Really and truly it has become abundantly clear that as the years have rolled on Trivium have become a band who are very difficult to define into a particular box. Each album cycle for the band feels like a completely different era to any they've been through already before. Where most bands shift in style and personality through the decades, Trivium have literally done the same in just a matter of years. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, a band's ability to mould and shape their music in different ways will ultimately define longevity for most but at the same time it can feel like at times that same band haven't quite 'found' their sound and clicked with it. For Trivium you could definitely argue that it's a bit of both. Stylistically the band continue with their truly metal stance on these sprawling tracks which dart from one thing to the next but it's the application of this that can come under question. One thing that's for certain - the band have definitely improved on their last outing Silence In The Snow. This was almost immediately clear on the release of the title track midway through the summer which displayed a band sounding more confident, brash and technical in their delivery.
This heightened sense of power and confidence appears to stem from the arrival of drummer Alex Bent on the continual Trivium percussion merry-go-round. Taking that title track as an example again, his performance is absolutely blistering, genuinely feeling like he's enhanced the rest of the band's technical tightness as a unit. His own background playing in a variety of bands of different styles will certainly help him getting to grips with the Trivium back catalogue lets put it that way. The other key driving force in the band is off course Matt Heafy who again feels like he is playing at a higher level than on the previous outing. You take tracks like the absolutely superb Thrown Into The Fire and the seven minute beast The Revanchist and they're packed with crushing riff work which will force your head to bang almost naturally.
As far as their direction on this record is concerned, it feels like a hybrid of standard Heavy Metal, a dash of Thrash and sprinkle of Power Metal intertwined together. They excel in moments that veer outside of the box and Heafy's brought back a yin and yang of harsh and clean vocals which is always welcome - great to hear he's confident enough with the condition of his voice to do so.
The problem on this record is the that with every great track like those mentioned, there is a blandard one in tow. There is definitely an argument here for the need to be a little harsher when cutting things to the editing floor but that's not a problem unique to Trivium. Fact is, at this point in their career they're doing damn fine if releasing a record with three or four absolute stonkers on it, so on that basis they've ticked all the boxes.
Overall then, Trivium have produced a fine Metal record with some real stand-out moments that are unfortunately counter-balanced by some more boring forgetful bits. With the incredible crop of albums that have come out across heavy music in the last two years you need to do A LOT to be mentioned within the same conversation, whilst this isn't a bad record, it doesn't quite get anywhere near those standards.