Trivium have never been the kind of band that stays still. They’ve always bobbed and weaved, zipped and zoomed around the metal scene: a little metalcore here, a little thrash there, maybe the occasional dip of the toe into the stream of progressive metal. Their 2011 album In Waves pushed their sound into a new atmospheric level and won them plenty of new fans, and it positioned itself as a very difficult album to top. So how would the Florida four-peace approach its follow-up? The answer is Vengeance Falls [Roadrunner]. It’s at once familiar and unlike anything Trivium has done before. The crushing riffs and virtuoso twin guitar solos are still there, as is the finely honed production aesthetic that worked so well on In Waves. But Vengeance Falls finds the band putting Matt Heafy’s vocals in the spotlight like never before. To that end Trivium enlisted the help of Disturbed frontman David Draiman to produce the album. Continue reading
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.
Here’s the first round of bands announced for Australia’s Soundwave festival. Lots of great bands there but my personal highlights are Faith No More, Meshuggah, Trivium, and of course Jane’s Addiction. I’m especially happy about Jane’s, because this means I can remove them from my Enemies List, which they were placed on when they cancelled their recent Australian tour. The other good thing about them being booked for Soundwave is that it will hopefully force them to stay together until March.
Watch this space for information about sideshows. If there are any Faith No More sideshows you bet yer ass I’ll be there. I saw them at Melbourne’s Festival Hall in 1997 on the Album of the Year tour and I never thought I’d get to see them again.
Faith No More
My Chemical Romance
Taking Back Sunday
Sunny Day Real Estate
Eagles of death Metal
The Get Up Kids
Reel Big Fish
All Time Low
A Day To Remember
It Dies Today
Escape The Fate
A Wilhelm Scream
The Devil Wears Prada
Dance Gavin Dance
Four Year Strong
You Me At Six
Maximum The Hormone
February 20, Brisbane, RNA Showground
February 21, Sydney, Eastern Creek Raceway
February 26, Melbourne, Showgrounds
February 27, Adelaide, Bonython Park
March 1, Perth, Steel Blue Oval
More info at the Soundwave website.
After a highly publicised relationship with Dean fizzled out a few months ago, Trivium’s Matt Heafy has officially returned to Gibson.
Matt’s been playing his Gibsons live since the split with Dean, but nothing official had been said until a Gibson signing session was announced for Musikmesse.
Here’s a little video of Matt presenting guitars to winners of a Gibson contest at Musikmesse.
Trivium Australian tour dates:
13 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Brisbane, The Tivoli
14 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Sydney, UNSW Roundhouse
15 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Melbourne, Palace Theatre
17 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Adelaide, HQ
19 May 2009 Into The Mouth Of Hell We Tour Perth, Capitol
I’m sure that when Eddie Van Halen designed the Peavey 5150 amp back in the early 90s (and later the 5150 II), he didn’t think that a decade later it’d be one of the most prominent amps among the extreme metal community, nor that the design would live on following his departure from Peavey. After Eddie jumped ship to form his own company, EVH, Peavey continued to build the amp but changed the name (5150 = 6505, 5150II = 6505+). Now they’ve released the single-speaker 6505 Plus 112, which cuts down on some of the legendary heft of the original 2X12 version.
Here’s the press release.
After forging the sound of aggression for more than 15 years, Peavey is making its highly respected, high-gain 6505® Series amplifier available for the first time in a 1×12 combo-amp configuration.
The Peavey 6505—the amplifier used by metal stars Trivium, Machine Head, Bullet For My Valentine and many more—will now be available in a 60-watt combo with two channels and an extensive feature set. The new 6505 Plus 112 combo harnesses the full gain and legendary tone of the Peavey 6505 Series, which since 1991 has defined the sounds of extreme rock guitar, into a format that is equally suited to clubs, rehearsal rooms and studios.
Five select 12AX7 preamp tubes and a pair of 6L6GC power-amp tubes provide the tonal foundation for the 6505 Plus 112 combo, while patented circuitry such as Peavey’s Resonance control tweak its legendary tone. Both the Lead and Rhythm channels feature independent three-band EQ, pre/post gain controls and Presence and Resonance adjustment. The Rhythm channel also includes a footswitchable Crunch boost.
The 6505 Plus 112 combo also features the Peavey MSDI™ microphone-simulated direct interface, which eliminates the need for miking by allowing users to route the amp’s signal directly to a recording device or mixing console. Additional features include three-spring reverb, effects loop and external speaker outputs, plus a 12″ Sheffield® loudspeaker in a sealed-back cabinet that offers maximum resonance and sound projection.
The extensive Peavey 6505 artist roster includes Machine Head, Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Black Tide, Evergrey, Unearth, Story of the Year, Bleeding Through, Job For A Cowboy, Black Stone Cherry, In Flames, Gojira, Daath, Divine Heresy, Evergreen Terrace, The Devil Wears Prada, Bury Your Dead, All That Remains, Demon Hunter and many more.
The Peavey 6505 112 Combo will be available from authorized Peavey retailers in Q2 2009.
