Album review: TRIVIUM – What The Dead Men Say

Roadrunner Records [Release date 24.04.20]

In the uncertain world of virus and lockdown that we are currently facing it can be a joyless existence. Tours postponed, album releases delayed and little in the way of light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully Trivium have bucked that trend and gone ahead with the launch of ‘What The Dead Men Say’, the ninth album from the Florida outfit to brighten the horizon.

For anyone familiar with the Trivium musical formula they will not be disappointed with this album. Their last album ‘The Sin And The Sentence’ I felt was a step back from the excellent ‘Silence In The Snow’. ‘Silence…’ was the first album to feature a mostly clean and clear vocal delivery from frontman Matt Heafy, rather than his previous gruffer style, which I felt suited the music well. On this album they have picked up where they left off on ‘Silence…’ and for me the album is so much better as a result.

The instrumental opening piece ‘IX’ starts things off well from a gentle acoustic guitar which then changes into chunky riffs and powerhouse drumming. This leads into the album title track which is Trivium at their best, fast, furious and heavy with a great melody.

One of the lead tracks from the album that hinted at its potential is up next in the shape of ‘Catastrophist’. This track is built on fantastic guitar work from Heafy and Conor Beaulieu and features a massive mid-section which will cause mayhem in the pit when played live. Newest band member Alex Bent on drums excels on this track with punishing double bass drum work.

‘Amongst The Shadows And The Stones’ follows on in a similar vein with a relentless onslaught of heaviness coupled with a harmonious chorus and tasty dual guitar passages. A rasping bass line from Paulo Gregoletti opens ‘Bleed Into Me’ which slows the pace but is no less heavy and contains one of Heafy’s best vocal outings on the album. Things quickly return to full pelt though with ‘The Defiant’ which is heavy and brooding and builds to a climactic ending.

With a title probably a bit close to home at the moment ‘Sickness Unto You’ is another infectious rocker with full on riffs which assault your senses and take no prisoners. ‘Scattering The Ashes’ follows to continue the heaviness, before ‘Bending The Arc Of Fear’ pushes everything to 11 with breakneck fretwork and frantic drumming.

The album is rounded off with ‘The Ones We Leave Behind’ and again this is classic Trivium with all the hallmarks of the band’s sound in place, great harmonies and melodies galore.

They may be 9 albums in but Trivium are improving with age and maturity, both in song writing and delivery. Matt Heafy is producing some of his best vocal performances of the band’s career and musically the guys are on top form.

Hopefully once the world gets back to some semblance of order we will see Trivium back on the road and able to give this album the promotion it richly deserves.  ****

Review by Dave Wilson

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