Just lately, Trivium have grown out of the “We want to be the next Metallica” era and transformed into a band which, although still divisive among the ever burgeoning legions of metal fans out there, has respectfully crafted songs which are more progressive, more solid and certainly more thought-provoking than say, anything on “Ascendancy”. “Shogun” showed their more versatile side and “In Waves” built upon the success of that album making for bigger, brighter sounds, and so it is left to the band’s latest album, “Vengeance falls”, to take the band on a more career-defining route. Having hired none other than David Draiman as producer (who himself has had more time on his hands since leaving Disturbed earlier this year), Trivium now seem even more ambitious than ever before.
Don’t worry, there aren’t as many cringe-worthy “OOH-AH-AH-AH” noises as you would think (There aren’t any at all thankfully), and the music sounds like anything but half-hearted Nu-Metal from a group of adolescents who think the entire world is against them, instead showcasing a fairly solid albeit inconsistent set of songs that may or may not change sceptics’ minds. People will surely revel in the aggressive, groove-laden structures of the title track, ‘Strife’ and ‘To believe’, and the harmonic, melodic guitar changes within both ‘At the end of this war’ and ‘Villainy thrives’ are both decent enough to boost anyone’s hopes of Trivium’s musical direction.
However, whilst the majority of “Vengeance falls” does prove decent at best, Matt Heafy’s vocals really sound like they need a strong kick. It’s the one thing that stops any song on the album from becoming even greater than it already is. Take ‘Strife’ for example, a song which virtually relies on the prominent guitar work courtesy of Heafy and Beaulieu, chopping and changing to keep the fans’ best interests at heart. Yet once Heafy begins singing, you really wish there was an edge. You know, at least something to make it the least bit interesting to simply nod along to, but not even the rather adventurous solos midway through the song can redeem this problem. Heafy’s clean vocals in the past have been divisive to say the least, but at least they made the frontman sound as if he was trying. Here, he sounds bored with himself, and unfortunately, this drags even the album’s best songs down to a quality that is just above average. It’s not all bad however. When Heafy produces harsher vocals (Although they aren’t as harsh as some people should like), as in the mid-section of both the title track and epic closer ‘Wake-The end is nigh’, it suddenly sounds much more natural, and a lot more effective to the casual listener. Perhaps if Heafy had introduced his harsher vocal style a lot more on “Vengeance falls”, then the album may well have sounded more interesting.
The instrumentation on this album isn’t a surprise, especially for those who have enjoyed Trivium’s past two albums. There’s a slightly cleaner production than on both “Shogun” and “In waves”, and this largely helps the rhythm section, particularly the drums and guitars, to sound choppier and fresher than ever before. The bass is less audible in general, but this is more than made up for by the enigmatic duo that is Beaulieu and Heafy and the solos contained within, which always manage to keep the mid-section of opener ‘Brave this storm’, ‘No way to heal’ and ‘Incineration: The broken world’ all the more exciting to listen to. The drum patterns are sometimes simplistic, as on the title track and ‘Through blood and dirt and bone’, and at other times a bit experimental, such as the verse sections of ‘To believe’ and arguably the album’s most furious song on the album, ‘Villainy thrives’.
All this said, Vengeance falls is decent enough to both please long-time fans of the band and perhaps convince those harsh critics who are still convinced Trivium are a pathetic Metalcore band attempting to be the next Metallica. Yet within each and every song of the album, it just seems like there’s a vital ingredient missing-The icing on the cake if you will. It’s hard to define exactly what this missing, magical ingredient is. It could be Heafy’s weaker clean vocals, it could be the sometimes hit and miss rhythm section in a couple of songs towards the end, or it could even be the fact that the first half of the album, up until ‘At the end of this war’, is made up of too similar song structures. Whatever it is, “Vengeance falls” will surely please the fans, but probably won’t change anyone’s mind. If anything, this is simply more ammunition to all the haters, giving them reason to dislike the band even more.
1. Brave this storm
2. Vengeance falls
4. No way to heal
5. To believe
6. At the end of this war
7. Through blood and dirt and bone
8. Villainy thrives
9. Incineration: The broken world
10. Wake (The end is nigh)