Trivium have been one of my favorite bands of the last 5 years, and I recently collected their 2011 release, In Waves. Trivium's musical evolution has fluctuated a little from one album to the next, but always remained a very thrash-centric variety of the heavier side of the metalcore subgenre. In Waves is no different in the sense that it does not sound exactly like any of their previous albums, but still shows some similarities to each of them.
This album starts off with an interesting intro, 'Capsizing the Seas', that has some piano with a snare-drum background rhythm which builds in amplitude until it transitions to the title-track and finally Matt Heafy screams out, "IN WAVES!!!!!!!!" After the intro, the title track sets the tone for the album: brutal heaviness, and bludgeoning riffs. Heafy quickly adds his melodic voice at the bridge, singing "Do I end this now for world to see?" Seconds later he resumes his brutal hardcore screams. The song is sparse on lyrics, but abundant in Trivium's trade-mark formula of heavy thrash riffs tempered with screaming guitar solos and the slightest amount of melodic guitar segments.
The next track, 'Inception of the End', keeps the album flowing in the solid direction of powerful hardcore thrash. By this point if you're not banging your head you should have your head examined. The riffs just keep on coming: heavy, fast, and unique. Heafy continues to infuse melodies with his Hetfield-esque growled vocals.
'Dusk Dismantled' is next, and is also one of my favorite tracks, though for different reasons. This song is perhaps the heaviest number on In Waves. Here Heafy employs his hardcore vocal style to the extreme, it approaches guttural, death-metal screams in many instances. Corey Beaulieu adds his own hardcore screams in backing vocals, bringing the aggression level even higher.
'Drowning In Slow Motion' is one of the bonus tracks. Cleverly interspersed throughout the album, rather than just bunched together at the end, the bonus tracks make for a more continuous listening experience. This is another classic heavy Trivium song, with a balanced mix of hardcore and melodic vocals. Lead guitar riffs and solos again remind me of some of the best thrash metal ever.
Trivium really know how to fill the seams between melodic and hardcore metal. There are a couple songs that showcase their creative and melodic elements. 'Caustic Are the Ties That Bind', while still very heavy for the most part, does contain an extended melodic break down segment. Heafy sings some of the album's most meaningful lyrics here, reflecting the enigmatic state of human nature- trying to find one's path in life. A powerfully melodic guitar solo escalates the song back to a more intense level for it's conclusion.
'Of All These Yesterdays' is by far the most melodic song on this album, but it brings tragic, yet poetic closure to the album. Lyrics that are dark and reflective, a clean-guitar melody that haunts with its minor-key tonality. Before it fades into the next track, 'Leaving This World Behind', my favorite lyrics ensue: "With the end in sight, I cleanse what's left of light, press it against my head, and dream of the color red."
For the old-school thrash metal fans, they include a cover of Sepultura's 'Slave New World' from their masterpiece Chaos A.D. Heafy again proves his voice is among the best in metal today, doing justice to this classic thrash song.
In addition to the bonus tracks on the audio disc, the special edition release also includes a DVD with the music video for In Waves and live rehearsal footage of 8 songs. Four new songs and four classic Trivium songs are performed in-studio. You get close up views of Heafy as he screams and sings, Paulo strutting around the rehearsal space with his bass, Cory ripping some great guitar solos and providing the backing screamed vocals, and new drummer Nick Augusto blasting out the beats. It may be a page out of Metallica's book, as they included a DVD of rehearal footage of the entire St. Anger album when that came out, but it's still an insider's view of Trivium performing with all their energy. Any die-hard fan would love it.
Recommended Tracks from In Waves:
-Watch the World Burn
-Built to Fall
-Drowning in Slow Motion
-A Grey So Dark
-Of All These Yesterdays
Live rehearsal tracks on the DVD:
-Built to Fall
-Watch the World Burn
-Down From The Sky
-Ember to Inferno