Sound — 8
I came to this album with a fairly neutral opinion of Trivium, and I did manage to get some enjoyment listening to this album. Really, at the core of it, Trivium are a thrash band and "In Waves" is a good specimen of a solid thrash album. The guitar tones are pretty good, the playing is solid, the songwriting (musically, not lyrically) is well done and displays Corey Beaulieu's and Matt Heafy's guitar work nicely. I normally don't really pay much attention to the bassist, to be perfectly honest, but I think that Paolo deserves props for doing an awesome job holding the songs together. I wasn't as impressed with their new drummer, Nick Augusto. Maybe it is just me, but listening to "In Waves" next to their previous releases the drums just aren't cutting it. Maybe it was something done in production, and not in the actual execution. Hard to say. I think I was more impressed with how solid the rhythm and bass playing were on this album than with the lead parts. There were a few solos that I really enjoyed, and not trying to take away from Corey's playing (I would love to be able to play like Corey), but the rhythm parts just seemed more solid. I really enjoyed the rhythm and lead on "Forsake Not The Dream", and would have like to see this type of playing where during the chorus/verse the lead guitar is complementing and adding to the rhythm playing. This may be going into the realm of where I approach and leave every Trivium album I've listened to feeling lukewarm about them. I know Trivium is capable of making music better than what I feel like they generally produce, though what they do produce is still solid.
Lyrics — 6
Maybe this is just me, but I'm tired of bands with melodramatically negative lyrics. If you are writing from inspiration and about some bad things that have been going on with you, or even about current events, etc. I can understand. What I can't understand is an album full of songs that seem contrived to just have the most negative lyrics possible trying to appeal to disgruntled teenagers. I also didn't enjoy the title track "In Waves" which, just listening to the lyrics, is written like it is someone contemplating committing suicide and whether they should take other people down with them in the process. I absolutely feel like the lyrics are the weakest part of this album musically the album is competitive with Trivium's other releases (though it doesn't surpass the previous releases) but lyrically I was very disappointed, though Trivium is not known for their deep and well written lyrics. Going into vocal delivery, I've got mixed feelings. I can say on the song "Black" I enjoyed the vocal delivery pretty consistently throughout. My gripe with the vocal delivery is that the screamed vocals are so much more growl than singing in places you can't tell what is being said, and with the sung parts it is mostly sung too prettily. I guess I just would like the growls and the singing to meet somewhere in the middle and have some proper "thrash" vocal delivery going on. At least there could be some work on the growl vocals to make them a little more intelligible, and a little more force behind the clean vocals to make it a little more "metal" and a little less pretty.
Overall Impression — 7
This is the first album to showcase Nick Augusto on drums, who replaced Travis Smith after his departure in 2009. Personally, I've never been a huge Trivium fan, though I do appreciate what they do in a peripheral way. I was excited to see they do have a bonus DVD with live performances of the songs from the album you can get with the "Special Edition" version of "In Waves" which looks like it is listed for $14.99 on most web retail sites. I always appreciate the opportunity to watch a band's live performance over listening to a studio recording. Unfortunately, I haven't got my hands on the "Special Edition" release yet, so stuck with just the studio recordings for the time being. My favorite part of the entire album would have to be the solo from the track "Watch The World Burn". My favorite song would have to be "Black". I think that the song "Of All These Yesterdays" is probably the most musically interesting song on the album. "In Waves" could have potentially been a lot better with better lyrics and delivery. Existing fans of Trivium will probably be satisfied with this album, though it doesn't break new ground it absolutely does keep up their existing standard. I think that because it has been three years since their last album release this could have a little to do with a mediocre (though bearable) effort from Trivium, but I'm looking forward to see what they come out with in the future to raise the bar.