Trivium

In Waves

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AllMusic Review by

By and large, the heavy metal community can be counted on to listen with open ears and form individual, unbiased opinions, but some prejudices still run deep, and the members of Trivium have been on the receiving end of several of these throughout their career. Cursed by their own precociousness, musical malleability and, most problematic, their earnest ambition and self-confidence, the quartet has quite simply been blacklisted by a considerable swathe of listeners, led by self-appointed officers of the heavy metal poseur police, and helped none by their contract with leading heavy metal label Roadrunner, whose very success can ironically become an albatross around its bands' necks. As a result, Trivium have been dodging verbal barbs and metaphoric flying tomatoes ever since the modern melodic thrash of sophomore album Ascendancy (their first for Roadrunner, coincidentally), landed them on magazine covers and on stages with Metallica, who they proceeded to inadvisably clone on hit-and-miss third opus, The Crusade, before delivering a more brutal and technical sound on fourth album Shogun. But, since the latter still smacked unfairly against the immovable wall of the aforementioned prejudices, the group -- now armed with new drummer Nick Augusto -- obviously saw no other recourse than to revisit the less overwrought style of Ascendancy on its fifth studio album, 2011's In Waves. In doing so, Trivium prove that template to be their honest-to-goodness comfort zone, as song after song whips by, wedding equal doses of neo-thrash aggression and accessibility, represented by frontman Matt Heafy's alternating clean and gruff vocals as well as his and fellow guitarist Corey Beaulieu's jagged staccato riffs and tight-knit harmonies. Yes, results may vary from song to song, depending on the listener's tastes, but not Trivium's commitment to crafting fully realized, self-sufficient tracks under the stewardship of producer Colin Richardson (who stepped in for the less versatile Jason Suecof) and veteran Roadrunner A&R man Monte Conner (the man responsible for signing Sepultura, Cynic, and many more). But, naturally, despite all these merits (and, sure, imperfections, too), Trivium will probably be vilified once again for taking the same sort of creative backward step that the fans typically clamor for from Metallica, Slayer, and other bands on down; it's the essence of the Florida band's "can't win" lot in life, but there's always hope that this will change, in time.

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