Trivium – Ascendancy Review

Originally written by Tim Pigeon

There’s something to be said for arriving fashionably late to the party. The musical equivalent of this would be to jump into a developed genre well into its time in the public eye and proceed both to put the trendhoppers to shame, and to give the frontrunners a mighty scare. Trivium’s Roadrunner debut does just that. If you’ve read any of my recent concert reviews, you’ve heard me rave about these young Floridians. They seemed destined to be “the next big thing”, but for once, a worthy act is getting that acclaim.

Trivium play modern American metal, in the vein of Shadows Fall and God Forbid’s Gone Forever album, with an accessible bent. At the heart of their sound is a blazing thrash attack spearheaded by wunderkind guitarist/vocalist Matt Heafy. He just turned 19, but he shreds like a grizzly veteran. Between Heafy and Corey Beaulieu, the listener is spoiled by a wealth of vicious riffs and slick solos. The precise drumwork of Travis Smith only helps the band. Oh, and why not sugarcoat the album in perfect production, courtesy of Capharnaum mastermind, Jason Suecof?

An acoustic and piano intro is appropriate music to settle in and buckle up to, although as needless as most intros are. Then they quite naturally launch into a forceful track (“Rain”), just as they did on 2003’s very decent releaseEmber to Inferno. The next track is when they hit their full stride. Arch Enemy is certainly an influence here, with some Amott-style riffing and wah-soloing (more so on other songs than this one). As is also par for their course, Heafy unveils his clean singing voice for the chorus.  The cleans might seem just a little too smooth for some to take, in contrast to his usual lung-emptying shouts. “Drowned and Torn Asunder” just plain kills me with its catchy lyrics and superb guitarwork. “Dying in Your Arms” is such a blatant radio song, but even here the song drills its way into my head, despite the cheese. This is certainly due to the fact that these guys are great songwriters, especially at such a young age, none older than 22. “Departure” may never be as popular as the current single, “Like Light to the Flies”, but I appreciate the more adventurous tack they take, with repeated rises and falls in intensity.

Trivium can flat-out play metal, no question about it. If Ascendancy came out four or five years ago, they would be on top of the modern metal scene. I can’t fault them for being young, as they mesh enough influences from times of yore to be accused of just jumping on the bandwagon. As long as they can maintain the path for another couple albums, they’ll be theMetallica for this decade – that accessible metal band with enough chops and songwriting skill to appeal to a wide swath of the metal populace.

Great album.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.