I have long considered Trivium one of those bands that I could take or leave musically. For me they were that band that was right in the middle, solid work, good music but they never really left a big mark on me. I saw their first performance at Mayhem Festival and they played a great set, very committed musicians. So when In Waves rolled onto the beach I had a fairly ambivalent reaction to it. That is until I spent some serious listening time with In Waves, and here I am probably ten full listens later totally impressed with this outing from the Florida quartet.
The intro to the album is a rather unusual piano interlude, which quickly gives way to the title track of the release. Which, thanks to Heafy and company, kicks off with perfectly timed riffs and beats! The work of Heafy and Beaulieu on vocals and guitars unleash an emotion that I have not heard on a Trivium release, ever. Backed by perfectly timed beats of Gregaletto and Augusto this leaves us with a formation of pure metal. Gone are the days of screaming to scream and solo just because you can, now each note and scream are placed to create textures of metal not just heaped on a pile.
Versatility is also at that heart of In Waves, the interlude of beautifully woven solo and melodic vocals during “Caustic Are The Ties That Bind” shows that although founded in the metalcore tradition, Trivium can explore and layer the melodic and slow with the fast and furious in a perfectly appealing way. The sell for me on this release is the group commitment Trivium shows, each note and beat is pelted and belted at 110% by every member. Take “Forsake Not The Dream”, a technically complex song but each riff and beat are there to add a texture to the song that in the end gives us great musical prowess without having to hit the listener over the head with ultra fast double kicks or notes per second fret work. If you need yet one more example of versatility just give “Of All these Yesterdays” a listen, melodic, ebb and flow without sacrificing anything to the gimmick gods, it fits and it works.
In Waves has kicked my ass right off the fence and firmly in the Heafy and company camp. This was my lesson not to judge a release from a couple of indiscriminate listens and some preconceived notions of what will be in the tracks. When, as listeners we open that package and judge what’s inside before that plastic devil hits the laser beam in our players, is when we are doomed to experience nothing new. At the heart of the matter musicians are artists and their art deserves a fair shake. Trivium hit me over the head with In Waves, thanks for the wake up call and job well done!