There has been no shortage of new heavy metal this year. Some of it even coming from the typical show stopping headliners like ‘In This Moment’ and ‘Five Finger Death Punch’. Sadly though, it has mostly just been a bunch of repetitive and unmemorable tracks (like the new albums of the two bands I just listed) or just sloppy noise. A few bands like ‘Code Orange’ and ‘Polaris’ had songs on their albums that truly knocked your socks off, but were mostly filled with poorly mixed tracks that mistake raising the levels of the lead vocals for “going hard”. A phrase my kids like to toss around.
Then, I heard the new album by ‘Trivium’. Within a few minutes, the album builds to its title track and begins to show a life these other metal albums have not. The whole album is filled to the brim with riffs that build and shift from one double bass pedal wielding bridge, to a palm muting guitar solo that will knock your socks off. Songs like “Catastrophist” and “Amongst the Shadows & the Stones” push this shifting intensity to such a degree that they might just leave the more enthusiastic listener a bit exhausted.
Now, this doesn’t mean the whole thing is great. The first 20 minutes is so much better than the last half and it’s quite discernible. However, the second half has a few gems as well, and the overall package doesn’t suffer. Most importantly though, the mixing is spot on. Two many metal bands today think that throwing a screaming imbecile on top of some loud guitar riffs is music, but metal works like any other genre. The screams need to be in harmony with the guitar and the rest needs to flow. It also helps if the lead singer can actually sing a bit.
‘Trivium’ has all that in spades, and their latest album is a clear reflection of their talent. This album might not be as consistent as some of last years best rock albums, but it’s best tracks truly stick. Which is why this is my favorite metal album of 2020 so far!