Review: “What The Dead Men Say” by Trivium

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Josh Wilbur (Suicide Silence, KoRn, Varials) and Mastered by Ted Jensen (Death Angel, Carnifex, Megadeth), the ninth studio album from Orlando Florida’s Trivium has been a highly anticipated affair. That is in part due to the high quality output of the bands previous albums but also with guitarist and vocalist Matt Heafy streaming on Twitch regularly as well as the pre-release singles, which have all added fuel to the fire.

Opening instrumental “IX” sets the tone for the album with some Melodic Death Metal leanings and acts as a real tension building piece of atmospheric pressure that leads into the title track “What The Dead Men Say“, which oozes class. Heafy’s clean vocals are backed by uncleans lower in the mix which gives the impression of a dual vocal attack. In the past, Trivium have been accused of changing their sticksman more often than they do their underwear but in Alex Bent then have now a master at work who’s skills shine on this opening track proper. He adds nuances to Black Metal influenced melodies and the elongated instrumental passages give him the opportunity to shine. First single “Catastrophist” continues the lyrical themes that Trivium have always used and is one of those that could have someone’s name attached to it. A much as it’s melodic during the chorus with big sing-a-long ability, it also has that distinctive Metal edge that was lacking in similar songs on say “Silence In The Snow“. This has some Progressive Metal riffs and blast beats in it, which isn’t something you’d associate with a single of the stature of this, which just adds to how impressive it is. “Amongst The Shadows & The Stones” has some Crossover Thrash moments with gang chants and fist pumping attitude, while the lead flourishes are tight and overlay the riffs perfectly, allowing Corey Beaulieu and Matt Heafy to axe duel is jaw dropping style. If there last album “The Sin And The Sentence” was a step up in form, then “What The Dead Men Say” sets the bar a couple of notches higher. There is a effortlessly sounding element of craftsmanship that confirms that form is temporary and class is permanent which runs throughout the record and underpins everything.

Bassist Paolo Gregoletto gets the opportunity to show off some heavier bass lines as his instrument bleeds through the arpeggios during “Bleed Into Me“. A bright, well sung Metal ballad that isn’t quite a love song but instead takes the approach of a bond of trust in a relationship and accepting that leaning on someone’s shoulders is part of that. Sonically it makes for a tempo shift and break before the band fly off into “The Defiant“. An energetic romp of epic Metal grandeur, it leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of perfection. Heafy is the defiant David, screaming in the face of the giant. Bringing some introspective lyrics to the table with “Sickness Unto You” while having the Black Metal blood and thunder attitude with scatter gun fills from Bent, who is in serious form here and a dark atmospheric that attacks like post traumatic stress syndrome. Wrapping it all up in endless headbangable riffs it’s just another masterpiece. There is so much shoe horned in during those extended instrumental sections that permiate each song that the album has serious longevity when it comes to return and reward.

Returning in part to some of the stylings of “Bleed Into Me” with that bass bleed through being a focal point of “Scattering The Ashes“. Reading between the lines it sounds as if the lyrical theme of losing a mother is depicted between the two songs and while this one isn’t as powerful a song, it still has plenty going for it. Showcasing more of the Blackened Melodic Death Metal influences “Bending The Arc To Fear” lifts the energy and steps everything up a gear or two. The Arabian Nights solo is masterfully crafted while climbing chord progressions power through to the inevitable end. Closing on a high with “The Ones We Leave Behind” which sounds very much like it belongs on their 2017 album “The Sin And The Sentence“, such is it’s quality is a master stroke. The riffs are electrifying, modernised classic Metal and there is nothing that holds this record back. Trivium have become one of the most important bands in modern Metal and long may that continue [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. IX (instrumental)
  2. What The Dead Men Say
  3. Catastrophist
  4. Amongst The Shadows & The Stones
  5. Bleed Into Me
  6. The Defiant
  7. Sickness Unto You
  8. Scattering The Ashes
  9. Bending The Arc To Fear
  10. The Ones We Leave Behind

What The Dead Men Say” by Trivium is out now via Roadrunner Records


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