You’ve got to hand it to Trivium, as what doesn’t kill them does appear to make them stronger. Touted as ‘the next big thing’ back in 2005 when their second album “Ascendancy” hit and they produced a stormer of a set at Download, but reactions to follow-up album “The Crusade” were lukewarm and accused the band of sounding too much like their heroes Metallica. Ever since then Trivium have continued to release a string of quality metal albums that has seen the band stamp their own identity on their music without repeating themselves and steadily evolving to this point, their sixth album “Vengeance Falls”.
Naturally the biggest talking point about this album – before it was even recorded – was the choice of producer, Disturbed frontman David Draiman. Draiman himself has proved to be something of a divisive figure in the world of metal and, if nothing else, the decision to have him produce the album will at least prompt some people who may not have given Trivium the time of day before to give them a try.
As it is, you can tell straight from the opening bars of ‘Brave the Storm’ that there has been some fine tuning to their sound, singer Matt Heafy’s vocals sounding supremely confident with the song’s soaring melodies whilst the band demonstrate strict control over the thrashing riffs and double kick drum flurries. It could be argued that Heafy tried the same thing back during “The Crusade” but here he sounds like a singer who knows what he wants to achieve and now has the years of experience to pull it off without sounding like a hero-worshipping teenager. Perhaps David Draiman’s influence is proving to be a good thing…
Lead single ‘Strife’ has a lighter melodic hook but welds some cast-iron riffing and searing solos over the top to great effect, as does the sprawling heaviness of ‘Through Blood & Dirt & Bone’. The unrelenting groove of ‘Villainy Thrives’ shows how far Trivium have come in forging their own identity, the song not a million miles in structure and sound from their older material but sounding so much fresher and more vital.
Overall, “Vengeance Falls” is a high-energy metal album from a band who aren’t ashamed to be as metal as they can and who seem to reveal a little more about themselves with each release. Is it their best release so far? Could be. It’s certainly their most interesting and in David Draiman they may have found a producer who knows how to tap into that certain something that makes all good metal bands great, and based on their performance here it looks like that definitive Trivium album may not be too far off.