Ah yes, Trivium. The saviours of American metal. The next Metallica. Blah blah blah. The media sure makes some audacious claims for the young Floridians. Thus far, the band has released two albums, 2003's Ember to Inferno
and 2005's Ascendancy. I'm going to make my own audacious claim now. If Ember to Inferno is anything to go by, than Trivium will most certainly not reach Metallica's standards. However, as mentioned three sentences ago, the album was released in 2003, when the members of Trivium were only in their late teens, and they have plenty of time to find their niche.
For Trivium's next album, The Crusade (to be released in October), Trivium claims to be heading in a thrash metal direction. On their first two albums, particularly Ember to Inferno, Trivium is a metalcore band in every sense. Musically, album is made up of crushing riffs and drumming from Matt and drummer Travis Smith. One thing I like about Ember to Inferno is that the relentless attitude the musicians display with their instruments. As with any metalcore act, both harsh and clean vocals are utilized on the album, the harsher vocals used mainly for verses and the clean vocals for the choruses. Each member shows off a lot of talent in his role, except for maybe Heafy's vocals, but I'll get into that later.
However, while the band definitely has a lot of talent and potential, on Ember to Inferno they don't use it very well. The riffs found here are very bland and soulless. What made the all time great metal bands so great was the energy and emotion their music displayed. There is none of that here. Musically, Ember to Inferno sounds forced. Heavy for the sake of being heavy if you will. Not only do Ember to Inferno's riffs sound bland, but they are also not very memorable. One listen to a song such like Pillar of Serpents
, and this is quite clear in their work, as the song is void of any impressive rhythm guitar work. Another fairly boring song riff-wise is Fugue
. The song has an interesting intro and bridge before the solo, but other than those short moments, the song is full of tasteless rhythm work. Trivium will definitely have to work on this in the future, if they want to even enter the same stratosphere as a band of Metallica's stature.
Another problem with Ember to Inferno is the album's vocals. I don't think I can mention a moment on the album where I actually enjoyed Heafy's vocals, which is quite rare for me. Matt Heafy just cannot sing, nor can he scream. In addition to the listless riffs, we have Matt screaming like he's being castrated. The result can't be described as anything other than excruciating. However, Heafy's screams are a lot easier to listen to than some of his contemporaries, such as M. Shadows (when he screamed) or Alex Varkatzas. Matt's clean vocals are a bit more tolerable. Though they aren’t excellent by any means, Heafy's clean singing is very welcoming after listening to him scream like a banshee. Matt's singing sounds like it needs work at times, as it sounds somewhat weak in songs like To Burn the Eye
where his vocals don’t sound very clear, or in My Hatred
, where the singing just isn't very impressive at all.
However, despite these negatives, Trivium still has one impressive element in their arsenal. The lead work on Ember to Inferno is easily the most enjoyable part of the album. Matt Heafy's solos, while not the best you’ll ever hear, are really fun to listen to. Almost every track on the album contains some impressive shredding from, at the time, Trivium's only guitarist (Corey didn’t join until after the release of the album). Heafy's solos don't exactly make up for the negative aspects of Ember to Inferno, but some of the guitarist's more melodic solos are a real treat to listen too.
Ember to Inferno was the first full length album of American metal band Trivium. Though the band is advertised as the next big thing, Ember to Inferno shows the exact opposite. Trivium definitely needs to clean up their act if they want to even approach the impossible expectations placed on their shoulders. The band has potential and if they use it right, they could record and release an excellent album. As of now we're stuck with Ember to Inferno and Ascendancy, the first being pretty disappointing.
Falling to Grey
Ember to Inferno