I was caught on the hop with this review after a reminder kicked in that it’s out on Friday and “real” work and family have had me buried since I got my hands on it. It’s also a really difficult review to write as (spoiler) it’s really good. Which is pretty much not going to be a surprise given the high standards Trivium set for themselves.
Production and package-wise, this is absolutely top end. Every note and drumbeat is as crisp and clear as the paint strokes on the magnificent cover art (which you could have seen full size at Bloodstock this year). Stand up and take a bow, Mathieu Nozieres, for that masterpiece.
Paolo Gregoletto has used the word “epic” to describe the album and this very much comes across with several longer running lengths amongst the tracks. Three of the nine tip over seven minutes and three of the remainder are over five (opener “X” is a very short instrumental). He also mentioned the word “prog” and I would say that comes across more in the structure and flow of the album than in the songs themselves. There aren’t really any odd time signatures or anything particularly experimental, but the whole things feels a little “concept”-y. “The Shadow of the Abattoir” is definitely the “proggest” song and someone with more talent than I could easily rattle off a version with medieval instruments, just to prove a point.
However, the traditional varied Trivium sound is there in spades. The harsh and clean vocals, the annoyingly catchy riffs and that extra layer they throw over the NWOBHM influence that they wear on their sleeves – all present and correct. In fact, barring elements of that one song I’d say this is as close to a traditional metal album as I’ve heard from Trivium.
If you’re not banging your head to “In The Court of the Dragon”, air guitaring your way through “Feast of Fire” or singing your throat raw during “No Way Back Just Through” then you’re not paying enough attention.
Not everything Trivium do is perfect, they have had their ups and downs (in this reviewer’s opinion), but when they nail it, they nail it. In The Court Of The Dragon is one of those albums. I could listen to this one over and over. And probably will!
In The Court of the Dragon is out on October 8th