Trivium “Vengeance Falls”

originally posted on Saturday, 16 November 2013

I’ve spoken negatively on “metalcore” before. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it. I do. It is good music to listen to when you want something loud, but in many cases, that’s all it is good for. Some bands stand out over others, but much of the time, it is the same blend of screaming and clean vocals; sometimes these clean vocals can be quite melodic, and sometimes just bland. A must in the genre seems to be fast virtuoso guitar playing with notes going so fast that you can’t even remember what just happened. Then there are the haters; the people who, no matter how hard the band tries to change their sound or whatever, still hate the band for everything they are.

Trivium is a bright light among the genre of “metalcore”, most particularly because they don’t want to be “Metalcore”. From the get go they’ve had a unique and evident thrash metal influence in their sound, they just were unfortunate to have come out in the climax of a metal fad that had singer Matt Heafy opting to use the guttural vocal approach. It wasn’t until the third album that Trivium really did what they wanted by releasing The Crusade, which is a thrash metal album, not “metalcore” at all. But, of course, there were the haters; the same people who criticized the band for how they sounded on their first two albums complaining about how the band changed their sound. These people really don’t make sense to me. Luckily, when professional critics had their say on the album, they had many good things to say about it.

The band seemingly took the criticism to heart, though, and released another two albums that feature heavy use of guttural vocals. Only now, Matt Heafy is not so afraid to use his clean vocal style of singing, sometimes even throughout a full song. The band had managed to release five rather different albums: the introductory Ember to Inferno, Ascendancy (which is slightly similar to the debut album, with some minor tweaks,) The Crusade (as previously described,) the progressive Shogun, and then the healthy blend of “metalcore” and thrash metal album In Waves.

For what I believe to be the first time in their career, Trivium decided not to change things up very drastically at all with the release of their sixth and most recent album Vengeance Falls. With one exception; the album is definitely louder. It is also very well produced, as Disturbed/Device frontman David Draiman took the realms of producer for the album and gave the band somewhat of a rejuvenated sound. The song styles, however, are very similar to In Waves, in the sense that there is an equal blend of “metalcore” and straight forward heavy metal.

The first track, Brave This Storm starts the album off with breakdowns similar to that of “metalcore,” with the usage of guitar chords being strummed at the same pace as the double bass drum kicks. The vocal approach for the song is more of a clean nature, except for the bridge/breakdown (how typical) and guitar playing by both Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu aren’t too showy. The title track to Vengeance Falls has one of the better guitar riffs that Trivium has ever recorded. There is another guttural vocal breakdown to this song as well. Luckily it is shorter than on the previous track.

No Way To Heal is the first song on the album to feature guttural vocals at more than just one part of the song. To Believe is the first song on the album to feature not guttural vocals. Well maybe a bit at the end. Regardless, besides those two facts, the songs aren’t much different from the albums opening tracks. It is the next track, At The End Of This War that the band kind of changes things up again. The song starts off acoustically for about forty-seconds, only to have the music take a complete 180 and turn into one of, if not the fastest paced song on the album. I enjoy the music’s effect to this song, sounding like there is a war happening that this song could be the soundtrack to. I also enjoy the mix of guttural and clean vocals, including the melodies on the songs clean vocals.

I like the lyrical themes of Villainy Thrives, as well as the vocal range of Matt Heafy, which he proves has improved. The heaviest song on the album is without a doubt Incineration: The Broken World, which features the most guttural vocals on the entire album. The album ends with Wake [The End Is Nigh] which is a change in the Trivium’s sound. The intro of the song sounds like the devil himself coming after you in suave fashion, with Matt’s slow but very low vocal approach. The song picks up in volume and pace, and just gets more and more aggressive as it goes forward, and subtly has multiple parts to it, practically taking away the songs almost six-minute length from any listeners attention. Truly a terrific ending to a pretty good metal output.

While I don’t feel there is many difference in style between this album compared to In Waves, I do find the album to be a little more memorable after the first couple of listens. Vengeance Falls is a little more appealing to listen to, though I wouldn’t rank in among their best albums. The band does, however, continue to be their own band and doesn’t take note from fellow modern metal contemporaries, which one can’t help but admire.

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT

Strife” -­ The first song released from the album. When I first heard this song, I was excited by how it sounded like a thrash metal song, similar to that of what was released on The Crusade. The opening guitar riff doesn’t sound typical to most Trivium songs, and the well thought out melodies of the songs vocals are so well thought out, just like many of the best moments Trivium’s past songs. The only guttural vocals heard are in some of the backing vocals. The bridge of this song also could be argued to have guttural vocals, but really all that is being said is “hey” (at least I think it’s “hey”), but it’s merely a chant, likely for a crowd to sing along with when performing the song live.

FINAL RATING

(Out of 10)

Track List:

“Brave This Storm” 4:29
“Vengeance Falls” 4:13
“Strife” 4:29
“No Way to Heal” 4:05
“To Believe” 4:32
“At the End of This War” 4:47
“Through Blood and Dirt and Bone” 4:26
“Villainy Thrives” 4:54
“Incineration: The Broken World” 5:52
“Wake (The End Is Nigh)” 6:00
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