We all know Trivium can play. They’ve been able to shred with the best of them ever since their first album, 2003’s Ember To Inferno, while and 2008’s Shogun veered close to progressive metal more than once, with its complex single note lines and ferocious 7-string riffage. But new album In Waves (Roadrunner) finds these Floridians exploring more restrained territory – to a point. The riffs are more direct, the tones are huge, and the songwriting is tight and purposeful. Guitarists Corey Beaulieu and Matt Heafy refined their approach without losing their edge or power, a rare feat in a world were ‘stripped back songwriting’ is usually taken to mean ‘wimpy.’ There’s still plenty of precision in the latest evolution of the Trivium sound, and there’s more than enough aggression to satisfy fans of the band’s early hardcore days, but In Waves stands out as the best sounding and most repeat-listenable Trivium album to date. I spoke with Heafy and Beaulieu about what went into the project, and what ultimately came out.
You started working on this album quite a while ago. Is that how you always work?
COREY BEAULIEU Mostly on every record, while we’re touring for the previous record, we stockpile ideas. Once we get off tour we have a lot of stuff we can start digging into and putting together. We use the tour to write and put together ideas so that when we start on the next record we’re a bit ahead. We’ve already got stuff we’ve been working on over time and that has been allowed to develop. Some of the songs go back pretty far back in the Shogun touring cycle.
What was your guitar approach on this album?
BEAULIEU It was about focusing on the songs, and writing songs that are straight to the point. It wasn’t all about technical stuff or trying to riff out a lot or show off. It was just making sure everything in the song was what needed to be there and nothing more. Taking a songwriter’s approach and not trying to be a flashy guitar player. It’s all about making the song and the riff the best it can be. It’s a lot simpler technically. We took that approach for the playing stuff, and the solos were whatever was needed for the song, whether it was a crazy solo or something more melodic. The songs dictated the lead stuff.
MATT HEAFY We were thinking about telling [producer] Colin Richardson, “We want a combination of this, this and that…” but I’m pretty sure we held all of our comments until we saw him in person. The guitar process was long. Normally, every record we’ve ever done, you get a BS scratch guitar tone and send it off to be mixed later, but Colin’s whole thing is he doesn’t want to record a second of music until he has a tone that will be the final tone of the record. I think we spent about five days on the guitar tone.