Before we get the latest offering from Trivium, I’m going to give a little rundown of their discography. Ember to Inferno came out in 2003 and was their debut album. Heavy guitar riffs from Matt Heafy paired with Brent Young‘s prevalent and speaker shaking bass is an amazing album to introduce you to the band. The production wasn’t the greatest but it made for a unique listening experience that you want to listen to again and again.
Ascendancy followed in 2005 and saw numerous line-up changes and additions. Brent Young was replaced by Paolo Gregoletto and lead singer/guitarist Matt Heafy was joined by Corey Beaulieu. Member changes weren’t the only change, Ascendancy was the first album on Roadrunner Records, which many sought to disown Trivium for “selling-out” but in fact this is their greatest album even to date (spoiler?…) This album was great because of how brutal the vocals were when paired with the extremely clean choruses. Only complaint is that the bass seemed non-existent, a key element that made Ember to Inferno. I was able to forgive that due to the epic guitar solos that were at the forefront of the album. If you want an example of the guitar work, listen to A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation. Corey and Heafy basically have a guitar battle in the middle of the of the song. Highly, highly recommended for anybody, fan of the deathcore genre or not.
This is where Trivium gets a bad reputation. Just a year after Ascendancy was released Trivium “called an audible” if you will. Instead of going for the deathcore route like their previous two albums, they went an put out an album that’s comparable to going from a 16-cylinder Bugatti Veyron to a four-cylinder Toyota Corolla. Alright, it’s not that bad, but it’s definitely not that great. For a Trivium album, it is absolutely horrendous. The only really good part is the guitar work; the vocals are too soft and the lyrics are like listening to Japanese anime, people turn into dragons… Seriously, it’s pretty bad. With something this bad, 2008’s Shogun has little room to be worse, and actually it was really good. It jumped from the Corolla up to an Aston Martin DBS. It’s good and really a step in the right direction. The vocals are back to death growls mixed with very clean and catchy choruses. The rest of the instrumentation has been replenished back to the old school format of being amazing; the riffs are back, the double-bass from drummer Travis Smith is back, just a very good redeeming album.
So there was their history, now the real question is how does In Waves stack up to the predecessors?
Before In Waves was released or even talked about, Shattering the Skies Above was made just for the God of War III soundtrack and it showed some good things. Well a year and a half later, things are a bit different. I was really liking the blast beats from newly acquired Nick Augusto, unfortunately they are not featured on In Waves. Which makes sense because Matt Heafy stated that they were going for more of an Ascendancy feel to this album and Ascendancy does not have any blast beats. Since they have started, no two Trivium albums sound the same, until now. In Waves does have more of the vocal style that Ascendacy and Ember to Inferno has, the technicality of the guitar work that Shogun has and absolutely no elements of The Crusade.
In Waves starts out with Capsizing the Sea, it carries the rhythm and the sound that leads directly into the title track without missing a beat, it flows so smoothly that if you didn’t know the track listing you would think it was the same song. I really have a liking for that kind of fluidity, which is why the album Colors by Between the Buried and Me is so freakin’ awesome. After the first two tracks, the rest of the album just goes on, each song ends and the other just begins, with no fluidity whatsoever, which isn’t really a bad thing being this isn’t supposed to be a concept album. This is going to sound like something bad but really it isn’t: each song is basically the same. Starting with some heavy guitar riffs, then followed by some death growls, chorus, more guitar riffs, clean singing, guitar solo, guitar riffs, and then we have the outro. Sounds like a recipe for a boring album, but each song has it’s little tweaks that make the song ever-so-slightly unique. Some of the songs end with no warning and some end with a fade-out, giving it a nice change of pace. Also, each song’s choruses are catchy in their own right; some you find yourself nodding your head along with the beat and some times you may find yourself chanting with enjoyment.
One thing that really make this album unique is track listing. If you buy the regular edition of the album you won’t really know what I am talking about, but if you look at the special edition you will notice something very strange. With the special edition you will get a whopping five extra tracks. Normally these would be added at the end of the album, but Trivium decided to call another audible. The five extra tracks are mixed through-out the album. So essentially if you buy the special edition you are getting a completely different album. I, myself, bought the special edition and I would strongly recommend buying the physical copy of it, it also comes with a DVD about the making of the album, a live concert of Trivium, and a few music videos making it worth the few extra bucks. Getting back to the bonus songs, they don’t seem like bonus tracks, they just seem like a natural addition t0 the album.One of the bonus songs, Ensnare the Sun, is actually what I was looking for in this album, its basically and acoustic instrumental track that gives you a little bit of a break in the action. This is what Trivium needs to do, create mellow easy listening songs within their albums, not an entire album devoted to” hard rock”, e.i. The Crusade. Ensnare the Sun is what they need to show their dexterity when it comes to making metal music
So to go back and answer the aforementioned question, it is on par with its predecessors, and in the case of The Crusade it stands miles ahead of it. It is definitely one that shouldn’t be missed. I hate to do this to such a good album but some of the standout songs are: In Waves, Inception of the End, Dusk Dismantled and Caustic are the Ties that Bind.
Overall: 8.5 out of 10