I feel like I have said this a lot lately, but Trivium have been and always will be one of my favourite bands of all time. I have seen them live more than any other band (bar Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, but Trivs are gaining!) starting at Brixton Academy in 2011 and most recently at The Roundhouse this year! (where this blog’s cover photo comes from. Be sure to check out Jake Owens Photography for more photographic awesomeness. The dude’s fantastic).
As a result I have had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with Trivium. They have put out both metallic masterpieces that have gone on to influence many metalheads (myself included) as well as a couple of dud albums that may have initially showed promise, but turned out to be a bit lacking in the lustre department.
The upper part of this list was cripplingly hard to rank. So it’ll probably change in about a month…I’m indecisive at the best of times, so it’s a good thing I don’t keep writing definitive lists…oh wait
Enough jibber jabber. Lets ‘ave at it.:
#7 – Vengeance Falls (2013)
This. Was. A. Turkey. Words cannot describe the eternal disappointment that I felt when this album came out. What made it worse was that it was the follow up to In Waves (2011) (don’t worry, we’ll get there) which contained some of Trivium’s best material. Considering the brilliance of In Waves, and the fact that David Draiman would be producing, my interest was definitely peaked. Needless to say, that peak came crashing down like a church gargoyle on a passing tourist.
I will say however that there are some good moments on Vengeance Falls. “Strife” is a standout with a great melodic twang, whilst “Villainy Thrives” and the title track are also pumped full of juicy riffs. However, what bugged me the most was the clear influence that David Draiman had on this record. This may sound strange, as Disturbed are one of my favourite metal bands of all time, and naturally a combination of Draiman and Trivium should equal happy faces for me. But, in the great words of Beez, “I like peanut butter, and I like pizza, but I don’t want peanut butter on my pizza!” Vengeance Falls is easily the weakest album of Trivium’s back catalogue, and, like that alien that you hide in your basement, Vengeance Falls is best left to crawl out of the garage door never to be seen again.
Standout Songs: “Strife”, “Through Blood, Dirt and Bone”, “Villainy Thrives”
#6 – The Crusade (2006)
Prior to Vengeance Falls, this was my least favourite Trivium album (yes, I do have favourites, don’t worry!). BUT, looking back, I do recognise some moments of progression on The Crusade and realise it’s a record that had to be made. “Becoming the Dragon” and “Entrance of the Conflagration” maintain firier riffs than Dormammu’s summer barbeque, and “This World Can’t Tear us a Apart” is a beautifully harsh and balldious track (I do musicals…this should be no surprise).
My main issue with The Crusade isn’t that Matt Heafy dropped his resounding growl. Silence in the Snow (2015) had no screams either, and that’s one of my top records of that year. My biggest problem was that they had sliced the sound dimensions so thin that there was only one side to them. There’s still great solos and equally good riffs, but the album is fairly hit and miss. I think it might be because The Crusade wears its influences very clearly on its sleeve, whilst predecessors “Ember To Inferno” (2003) and “Ascendancy” (2005) gave the impression of a band influenced by the old school, but very much charging forward into the new. When compared against the rest of the band’s discography, it’s easy to see why The Crusade falls so low on this list. Whilst it’s the album that lead Trivium onto a tour with a little band called Iron Maiden, The Crusade is a sonic venture that Trivium haven’t really attempted since, and, in my humble opinion, they are better off for it.
Standout Songs: “Entrance of the Conflagration”, “Becoming the Dragon”, “This World Can’t Tear Us Apart”
#5 – Ember to Inferno (2003)
Despite it’s lower standing on this list, Ember is leaps and bounds better than The Crusade and Vengeance Falls. It’s a ballistically crushing debut, with the pummeling roll of “Pillars of Serpents” leading us into the next great evolution of metal band. The thrash influence is clear on songs like “Fugue (A Revelation)” and the sweltering title track, but does not wane in the light of Trivium’s unique brand of heavy metal. Heafy’s growls sound as raw as an undercooked steak fed through a threshing machine, whilst his clean singing provides brilliant moments of respite.
Ember to Inferno is a superbly balanced record, where flame drenched songs like “Requiem” and “To Burn the Eye” (which also features a thunderingly tremendous bass solo) can sit quite comfortably next to groovier cuts like “My Hatred” and “Falling to Grey.” As a whole, Ember shows of all the elements of a young, hungry, band of lions, ready to stake their claim over the metal world. The only reason that it’s not placed higher on this list is because of the absolutely galactic caliber of music that the band have released since this cripplingly unrelenting debut.
Standout Songs: “Pillars of Serpents”, “Ember to Inferno”, “My Hatred”
#4 – Silence in the Snow (2015)
I know what you’re all thinking:
“TRISTAN, what ARE you playing at? Placing this above Ember to Inferno? Were you dropped on your head recently?” (probably yes, but that’s beside the point).
Silence in the Snow is second album to not feature screaming and has become a real favourite of mine. Largely, as Matt Heafy’s super clean singing voice finally had it’s own stamp on it. After years of working on his technique and readjusting his voice, gone was the James Hetfield impression of yesteryear, and in its place a refined and matured singer standing triumphantly.
