Trivium have been a band which has been undergoing somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. Bolstered by the addition of new drummer Alex Bent, the quartet has been growing and garnered a Grammy nomination for best metal performance. With this now being their ninth album and second with aforementioned Alex Bent, all eyes are on the band to see what they will do after the excellent success of the previous album.
Opening up the album, “IX” and “What The Dead Men Say” hearken back to days of Ascendancy with the former having a semi-acoustic style to it and the latter bringing in the unique style of riffs the band have become famous for. Whilst the latter track is a very different beast to “Rain”, it feels very much like its older more refined brother with vocalist Matt Heafy’s harsh vocals sounding particularly excellent. Following track and first single from the album “Catastrophist” brings in some of the elements that have been introduced in later records from the band. Layered down tuned guitar harmonies, clean vocals and superb drumming from Bent combine to create one of the finest tracks on the album.
“Amongst The Shadows And The Stones” brings the heavy from the first few seconds and has a style reminiscent of “The Wretchedness Inside” from the previous album, with the blend of harsh and clean vocals being executed perfectly. It’s a style which perfectly works for the band and is a track that will no doubt go down a storm live. “Bleed Into Me” follows and showcases the absolutely gorgeous bass tone that Paulo has. Add in the cracking guitar harmonies courtesy of Matt and Corey and you’ve got the recipe for another one of the best tracks on the album.
The throwbacks keep on coming with “The Defiant” hearkening back to the days of In Waves in its compositional style. Everything from the riffs, mixed clean and harsh vocals and drum patterns sings of that era of Trivium and, unlike what you might think, it fits the album perfectly. “Sickness Unto You” takes things in a slightly different direction with some of the elements introduced in the previous album coming to bear. It’s very similar in creation to “Sever the Hand” in that it goes through many different sections whilst retaining flow. It’s another track that will no doubt get the pits moving and heads banging in a live set.
Second Opinion (Mosh) When Trivium first hit the scene way back when I thought they were OK, but overall just another band making a bit of a stir courtesy of a lot of publicity. Then they matured, and developed, and grew and became one of the acts I always look for when the new albums are announced.
What the Dead Men Say is as varied and enjoyable an album as they’ve ever released. From the clean Metallica-esque notes of “IX” to the massively heavy chorus of “Amongst the Shadows and the Stone” (Did Jamey Jasta have a hand in this? It sounds like it), right up to the more melodic “Scattering The Ashes” this is almost a best-of compilation, showing off the band’s diverse output… only it’s all new material. I’m thoroughly enjoying this one!
“Scattering the Ashes” continues the more modern feel and has a style similar to “Endless Night” with its clean vocal harmonies and riffs having an overall more up-beat feel to them. It’s one of the more reflective tracks and in many ways is one of the surprises of the album. It is a welcome one however, as it provides a nice pause from the intensity of some of the other tracks. The pause comes to an abrupt end when the first few seconds of following track “Bending The Arc To Fear” come into form. It’s also on this track where you can hear some of the black metal influences most prominently with the blast beats and riffs having some semblance to the style. They’re done in the style of Trivium though, so, again, it doesn’t sound out of place at all.
Rounding out the album, “The Ones We Leave Behind” takes the form of one of the more epic Trivium tracks with super speed drumming reminiscent of Ascendency, up-lifting riffing echoing In Waves and the balance of harsh and clean vocals being executed perfectly. It’s easily one of the best tracks on the album and might well be one of the best tracks the band has written. It really does end the album on a high and will be one that’ll be perfect to end a live show with.
With The Sin And The Sentence being a true step up for the band, it initially seemed difficult to see if the band would be able to top it with this album. Those doubts can be cast aside however, as this album more than delivers the goods. It feels like a true refinement of what was explored on the previous album and flows perfectly as an album. What The Dead Men Say is quintessentially Trivium and showcases a band that is at the top of their game.
What The Dead Men Say will be released through Roadrunner Records on April 24. Pre-order on Amazon and you help support this site.