Orlando, Florida's Trivium are among the most provocative, restless, and influential bands to emerge from the South in the early 21st century's heavy metal explosion. Beginning as a metalcore outfit, they have relentlessly combined and crossed styles, including thrash, prog, technical, and melodic death metal, as well as alternative and groove metal. Trivium came by their global success the old-fashioned way: touring. Since issuing their first demo in 2000, they have been road warriors. They established themselves first in the South, and then across North America before conquering festival stages in Europe and Asia supporting their sophomore long-player (and Roadrunner debut) Ascendancy in 2005. 2008's Shogun showcased epic storytelling abilities as well as a love for innovative riffs. It also provided a roadmap for future outings, and peaked at number 23 on the Top 200. Those compositional tenets and a love for narrative storytelling influenced each subsequent release, though 2011's In Waves took it further with a number 11 peak, and 2017's The Sin and the Sentence used them inside an extreme metal setting and became one of their most acclaimed albums, selling better in Europe than it did in the States. Hailing from central Florida, Trivium formed in 1999 and quickly built a buzz around Orlando's metal community with their blend of metalcore, thrash, and progressive metal. Having secured a contract with the German Lifeforce imprint, the band issued its debut album, Ember to Inferno, in October 2003 with a lineup that included vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy, drummer Travis Smith, and bassist Brent Young. The debut was well received, and Trivium signed with Roadrunner Records for their next effort. Ascendancy appeared in March 2005, at which point the band's roster had shifted to include Heafy, Smith, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and guitarist Corey Beaulieu. The album was reissued in May of the following year with four additional tracks and a bonus DVD. Trivium then visited the U.K. in June for the 2006 Download Festival, followed by multiple European headlining gigs and a stint with America's traveling metal/hardcore fest Sounds of the Underground. The tour saw them playing alongside other heavy-hitting bands like As I Lay Dying, GWAR, Cannibal Corpse, and Terror. Crusade appeared that fall, featuring a newfound emphasis on singing (previously, vocalist Heafy had relied on screams and throaty growls). Despite the band's active defense of Heafy's vocal approach, Trivium received much criticism for their shift in sound; accordingly, they wasted no time in returning to a scream-filled thrash style with 2008's Shogun. In 2010, Trivium announced drummer Nick Augusto would be replacing the departing Smith. Later that year, the band went into the studio to begin work on its fifth studio album, In Waves, which was released in the summer of 2011 and saw the group bring a bold new approach and maturity to its songwriting. However, feeling that the album's gestation process had been overlong and that they had produced too much material, they decided to focus on quality rather than quantity in the on-the-road writing sessions for their next record. The band tapped Disturbed's David Draiman to produce, and the metal veteran took a real hands-on approach, bringing a newfound sense of melody to Trivium's sound. The finished album, entitled Vengeance Falls, was released in October of 2013; it received enthusiastic reviews from critics and charted well in the United States, the U.K., Japan, and Europe. Trivium underwent yet another personnel change when they parted company with drummer Augusto in May of 2014. He was replaced by drum tech Matt Madiro. Late in the year, Trivium entered the studio with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette and mixing engineer Josh Wilbur to begin work on the band's seventh album. The title track, "Silence in the Snow," was issued as a video single in July of 2015, with the album followed on Roadrunner in early October. The album was their first to land on the Active Rock Top Ten and secured them headliner status for the European festivals Summerbreeze and Bloodstock. After the release of the album, Madiro left the band and was succeeded by Paul Wandtke, who lasted less than a year before being replaced by Alex Bent. In late 2016, Trivium partnered with Cooking Vinyl to re-release Ember to Inferno in several variations. The two deluxe editions contained the band's earliest demos, including "Ruber" (aka the Red Demo), "Caeruleus" (aka the Blue Demo), and "Flavus" (aka the Yellow Demo), all recorded when Heafy was between 16 and 17 years old. Late 2017 saw the release of the band's eighth studio long-player, The Sin and the Sentence, which was produced by Josh Wilbur and released on Roadrunner. The set peaked at number 23 on the Top 200, and landed in the top spot at Hard Rock Albums. After extensive touring and a well-deserved break, the band re-entered the studio with Wilbur in late 2019. In February of the following year, Trivium's members began adding cryptic messages to their social media accounts to advance interest for the upcoming album. They further teased its release with two songs -- "IX" and "Scattering the Ashes"-- added to the "Spawn" trailer for the Mortal Kombat video game in March. Trivium delivered their ninth full-length, What the Dead Men Say, in April. Original bassist Brent Young died on September 25, 2020; he was 37 years old.
© Johnny Loftus /TiVo
© Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 31, 2015 | Roadrunner Records
For better and worse, Trivium haven't made the same album twice since 2005's Ascendancy. In keeping with their own tradition, they tossed out plenty to reinvent themselves on Silence in the Snow. Drummer Nick Augusto has been replaced by drum tech Matt Madiro, and producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette takes the chair previously inhabited by David Draiman on Vengeance Falls. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy makes great strides in his quest to become a rock singer. It's true that he's been moving in this direction since Shogun, but for this date he worked with vocal coach Ron Anderson. His voice is enormous and his delivery clean throughout. In the past, the guitars provided the melodic focus in Trivium's songs, but here Heafy's singing claims that role. The first single and title track was demoed for 2008's masterpiece Shogun. It was left unfinished because it didn't fit the record's vibe. The nearly processional riff, the sweeping power metal bridge, and the hyperkinetic rolling tom-toms and bass drums, lay the groundwork for Heafy's soaring, storm-gathering voice. The chorus and hook are infectious and heavy. There's an urgent, almost straight-ahead stadium rock vibe to second single "Blind Leading the Blind," but the dual lead work and melodic tension in the vocal add contrast; Madiro's drums alternately swing and pummel, creating force and friction. "Pull Me from the Void" is slower, with its melodic breakdowns and galloping drums opening a space for Heafy's vocal to deliver a near pop melody. Third single "Until the World Goes Cold" is, despite a metal riff in the intro, melodic hard rock. Corey Beaulieu's and Heafy's formidable dual leads, thrumming bassline, and machine-gun drumming in the instrumental passages add heft to the hypnotic melody. "The Ghost That's Haunting You" offers the most emotional lyric and catchy chorus on the set even as the downward bang of the guitars and Paolo Gregoletto's single-line bass plays the changes. Two songs, "Dead and Gone" and "Beneath the Sun," contain virtually the same chorus -- an unthinkable notion on earlier records. But it isn't due to lack of imagination, but rather the pursuit of a single-minded creative focus. On Silence in the Snow, Trivium seem to have (finally) decided to become the arena rock band they've been inspired by and had in them. (Your own particular prejudice will decide if this is good or bad.) Every other record in their catalog hinted at their further development as a metal unit; this one doesn't. Trivium are using the building blocks of metal to pursue a wider, more nuanced, musical direction. © Thom Jurek /TiVo