9 November 2015

Trivium - Silence in the Snow

Whatever happened to Trivium?  They were one of the biggest metal band going at one point, you could not move for pictures of them and their shows were selling out around the globe.  Their first few albums up to 'Shotgun' were good, solid albums which had some fantastic songs which hinted at them evolving into something special along the line.  They had some hiccups along the way, but they always felt as if they could make it to be a mainstream cross over band (maybe that is because Roadrunner Records had them on every magazine going).  However, they seemed to have drifted to be honest and we are here with album number seven.  Now before I start this I will let you know that his is the first album to have only clear vocals, it is their first with new drummer Mat Madiro and it has Michael "Elvis" Basketter producing it (who has been producing Alter Bridge, Slash and Tremonti).  It is with those facts that I go into this album.

Starting the album is “Snøfall” which is a brief orchestra introduction with a sinister overtone – done a million times before, but for what it is you cannot say it is bad.  Starts the album proper is the title track “Silence in the Snow” and it feels very European from the opening.  Gone are the trash overtones of their earlier years, as have the harsh shouting vocals and what we have an American version of the traditional Gothenburg sound that was popular a few years ago with acts like In Flames and that ilk.  It is not a band song at all, once more I am not hearing anything new that has not been done better by other acts; but I have heard a hell of a lot worse and it does improve with subsequent listens.  “Blind Leading the Blind” is the next song which continues this direction that Trivium have started, it is a well-crafted song that shows that some of their old instincts are being mixed in with this direction.  It is all very dramatic and has that metal aggression that will be gratefully received by their fans, but whilst I can appreciated the performance I cannot get excited by the song itself.  It does not have that special factor for me, it just feels like a tribute by a very professional band to a certain style, rather than an exciting new direction.  The fourth track “Dead & Gone” is a slow trudging song that once more relies on high drama and delivers something that is mostly pedestrian.  It does not have a soul to it, it feels cynical as if they are going for a sound which is getting interesting – that sound is of more metal Alter Bridge and this band is not Alter Bridge, they are fucking Trivium, no Miles Kennedy and Co and they sounded better on the previous two songs, frustrating.

“The Ghost That Haunts You” is probably this song when the album is finished for me, I feel bad for saying this but why are they doing this?  Musically you cannot fault the performance on techincal level, as they are a band who have always sounded tight; but on a production and emotional level, this is boring and without charm.  It feels like another clinical number and once it is over I am even struggling to remember the solo, drum beat or hook.  That is really not a good sign when it is only a few moments after a song that someone is struggling to remember a single note of it.  “Pull Me from the Void” is a fast verse, slow churning chorus number that flips like Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde on with hiccups.  It is does hold the interest to begin with as you are wondering which part of the song (be it fast Hyde or thoughtful Jekyll) is coming next, however this lessens with repeated listens and a song that could have been interesting just becomes average very quickly.  “Until The World Goes Cold” slows the album further, with another broody song that sounds as if it has been written with Game of Thrones in mind and it goes on about thrones, snow and the end of the word.  As well as it is played (it is actually one of the better songs on the album if truth be told), it is placed at the wrong part of the album.  You are getting a lot of drama and slow moody pieces close together and no matter how well it is played, you are going have the average metal fan switch off at this juncture.  Which is a shame, as it is a really good song.  Now “Rise above the Tides” at least has a bit of speed about it, but that is where the good news ends.  It is more Alter Bridge metal which is not helping this album at all; if anything it is making it a bit more frustrating as you can hear the talent in there and it is not being used to the best of their abilities. 

The ninth song is called “The Thing That’s Killing Me” and it is the one that has broken the camel’s back for me – how you can sound this professional, accomplished and boring is a new level of genius for me.  I am very impressed with the solo in the middle, but this is weak sauce that makes Dragon Force sound brilliant.  It is safe to say that this album is not for me and we still have two songs to go.  “Beneath the Sun” fails to rectify this feeling as it is another song that takes the joy out of the music for me; it is not that it is dull, it is that it is lacking drive and that unnameable thing which made them interesting in the first place.  Also it is another song on this album which I struggle to remember after it has finished – one more to go in the form of “Breath in the Fire” and the acoustic guitars start this.  It begins with a feeling of old when they were brings that mixture of trash and traditional metal to the US masses, then they start singing and that opening momentum is lost for me.  It is the wrong vocal for this song and it ruins what could have been a saving grace for this album – how very apt.

Well that was a disappointment if truth be told; they have gone from being leaders of a revolution to also rans and now they are attempting to sound European and that is not what brought they to the table in the first place.  This is still well played,  that is something that you can not deny; but I can hear bands that play their instruments to perfection all day, but if there is nothing to it and the songs have no substance or soul - what is the point?  The production job sounds so much like Alter Bridge/Tremonti and others, it just sucks all the life out of everything that could have been good about the album.  Yes it is the first album without growls, they are seeing what this does and if this is their path, then it is something that has been tread by other bands who have done it a hell of a lot better.  Some people are saying this is the moment they secure their place amongst the metal greats, I do not see anything here over than a dull and souless album.  File under beige and meh, so very, very, very meh.....

3 out of ten -
Not for everyone but played well.

Top track – Silence in the Snow

You can purchase Silence in the Snow on Amazon here

You can visit the Trivium website here

You can follow the activities of Trivium on Facebook here

You can stream Silence in the Snow on Spotify here

You can stream Silence in the Snow on Deezer here

You can stream Silence in the Snow on Tidal here

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