Sound — 9
Trivium has always had generally positive feedback. "Ascendancy" was the album that got me interested in them, and I continued buying their material when "The Crusade" and "Shogun" came out. "The Crusade" seemed a lot like a Metallica tribute album, and "Crusade" seemed to move in a different direction completely, almost as if it was a different band. When I heard earlier this year that there was going to be a new album that is very similar to "Ascendancy", bringing them back to their roots; I was very excited. I can tell you now that it has not disappointed me. I feel that Trivium has steered their song structure style and vocals back towards "Ascendancy", but have kept their even more advanced guitar techniques and some experimentation from "The Crusade" and "Shogun". The guitar work is impressive as always, but it seems more fun to listen to this time around. That may sound kind of odd, but I feel like "Shogun" seemed to be more of an abstract, experimentation album or a technical guitar work album. It was good, but I think "In Waves" is better. Top shelf work from start to finish. Drums are very good despite the new drummer. I learned the old one had left only within the last few days, and honestly I don't hear much of a difference. There are a few examples of drummers in the metal genre who have a very unique and easy to recognize style, but I don't think Travis Smith was one of them. I think the guitar work in Trivium out-shined the drums for so many years that I've become used to the ripping fast drums and kind of put them on the back burner. I'll put my flame shield up anyway, since I know Travis was named Best Drummer In The Universe a few years ago by Metal Hammer.
Lyrics — 8
I think the lyrics have some dark and depressing undertones a perfect example being their single from the album; "In Waves". Honestly that song combined with the intro track "Capsizing The Sea" is what still sticks in my head after listening to the entire album. Matt's voice is just as strong as it has always been on Trivium's previous efforts. I can't speak about his live performances, but I suppose if I sit down to watch the bonus DVD that came with it, I can have an opinion. I'll worry about that later. I really bought the collector's edition for the extra tracks. I think it was well worth it in the end. The lyrics fit the music well, I don't think this band has ever had a hard time making songs run along smoothly, and a lot of songs match up with the common theme of the album. I think the lyrics are more clever than some of the other metal bands I listen to, so a bonus point or two will be thrown in for that.
Overall Impression — 9
Does the album compare to other albums or artists? Yeah absolutely. After Trivium decided to do "The Crusade", I don't think they'll ever get away without having a bit of Metallica in them from now on, but that's a good thing. I think Trivium puts any of Metallica's recent efforts to shame (Flame shield up again). It's shred/thrash/melodic metal at its core, and I couldn't be happier with the final sound all of those elements combine to create. As I said earlier, the track that sticks with me most is still "In Waves", but "Downing In Slow Motion", "Chaos Reigns", and "A Skylines Severance" are a few great examples of others that I think were done well. Not every track can be my favorite, but I don't think there were necessarily any fillers, even on the expanded version of the disc which I got for the extra tracks. Playing this album the entire way through without stopping gives a non-stop comfortable sound. And yes, I find bands that can be labeled by the press as "brutal", "hardcore" and "extreme" comfortable. I wake up on the way to work with this kind of music, I work out to it, I play video games with it and I'll play along with it on my own guitar. Ladies and gentlemen, this is an album I can do all three of those things with, very easily, over and over again. I have a lot of music, and I can't say that about a good portion of my albums. I'd definitely buy the album again if I had to, first because it's good and second because I'm the kind of person who tries to collect all CD's from bands I like, whether they're brilliantly made or not. I love the sound of the guitars, the lyrics work pretty well, and I love the amount of content they give you for the money. I hate that it's not free, but the band deserves money for their efforts. Take Trivium for what you will, but overall I recommend the album fans, newcomers, and I encourage skeptics to at least try listening to it.