Trivium: Vengeance Falls review

\"VengeanceWho would have ever imagined that from their humble beginnings, playing Metallica covers at a high school talent show, that metal masters Trivium would have evolved into one of metal’s premiere acts on the forefront of what is relevant in music today. Their newest offering from Roadrunner Records entitled “Vengeance Falls,” sees the band further fulfilling their evolutionary potential and is their heaviest and most melodic effort to date.

Frontman Matt Heafy explains that the new album is, “the culmination of everything we\’ve gone through up to this point. It is the representation of struggle endured from within and experienced from the world. Every success and every failure has lead us to this moment”. That moment, finds the band in the same precarious position Metallica found themselves in when they released the black album.

Any time a band changes direction towards a more melodic approach, they enter a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. If you release an album that receives critical acclaim, that is accepted by mainstream audiences, it alienates the die hard fan base and you end up labeled a sellout. At the same time, you walk the razors edge of the new fans revisiting your earlier works, only to find out they don’t care for it.

It is a transition that is hard for most bands to achieve, but with the help of Disturbed’s David Draiman on production duties and Colin Richardson handling the mixing, Trivium have traversed the abyss successfully. Draiman’s influence is obvious throughout. Not just in the much improved and more polished production, but in the song structures themselves. The result is a shift in sound that is more Disturbed, rather than the Metallica sound of previous endeavors.

The lumbering rhythms and pummeling breakdown of opener “Brave The Storm” are akin to “Crusader” era Trivium and really showcase the prowess of drummer Nick Augusto, bassist Paolo Gregoletto and guitarist Corey Beaulieu. “Villainy Thrives,” “Incineration:The Broken World,” and title track “Vengeance Falls” are all reminiscent of classic Trivium in the vein of “Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation” or “The Rising,” interwoven with Disturbed saturated choruses.

The sledgehammer riffs and seething dual solos of lead single and video “Strife” are equal parts In Flames and Five Finger Death Punch. While tracks like “No Way To Heal” and “To Believe” will enthrall disciples of All That Remains or Avenged Sevenfold. The Type O Negative vocal delivery, in the opening moments of closer “Wake (The End Is Night)” feels somehow out of place, until it reaches an apex that would make Slipknot proud.

Here’s the bottom line. When an artist releases an album of this nature, that puts fans so far out of their perceived comfort zones, it is a gamble. If you can listen to this with an open mind and appreciate it for all that it is, instead of vacillating about everything you think that it’s not, you may just end up with a new favorite Trivium album.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Eric Hunker