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REVIEW: Trivium – “Silence in the Snow”

 

Staying true to their most recent efforts, Trivium’s latest effort is indicative of a much welcomed growing maturity, rather than yet another reinvention.

Earlier this month, Trivium released their new record Silence in the Snow. This is the first of their albums to feature new drummer Matt Madiro (joined May 2014). Remaining in the same vein as their last two studio releases (In Waves, and Vengeance Falls), the Florida boys have fine-tuned their formula and sound, showcasing a musical maturity if not a showcase of their technical potential.

Trivium’s sound has evolved throughout their career. From their (melodic)metalcore beginnings in Enter to Enferno and Ascendancy, to their thrash metal Crusade, more progressive thrash metal Shogun, and a return to their metalcore roots in In Waves and Vengeance Falls — the band has demonstrated a character arc of musical evolution and maturity. Silence in the Snow continues this arc, taking a direction of musicians perfecting their craft instead of turning to adventurous new frontiers. For fans, this is a welcome direction, as their dedication for perfecting their brand of craft shines through.

Silence in the Snow starts off with “Snofall,” which is an orchestral intro, written by Ihsahn from Emperor. Hopefully this intro does not put anyone off the rest of the album. The composition is amateurish. Being so obviously recorded with MIDI instruments does it no favours either.

A sonic summary of the album is f1280x720ound in the title track, “Silence in the Snow.” Like the track, the album as a whole plays out very much in the metalcore field, but this time with a little spice of power metal inspiration. A triumphant and melodic main theme, touches of lead guitar work through transitional material, clean vocals most of the way through, and lyrics depicting a clear picture/story all come across as a power metal vibe.

The entire album is filled with empowering tracks. For example, songs like “Blind Leading The Blind,” “Rise Above the Tides,” and “ Breathe in the Flames” will get any crowd riled up, and fool a listener into thinking they can run a 10km in under 50 minutes (guilty as charged). It has been a while since a metal record has had this effect on me. Then again, I am partial to any kind of music that has this particular effect.  

Silence in the Snow is the linchpin of the signature sound Trivium has been crafting since their 2011 effort In Waves: parallel octave guitar passages leading up to solo work; dual guitars in major 3rd harmonies laid over the last chorus/coda; Matt Heafy’s Hetfield inspired (no longer carbon copied) clean vocals; and their signature major 6th harmony suspensions are all present in spades. Trivium is at their Trivium-est now that they have a confident self-identity.

Matt Madiro is a welcome addition to the band. With a number of names having been in the spot, it’s hard not to make comparisons. His style displayed throughout the record harkens to the band’s earlier work than it does their latest efforts, and it is a breath of fresh air as it compliments the overall instrumentation than attempting to leave a forced mark. Madiro is more in the vein of an educated school of drumming, rather than tiresome blast-beats-for-days.

The vocals are now exclusively clean, following Heafy blowing out his voice in 2014. The guttural screams and death rattle are not missed, only because the excellent vocal work doesn’t leave you wanting. As a guitarist, I have to comment on the tone. I know that Heafy and Beaulieu have gone on to use Kemper systems exclusively for live performances, and it makes sense – it’s simple, easy to set up, consistent tone, interchangeable should it fail, and built for the road. But I fear that they have used it in the studio, because it sounds excessively polished (most notable on the title track). But this is hardly a complaint, and more a testament to the high production quality.

 

 

Although a solid record, memorable, and worth constant listens, this is not all Trivium is capable of as musicians. This is a walk in the park for these boys; as musicians they are capable of much more and have proven so in the past (see: Shogun). Despite not being a complaint of the album itself, Silence in the Snow is not an example of all they have to offer as musicians. This does, however, show the maturity previously mentioned. They are not interested in showing off, or trying to outdo other bands or themselves. Instead, they are interest in crafting the best piece of music, however that may be. For that, I commend them.

Trivium’s new record Silence in the Snow is a tightly crafted effort by a band that has finally discovered themselves and are out to refine instead of redefine. Thier melodic metalcore roots are as strong as ever, if peppered with inspiration of power metal. This record is a sign that they will please old fans, and welcome in new fans looking for something catchy and inspired.

 

Final Verdict: 9/10
Favourite Tracks: “Silence in the Snow,” “Blind Leading the Blind,” “The Ghost That’s Haunting You,” “Until the World Goes Cold,” “Breathe in the Flames”
FFO: In Flames, As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, Atreyu
Trivium: Website // Facebook // Youtube // iTunes

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