The grand opening and rumbling charge of the title track and “Blind Leading the Blind” is matched blow-for-blow by the tasty groovefests that are “Dead and Gone” and “Until the World Goes Cold.” “The Ghost that’s Haunting You” shows off Heafy’s newly found high register in full fledged banshee mode, whilst major standout “Rise Above the Tides” features one of the slickest and beastly guitar solos of Corey Beaulieu’s prolific tome of piercing guitarwork.
Silence in the Snow maintains Trivium’s brilliant riffing ability, whilst adjusting their sound to suit some newfound special abilities, and for that, it should be commended.
Standout Songs: “Blind Leading the Blind”, “Until the World Goes Cold”, “Rise Above the Tides”
#3 – In Waves (2011)
All together now *inhales deeply* “IIIIIIIIIINNNNN WOOIIIIVVVES!”
If you couldn’t tell by that intro, then I’ll tell you that I like this record. I really like this record. I like it more than Donald Drumpf likes fake news. I like it more than Garfield likes lasagna. You get the idea.
In Waves was released the summer that I left my home country, Kuwait, to begin life anew on the sunny shores of the UK. It was due to this that it became such an important record to me, leading into a brand new chapter of my life and ending the old for the world to see.
The album opener turned show closer, and perhaps Trivium’s most popular song to date, “In Waves” is an ode to the groove of metal bands past, Sepultura and Pantera to name but a few, but features Trivium lacing up their steel-caps and stomping their own imprints all over the genre. The thunderous melody of “Inception of the End” and “Forsake Not The Dream” are matched by pump of “Dusk Dismantled” and “Watch the World Burn.”
What won this record over for me, was that there were some real stories it. Stories that would match up well with say, oh I don’t know, a guy leaving behind his familiar home for an unknown time period (no hints there). “Caustic Are the Ties That Bind” rings through with pertinent lyrics “Can you help me find my way? I’ve been lost for so long I don’t even know where it went wrong?” whilst “Of All These Yesterdays” provides a tear inducing guitar medley and a conclusion to the journey started by the title track.
Yes, it may be #3 on this list, but In Waves holds an extremely special place in my heart, right next to Sami Zayn and musical theatre.
Standout Songs: “In Waves”, “Inception of the End”, “Caustic Are the Ties That Bind”, “Forsake Not the Dream”
#2 – Shogun (2008)
Shogun is, sonically, bigger than a slap upside the head from Galactus, and is considered by many to be the true successor to Ascendancy (2005). It was here where the band entered 7-string guitar territory and created some of the most colossal riff waves known to man. The pummeling tremlo of “Kirisute Gomen” is matched by the maelstrom that is “Into the Mouth of Hell We March.”
“Down From the Sky” is an anti-war anthem, with a breakdown bigger than Kanye’s ego and the perfect combination of vocals, it truly does spearhead a game-changing album, whilst “Throes of Perdition” provides one of the best guitar trade-offs between Heafy and Beaulieu. The album’s closer, “Shogun”, is the band’s longest track to date, and is orchestrated brilliantly. From it’s sludgey opening, to it’s melody laden choruses, it’s safe to say that Shogun is a modern metal masterpiece. It displays Trivium at the approach to their creative zenith, and really pushed expectations towards the charging army of sword wielding samurai. Were it not for the following album, Shogun would quite possibly be king of the hill. But….
Standout Songs: “Down From the Sky”, “Into the Mouth of Hell We March”, “Throes of Perdition”
#1 – Ascendancy (2005)
The album that set Trivium up for metal superstardom, and a dominant force in their live sets over a decade later! When I listened to this album for the first time, at the age of 11, my mind was well and truly blasted to smithereens. Like Doctor Strange entering the Astral Plane for the first time, I was enveloped by this vortex of metal and shown completely fresh and unique possibilities of what a metal band could accomplish.
“Rain” grabs listeners by the face and locks them in a furious metal headlock, whilst “Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr” redefined what a metal drummer could do (the fact that it has been replicated by each of Trivium’s drummers since just shows the unbelievable level of musicianship that they possess). “Drowned and Torn Asunder” adds the band’s now signature melodic fury to the fold, whilst “A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation” hearkens back to the constantly shifting structures of “Ember to Inferno” (also featuring an absolutely superb solo tradeoff before the final chorus). “Like Light to the Flies” is the album’s finest hour, blending together the metallic fury, the barrell-blasting drum rolls and brilliant vocal synchronicity to create a truly revolutionary metal song.
Honestly. Ascendancy is a must for any metal fan. I cannot say enough good things about it. The fact that over a decade on, Ascendancy remains one of the most popular metal albums ever released, speaks volumes for it’s longevity and unashamedly proves that Trivium were coming to take our fucking heads right from the start. A metal classic.
Standout Songs: “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr”, “Drowned and Torn Asunder” ,”Like Light to the Flies”
Well, there it is. If I don’t stick around, it’s because Trivium have tracked me down, kidnapped me and thrown me in a lockup basement somewhere. If you’re a fan of the band, please do post a comment with your list below. Always interested to hear what others think!