Trivium – ‘Vengeance Falls’ Album Review

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Whilst a handful of malcontents continue to malign Trivium, it seems that the rampant ‘In Waves’ finally highlighted what fans have known all along – that Trivium are one of the most consistently thrilling of the new wave of thrash bands, lashing out with songs that juxtapose power with a melodic sensibility that is as addictive as it is irresistible. ‘In waves’ was a monstrous album, full of brilliantly conceived hooks and suitably brutal passages, and the hotly anticipated ‘Vengeance Falls’ looks set to further develop  the band’s tightly honed and brilliantly polished metallic assault.

Unlike ‘in waves’, which eased itself into your consciousness, ‘Vengeance falls’ opens on the metallic ‘brave this storm’, a chunky beast that vocally comes on like mid-period Metallica with a typically strong chorus. Musical marmite to metal fans, it is quite likely that those who despise Trivium with a fiery passion will find only further fuel for their ire here, but for those who appreciate the band’s unerring ability to carve huge melodic niches into seemingly ferocious riffs, it is another powerful anthem that will undoubtedly excel in the live arena. The title track sees vocal harmonies going up against deathly growls and a stadium-sized chorus that sees the band unashamedly attempting to get the entire audience to stand with lighters aloft right up until a brutal beat-down that tears a metallic hole right through the centre of the song allowing a suitably bristling solo to burst forth. ‘Strife’ has an Iron Maiden feel to its harmonised guitar solo introduction before turning into a full-tilt, multi-dimensional animal that sees Trivium at their most confrontational, albeit without compromising the melodic sensibility that has huge audiences eating out of the band’s hand at concerts. ‘No way to heal’ is another master-class in duelling guitars, the opening lines mired in the heart of classic rock before a series of soul-cleansing roars blow away the cobwebs and drag the song into the here and now, the chrome-plated riffs barely disguising the melodic core to the song. It’s familiar Trivium ground, of course, but the band play with such unfettered enthusiasm and joy that only the most cynical would fail to get caught up in the adrenalin-charged riffs and huge swathes of melody pouring from the speakers.

Giving over to the primitive urge to crush the audience, ‘to believe’ has a massive, dynamic central riff that is guaranteed to get heads a-banging while ‘at the end of this war’ provides contrast by introducing a simple acoustic guitar into the mix. Brief though the interlude may be, it does much to underscore the power of the band’s riffs as they come storming back in, and the song, a wild thrill ride through metallic pastures, is a highlight of the album. ‘Through blood, dirt and bone’ exists on a similar thematic plane, but unleashes a mid-paced groove which provides the perfect framework for a song that is memorably melodic and layered in harmony. ‘Villainy thrives’ is a crunchy, lyrically powerful track that sounds like a hybrid of ‘Draconian Times’-era Paradise Lost, Machine Head and Metallica with its taut riffing and multi-faceted vocal approach building to a brutal climax. ‘Incineration: the broken world’ is a gleaming modern metal number that makes the most of the excellent guitar interplay that sits at the heart of Trivium’s approach and then the album concludes on ‘wake (the end is nigh)’, a song that recalls, more than anything else, Slipknot’s ‘snuff’ with its restrained, pained melody and sparse instrumentation, although the song explodes into violence in a manner that ‘Snuff’ resists, providing the album with a brutal pay-off in its final moments.

On ‘Vengeance falls’ Trivium have turned in another tight, often exhilarating performance, albeit one that lacks the invention and progression of ‘in waves’. Certainly the band, at this stage in their career, are unlikely to make converts of those not yet brought over to their side, and there’s a sense that ‘Vengeance falls’ is more about the band letting loose with furious riffs and blistering solos than endeavouring to ensnare new adherents to the cause. The result is an album that is often exciting, melodically memorable and typically Trivium, ensuring that it will be a firm favourite of those who bought into the band’s previous efforts without offering any sign of where the band are planning to head next. In staying still, Trivium will surely consolidate their position as a strong, melodic metal band, but the album as a whole lacks the innovative punch of ‘In waves’ and is a continuation of that record rather than a step forward. ‘Vengeance falls’ is, then, hugely enjoyable, but not an essential addition to the band’s catalogue.

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