Touring in support of their newest album, Silence in the Snow, Trivium made a stop in my neck of the woods in southeast Wisconsin and I got myself a ticket, in spite of it being on a week night. It has been far too long since I've managed to see Trivium live, plus this would be my first chance to see them as a headliner! They've put out 3 albums since I last saw them on Mayhem Fest in '09, so there would be plenty of new songs in their set, plus I also got a chance to see two other up and coming bands: Conniption and The Bloodline.
I had been following The Bloodline in recent months, since Mike Sylvester of Fist to the Sky joined their touring line-up, but Conniption were completely new to me. I had no idea what to expect. As soon as Conniption started playing I knew I was in for an awesome night of thrash and power metal. Conniption are from Milwaukee, WI, and they perform an intense brand of traditional metal or power metal- fast-tempo, power-riffs, numerous extended guitar solos, and a vocal style akin to Iron Maiden. One of the songs in their set was an instrumental, featuring multiple guitar solos- traded off between lead guitarist Bill House and vocalist/guitarist Michael Brigham. The two played competitively, razzing each other while the other was playing their lead... sort of the way that Sam Totman and Herman Li of DragonForce do. After their opening set, it was time for The Bloodline.
The Bloodline are a Chicago-based melodic metalcore band, and a perfect warm-up for the likes of Trivium. Their style fluctuates between melodic vocals, and hardcore screams in a well-balanced ratio. Vocalist Travis Neal had a commanding stage presence while singing either style. I was reminded of Five Finger Death Punch's Ivan Moody, and it wasn't just their coincidental image of shaved heads, this dude can really sing... and scream. At every point where the song called for it, bassist Mike Sylvester was right there providing the backing vocals, also with both the melodic or hardcore style. Their brutal heaviness and intensity got the crowd energized and moshing ensued...
Next up was the band the whole venue had been waiting for with eager anticipation. Trivium- a band who in my opinion are the best to come along in thrash metal since the genre's beginnings in the mid-1980's. Trivium- whose music I regard as highly as I do Metallica's or Megadeth's. Trivium- a band who almost single-handedly restored my faith in metal's future when I first heard their song 'Entrance of the Conflagration' nearly 10 years ago...
Trivium took the stage as the classical music of 'Sn0fall' played as their intro. The crowd gave them an enthusiastic welcome, the release of their anticipation almost palpable... The band launched immediately into the title track of their new album, 'Silence in the Snow'. Power chords, thundering drums, and headbanging ensued almost immediately. After that they quickly mixed things up, playing a song from nearly every one of their albums in quick succession. They gave the crowd some of their older and well known hardcore classics like 'Rain' and 'Like Light to the Flies' from their landmark Ascendancy album, while ensuring each song was packed with potent energy, and they gave a kick-ass performance!
Matt Heafy was a perfect front-man: Keeping the crowd engaged, and entertained. He mixed some goofing off stage antics in with the expected venting-of-rage that Trivium's lyrical style lends itself to. For the first few minutes of their performance he stuck his tongue out for the crowd in a variety of manners, playing to the smartphones that were snapping pics every couple seconds. He struck several poses while his hands kept jamming out riff after riff. But he would let the crowd get too complacent either, asking us to keep the emotions high and loud even between songs. We in the audience were more than happy to oblige. We gave our all to show our support with screams, headbanging, moshing, and fist-pumping as often as possible.
The band as a whole was in top form on this wintry night. Bassist Paolo Gregoletto provides the melodic backing vocals, and Corey Beaulieu the hardcore backing vocals, while Matt switched back and forth with expert vocal control. Not to be overlooked is their brand new drummer, Paul Wandtke. Hired on by the band right at the start of this tour, replacing previous drummer Mat Madiro on short notice, he nailed all the drum parts like a pro. Heafy gave him a special nod right before he launched into 'Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr', the band's trademark song, and one with the most intense drum-intro I've ever heard.
Trivium left the stage but it was mere seconds later that chants of "TRI-VI-UM! TRI-VI-UM! TRI-VI-UM!" started up... And we kept it going for several minutes until another taped intro began to play. The crowd erupted in cheers with recognition of the track 'Capsizing the Sea', the intro to their 2011 album, In Waves. Matt Heafy again thanked us for being a great crowd, but also instructed us to sing the two-word chorus "In Waves" as loud as we could, and when the song kicked in, we did! I know I was screaming myself hoarse as the mosh-pit grew to encompass at least half the square footage of the entire venue. A fitting conclusion to a killer set-list by one of my favorite bands.
Here are the songs performed on this night. You should find they make an excellent playlist! You cna find the songs of each band downloadable through their websites, also listed below.
-Sonata #1 in b minor
-(Come On) King of the Road
-Let the Wolf Out
Setlist: THE BLOODLINE
-We Are One
-Dead and Buried
-With Fire (Comes Absolution)
-Silence in the Snow
-Into the Mouth of Hell We March
-Tread the Floods
-Built to Fall
-Like Light to the Flies
-Throes of Perdition
-Becoming the Dragon
-Down From the Sky
-Until the World Goes Cold
-Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
-Capsizing the Sea (intro)
After the show I also took advantage of a meet - n - greet they offered for Trivium. Getting to hang with these guys after the show was a truly special honor. I headed to the balcony of the venue and waited a while until the band came out and made the rounds, taking a couple minutes to chat with each fan in the room, and sign their CD's or LP's too. They were very humble, very personable, and professional guys! I wish I had thought of some more meaningful stuff to talk with them about, but I was starstruck, and simply grateful for the opportunity to meet them and say a few words. You may recall that I missed a chance for a meet and greet when I attended Mayhem Fest, but this night made up for it.
Don't forget to follow each of these bands on facebook: