and bridge riffs are easily associated to an aggressive and confrontational mood. Simultaneously though, the chorus radiates a riff so melodic that it is almost romantic and very fitting to the easy listening genre. The solo of course does not disappoint yet again, almost requiring the listener to raise two thumbs up in approval. (5/5)
8) Dying in Your Arms- The latest single off the album, this track really did not appeal to me much. After quite a promising intro, it then goes into an almost metalcore/ punk performance part, leaving the listener dumbstruck thinking -Did anyone change the cd that I was just listening to?- The lyrics here are the most immature and uninspired among all the tracks, well written, yes, but inspired and mature, a big no. The solo unfortunately does not make enough impact to pull this track up. Its a good solo, but still not what you'd be expecting from Trivium especially after hearing the previous two songs. (3/5)
9) The Deceived- Great title. Not because it evokes deep though (oooh..) but because it defines the musicianship, the heaviness and the riffs present in the song so perfectly. The first part of the song initially seems weak. Then, it suddenly swells up into one of the heavier songs of the album. Moreover, the initial impression about the technicality of this song also proves deceiving. The efficient separation of the technical riffs of the song causes the listener to think its very simple, but in all actuality, its a very very technical song. The singing style here is the same as the one in -Like Light to Flies-, employing the soft chorus, heavy verse technique so masterfully yet again. The beauty of this song lies on the fact that the more you listen to it, the more you like it. Its almost as if the song grows on you. (5/5)
10) Suffocating Sight- Quite a short song but a good one nonetheless. Despite its shortness in length, the heaviness of the song makes up for it surprisingly well. Heavy as it is, its still very technical and fast, proving that the two concepts can actually blend in perfect harmony (given most metal bands, heavy songs automatically mean relatively slower ones). The various parts present in the song exclaim heaviness and the riffs played vibrate a certain technicality that seems to be of access only to Trivium. The solo is short but sweet, again establishing Triviums great musicianship. (4/5)
11) Departure- It opens with almost the same riff as Drowned and Torn Asunder only without the one weakness that the said song has, the fact that its lack of introductory and immediate face-to-face impact overshadows how good it is. Departure erases this weakness completely as it inflicts so much aggression through its technicality and speed (this track is one of the more technical and guitar oriented songs in the album) without sacrificing the heaviness. Containing the only acoustic guitar played in the whole album, this track screams of diversity, both in the instruments and the singing. The singing here is actually the best for me in the whole album, exposing the whole prism of Matts singing talent. The solo of this song serves as the highlight. The speed of the pre solo serves as a dedication to the coming solo, employing blinding speed picking. The solo is one of the best on the album, consisting of shredding and scaling done so fast and masterfully it definitely is the highlight of the song. (5/5)
12) Declaration- The longest song in the album and quite honestly one of the weaker ones. The riffs played are quite commonplace. Technical they might be , but considering that they are Trivium, much more is expected from them than this seemingly uninspired song. This song is too long and it gets to be dragging and even boring towards the end. Like Ascedancy, it falls victim to the said disease of failing to sustain impact throughout. The solo isnt that great either, its good but not worth of Trivium. Unfortunately, it is quite a bad way to end such a great album. (3.5/5)
A Great Album (4/5) J *If there were a 3.75 option, I would have give nit that instead....*