A lot of people have weighed in on Trivium these past few weeks. First one, then two, then finally a third song from the new album was made available, and of course, the fan base was divided over each one. I actually wasn’t even planning to review Vengeance Falls which came out Tuesday via Roadrunner Records. Not that I don’t like Trivium, quite the opposite. My first and still favorite album is Shogun, and I was a big fan of In Waves, which also polarized the fans. It’s just that after having it for a week I wasn’t getting any vibe off of it that compelled me to write anything…until now. Something just clicked, and so here we are, albeit a few days late.
The first thing I noticed is the powerhouse riffs right off the bat. Both “Brave This Storm” and “Vengeance Falls” throw them at you like a pitcher delivering a split-fingered fastball up the middle of the plate and into your brain. The complete change-up in the latter is just balls-to-the-wall intensity, too. Matt Heafy is doing some of the best singing of his career, fuck the naysayers. Now “Strife” has the kind of riff that will stick in your head for hours, maybe days, and is another one of those killer car tunes. That’s where this album sounds best, to be honest, and that’s where I had my epiphany. David Draiman in the producer’s chair is a very good thing for this band, and some of the songs, like this one, have his fingerprints all over them.
“No Way to Heal” was my favorite of the three previously released songs, and is still an album favorite. I really love the dual harmonized guitars on the intro and the way it just morphs into equal parts power metal and thrash flipping between both at will. Yes, certain parts are very Disturbed-like, but is that really a bad thing? I’m a fan, so I have no issues with it. Plus the tail end of it is badass!! “To Believe” is an okay number and the band sounds really tight, but this one was a little TOO much like Draiman’s band for my taste, like one of the bad songs in their catalog. But that’s a minor blip on the radar here because “At the End of This War” is simply amazing, with its soft acoustic intro before it goes into face-ripping mode, chunky guitars and thunderous drums everywhere.
“Through Blood and Dirt and Bone” has some terrific arrangements, especially in the way the vocal line mirrors the guitars for much of it making it that much more effective and hard-hitting. However, I really don’t like “Villainy Thrives”. The song does nothing for me and will be skipped on future listens, I think. But again, a minor setback, because here comes “Incineration: The Broken World” with its massive landscape of harsh vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and Lord knows what else! The music really sets the scene, and it’s almost like you’re in some kickass action movie. Love it! Closing things out is “Wake (The End Is Nigh)” which features Heafy singing in a loooooow register in the early going over another soft guitar line. Brace yourself for the inevitable crash though, ‘cause it’s coming, and bearing down on you hard!
I have to say, I really didn’t know what to expect from Vengeance Falls, and at first listen I found parts of it largely unmemorable. But some albums just sneak up on you when you least expect it. This one sure as hell did, and I am looking forward to hearing many of these songs performed live here in Dallas in December. In the meantime, I’ll keep jamming it in the car for awhile.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “No Way to Heal”, “Vengeance Falls”, “Brave This Storm”, “At the End of This War”, “Strife”