Silence In The Snow
Florida metallers Trivium are back in a big way with their seventh full-length album Silence In The Snow. This release marks what is probably the biggest evolution for the four-piece since 2008’s Shogun, in terms of individual instrumentation and overall growth in sound. It is an album that is sure to propel them onto bigger stages, playing before bigger audiences, but also one that will likely polarize their existing fanbase.
For the first time since 2006’s The Crusade, Trivium will release an album with 100% clean vocals. While The Crusade was very well received sales-wise, with 32,000 copies sold in the first week, it was also the target of much criticism and led to many comparisons of frontman Matthew Heafy’s clean vocals to those of James Hetfield of Metallica. That won’t be the case with Silence In The Snow. Heafy’s vocals have come so far since 2006, and even since their last full length, Vengeance Falls – they’re at a whole other level on the new record. That is to say, his range is so ridiculous on the new album – at times it’s almost like hearing a different frontman. It’s still Trivium, just slightly re-imagined to catchier and more melodic ends. At the same time, along with the vocal improvements, the lineup change with the departure of drummer Nick Augusto and addition of Matt Madiro on drums has further upped the ante. This is not to say that Augusto was a bad drummer (he wasn’t) but rather that Madiro’s style of playing fits much better with Trivium, especially on this particular release. Couple this with some of the most well thought-out songwriting for the band since Shogun, and you can start to imagine the monster of a record that is Silence In The Snow.
The album starts off with the song “Snofall,” a short ~1.5 minute intro that builds to a melodic motif for the title track that follows. “Silence In The Snow” kicks straight into some pummeling riffage accompanied by Heafy’s soaring vocals alongside some expert shredding from lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu. Trivium released a music video for this track last month, check it out below.
The next track on the album, “Blind Leading the Blind” is a thrasher of a song and possesses one of the catchiest refrains of any track on the record, driven by Madiro’s pounding double bass, it’s hard not to headbang along as Heafy belts out “Blind leading the blind to the sea / They’re drowning / Blind leading the blind to the edge / They’re falling down!” Luckily you don’t have to rely solely on my description of the song, for the band has released a video for this one as well, which you can check out below:
The fourth track, “Dead and Gone,” begins with (for lack of a better description) a thrashy breakdown, into a heavy, low, bass-driven verse that features the closest thing to guttural vocals on the record. At least one line in the song seems to be a play on a line from the title-track on Shogun. The lyrics “Time won’t heal / It’s running out of me / All your pain / It’s more than I can take,” in “Dead and Gone” are very reminiscent of , “Time will not heal all of your pain,” from “Shogun.” While the chorus to this track isn’t as catchy as that of “Blind Leading The Blind,” some intricate guitarwork and one of Beaulieu’s many incredible guitar solos that grace this record make up for that.
Up next, “The Ghost That’s Haunting You” features some of Heafy’s most impressive vocals on the record–especially towards the end of the verse with the lines: “What have I done? / What have I become? / Standing six feet deep / Am I the only one?” The song includes a face-melting guitar solo from Beaulieu with a harmonized section that immediately brought to mind the many epic guitar solos of 2005’s Ascendancy.
“Pull Me From The Void” follows with another stellar guitar solo, and sees Heafy exploring more of the higher-end of his vocal range. As does the subsequent track “Until The World Goes Cold,” which has almost a Breaking Benjamin-feel to it with the intro riff and guitar chugging leading up to the verse. If anything, this is probably one of the weakest tracks on the album, despite having a really catchy chorus. The vocals in the verse feel completely overproduced and auto-tuned. This level of production on this song in particular just feels way out of place and inconsistent with the rest of the album–leading one to think perhaps the band didn’t consent to it (I’m thinking whomever the producer was on this record screwed this part up–but that’s just my take). The guitar solo in this track is great, but it can’t redeem it. You can check out the music video for this song below and see what you think for yourself.
“Rise Above The Tides” and “The Thing That’s Killing Me,” tracks eight and nine on the album respectively, turn things around–especially the latter of the two, which is chock-full of amazing guitarwork. It’s on track nine as well that Madiro really shines, his style complementing the song perfectly. Heafy continues to sound great in both of these tracks, but you can definitely hear where some dynamic could’ve been added by including some harsh/guttural vocals alongside his cleans.
The second to last track on the record “Beneath The Sun (Don’t Fade Away)” sounds almost like it could’ve been on Shogun, especially in the intro section of the song. Definitely a highlight of the album, this track is an example of the level of songwriting that these four have risen to with this latest release.
The final track of the album, “Breathe In The Flames,” is one of the best songs on the album. It starts with a mellow, eerie intro and kicks straight into driving double bass. Of all the tracks on the record, this is the one that best unifies aspects of their past six albums into one cohesive track that just kicks so much ass.
It’s easy to look at these 11 tracks and be upset about the band moving away from guttural vocals, but there are things for both longtime and newer fans of the band to love. It’s also not as if this album is so drastically different from their past releases that it sounds unrecognizable–it still has that quintessential “Trivium” sound to it. It would be far worse if Trivium decided to throw themselves into pursuing the latest metal trend, it’s cool to see them evolving on a path of their own choosing to make music they want to play. I personally did not expect this record from them, but it’s a pleasant surprise and I think that old fans and new ones will really fall in love with it as I did. (Nathan Katsiaficas)