TITLE: WHAT THE DEAD MEN SAY
LABEL: WARNER MUSIC
WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
Trivium have often been accused of inconsistency throughout their decade-spanning career, however 2017’s The Sin And The Sentence was a welcome return to form for Matt Heafy and co, who have expanded further upon their signature blend of metalcore and thrash with new record What The Dead Men Say. Building upon The Sin And The Sentence’s complexities and classic metal influences, Trivium fully demonstrate their musical talent, with Heafy’s vocals at a career high, as well as his synthesis with fellow guitarist Corey Beaulieu coming to the forefront from the very beginning of the album, in a flawless transition from instrumental opener ‘IX’ into title track ‘What The Dead Men Say.’
With his clean vocals retaining their thrashier James Hetfield edge, those iconic screams that made ‘In Waves’ into such an anthem sound more powerful than ever. Of course their metalcore origins are also not ignored on this record, with the title track boasting several breakdowns that many modern metalcore icons would be envious of. It is the blend between this classic thrash sound and that original Poison The Well form of metalcore that have made Trivium into the force they are today – appealing to both older fans and new, in a sound that is timeless and yet modern at the same time.
“Those iconic screams that made ‘In Waves’ into such an anthem sound more powerful than ever.”
The complexity of this album is not to be understated either, with only two tracks falling under the 4.5 minute mark, which gives the songs room to breathe, while also allowing the band to add in those smaller details which make an album truly great. ‘Catastrophist’ is the longest track on the album, but is arguably already a fan favourite following its release as the lead single, and those huge choruses of “You’re a catastrophe” are going to sound absolutely massive on the big stages where Trivium truly shine. That chorus has the potential to elevate Trivium like ‘In Waves’ did so many years ago. Not only is it extremely catchy however, but the mid-point of the song boasts a tremendous breakdown powered by Alex Bent’s powerful double kick-drum that would finish off most songs. Trivium however, don’t let up, keeping up a blistering pace that is powered by the rhythm section of Bent and Paolo Gregoletto throughout the album’s not inconsiderable running time.
Despite ‘Catastrophist’s catchiness however, the standout track of the album comes in the form of ‘The Defiant.’ It is quintessentially Trivium, melding soaring guitars with Heafy’s screams before hitting a melodic chorus that is oddly reminiscent of some of Slipknot’s more melodic work. One of Trivium’s great strengths has always been writing an incredible chorus, and ‘The Defiant’ is some of their best work to date, transitioning from harsh verses into melodic choruses while still maintaining that edge with some brutal backing screamed vocals. Including a guitar solo as part of a breakdown is an inspired choice, and one that truly blends together Trivium’s influences, as well as allowing the band to showcase their musicianship.
“One of Trivium’s great strengths has always been writing an incredible chorus, and ‘The Defiant’ is some of their best work to date!”
This is an album that is clearly festival headliners in the making, and quite frankly it would be a waste if these songs were not played to huge crowds. There is constant talk of who will replace the old guard of metal as headliners, and Trivium have quite confidently put their hat in the ring. With their broad appeal and their unshakeable metal credentials, who better to replace the old-school thrash bands than with a band who took those influences and ran with them to the moon. Trivium are back on top, and they are damn good up there.