60 watts RMS
16, 8 or 4 ohms
Five 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 6L6GC power amp tubes
Footswitchable Lead/Rhythm channel select
Separate three-band EQ on each channel
Separate Resonance and Presence controls on each channel
Separate pre/post gain on each channel
Footswitchable Crunch boost on Rhythm channel
MSDI™ microphone-simulated XLR direct output
12″ Sheffield® loudspeaker
External speaker outputs
Lighted Peavey logo with on/off switch
U.S. MSRP $719.99
For more information, visit their web site at www.peavey.com.
Trivium divided their fans with the release of The Crusade in 2006. Some loved the shift to melodic vocals, instead of the screams of the band’s previous releases. Others felt they’d gone too soft, and called for a return to the sound of the prior album, Ascendency. It seems that with Shogun, Trivium has in part listened to the fans, and in part followed their own path. The melodic vocals return, but the blatant Hetfieldisms have been tamed down. The screaming is also back, and the balance between the two styles gives the band some flexibility: now where screaming is required, there’s screaming, and when singing is needed, there’s singing. Sounds simple, really.
And it works. Trivium may have had more than their fair share of detractors when they first started out, because how the hell could dudes so young play so convincingly and kick so much ass? The old school metal community felt that Trivium were pillaging the precision riffing of classic thrash, throwing modern screaming on top, and trying to pass it off as an original sound. Then when The Crusade was released, the accusations that the band was just trying to re-record ‘…And Justice For All’ were almost as loud as the album itself. With Shogun, they move closer to defining their own sound, and by balancing the melodic and chaotic vocals, they’ve created a hybrid that can appeal to older headbangers and younger ones alike.
Opening track ‘Kirisute Gomen’ (which loosely translates as “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to take your head” combines blunt force trauma and razorblade-sharp riffage, with a melodic chorus which would be right at home on Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Magnum Opus’ CD. Guitarists Matt Heafy and Corey Ballieu bring out the old school shred and thrash-inspired rhythm gallops like it’s 1987 again, but faster. ‘Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis’ has some syncopated interplay which reminds me of Dream Theater, and it even includes a bass solo. ‘Down From The Sky’ has a memorable chorus and more groove than should be legal from a metal band, and ‘Into the Mouth of Hell We March,’ while sounding a little muddled between singing and screaming, has a cool neoclassical solo, further playing up the Yngwie vibe for those who are looking for it. ‘He Who Spawned The Furies,’ is a little flat with its overly laboured black metal influences, but it gets points for having a title that sounds like something I would put on my business card.
The album is capped off with the title track, an epic shredfest which takes some unexpected twists and turns, and makes full and intelligent use of its 12-minute running time. It can be hard to sustain the listener with a song that long, but ‘Shogun’ is packed with variety and shifting moods, and lots of intense guitar playing.
Is ‘Shogun’ the ultimate Trivium album? Nup. I think fans will still like Ascendency more. And even though I really enjoyed ‘The Crusade,’ I think ‘Shogun’ is the right choice for the band right now, because it could win back the fans who were alienated by ‘The Crusade.’
‘Shogun’ is out now on Roadrunner Records.
Frank Zappa – Joe’s Menage (Vaulternative)
Cryptically, the only information about this one on the Barfko Swill website states: “Newest Corsaga – for NOW! Rare 1975 thrillingness. Be very afraid of being Danish. Or not. Rant & Roll.” However, with pre-orders open now and the first CDs to be dispatched around October 1, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out what this one’s all about.
Dream Theater – Chaos in Motion [2 DVD] (Roadrunner)
This release marks Dream Theater’s 12,000th live album and/or DVD. It captures the 2007-08 Chaos In Motion tour. The DVD includes 3 hours of live performance, a behind the scenes documentary, live screen projection films, music videos and a photo gallery. There’s also a 5 disc set limited to 5,000 copies which combines the DVD and 3 audioCDs.
Trivium – Shogun (Roadrunner)
I had the pleasure of hearing early mixes of this one at a listening party attended by the band a few months ago. Some very cool ‘evil waltz’ triplet grooves will invite a few comparisons to Slayer, while Trivium downplays the Metallica influences so prevalent on The Crusade. Lots of hardcore shredding and some very powerful drumming underscore Matt Heafy’s return to demonic screaming, in addition to the more melodic vocal style introduced on the last album.
Neal Morse – Lifeline (Metal Blade)
Former Spock’s Beard guy turned Christian prog artist Neal Morse’s new album features performances by guitarist Paul Bielatowicz, Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Ajalon bass player Randy George. Paul Gilbert makes a special appearance on a bonus track. The cover reminds me of Great White’s ‘Hooked’ album, which I’m sure was not the intention. It’s also the 3,057th rock album to feature a song called ‘Leviathan.’
Tom Morello (The Nightwatchman) Rise to Power (Red Int/Red Ink)
Morello’s second album of leftist protest songs, this one gets big points from me for having a song called “The Lights Are On In Spidertown,” and for adding full band electric songs to the acoustic stuff. Morello’s distinctive voice and stripped down song structures are an interesting and valuable departure from the grunt of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, and his forthcoming tour will feature both acoustic and electric sets.