Sound — 8
Trivium seem to have set a precedent; alternating exhilarating impressive releases such as 2005's "Ascendancy" and 2008's "Shogun," with patchier works such as 2003's "Ember to Inferno" and 2011's "In Waves." They have defined the nu-metal scene, where bands like Bullet For My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold have shriveled up. With each album offering us something new, we were unsure as to what we were going to get with their 6th studio album - "Vengeance Falls." Trivium set a high standard with tracks 1 and 3, "Brave This Storm" and "Strife." These are classic anthemic melodic metalcore tracks, based around frantic riffing, weighty vocal melodies and charging solos. Track 3 "Strife" is a standout track, and was released as a single on August 20th. It starts off with a simple riff that gets heavier with every bar, and the build up with the drums creates a whirlwind of metal excellence. The verse slows down, increasing in tempo again before the chorus and Heafy's vocals stick with you all day; epitomised by a shred fest guitar duel before kicking into that killer chorus once more. I'm really impressed at how, Heafy, Beaulieu and bassist Gregoletto all contribute vocally. "Strife" is definitely the highlight of the album. Being the title track to a Trivium album, you'd expect title track "Vengeance Falls" to be emphatic and heavy. It isn't, and is largely a disappointment. It never seems to get going, is very basic and seems lazy. For me, it is a weak point on the album. Groovy track 5 "To Believe" is another high performer. Fast paced, catchy and anthemic. It all builds to an euphoric outro, with lead shredding, Beaulieu screams, a bouncy riff and drums. Its a shame that the outro only lasted for half a minute. The next highlight "Incineration: The Broken World" offers more melodic riffage, heavier vocals, but that solo; the duel is reminiscent of "Like Fire to the Flies" or any other gem off "Ascendancy." An absolute beauty and on of the best Trivium solos you will hear. The rhythmic partnership of Gregoletto and drummer Augusto seems to be gelling well. Gregoletto is a classy and tasteful bassist, but is largely underpowered by the other instruments. Hints of his excellence and power can be seen on "No Way to Heal" and a devilish intro to "Villainy Thrives." Augusto is a fantastic drummer and holds the rhythmic fort down solidly throughout. The special edition has an extra 3 tracks, which include the same melodic heavy riffage we hear throughout the normal edition, but also features an unexpected but reasonable cover of "Skulls... We Are 138" originally by Misfits. You are not missing anything if you don't get the special edition, but if you want more of the same then it is recommended.
Lyrics — 8
If you are after Matt Heafy's death metal vocals, you won't find them here as he bravely reserves the more aggressive vocals for the breakdowns in some songs, and adopts a fantastic clean melodic vocal which impress throughout the album. This seemed risky after what happened with "The Crusade" but working with Draiman, he has increased his vocal range which can be heard on track 10 "Wake (The End Is Nigh)." Final track "Wake (The End Is Nigh)" is centered around the improved vocals of Matt Heafy. It starts out with a clean riff, and a beautiful vocal performance by Heafy, hitting low notes that I never knew existed, but they are fitting and suitable. His passion is evident and the lyrics are another highlight "With my hands around your throat/ That's the way I like you most/ When you're choking on the feelings rushing out/ Time won't open up its wings/ Let me fall from Grace/ And lend into the flames/ I don't want to feel this love go cold/ I don't know how you opened this light before." It speeds up into another heavy melodic track, but is still very much vocal centered, until the outro when the solo takes over.
Overall Impression — 8
"Vengeance Falls" fails to scale the heights of their best work, but is certainly a positive metal track, with an impressive blend of melody, crunchy riffs, shred fests, and emphatic choruses. This is one of the strongest metalcore tracks out there. The production by David Draiman is fantastic, and you can hear every crisp element superbly. Overall, "Vengeance Falls" is a good metalcore album. Some parts could have been improved, most notably the intro to "No Way to Heal" and "Vengeance Falls," but throughout the 10 tracks you get the feeling Trivium have matured as musicians. They have given a reason for fans to forgive them for "The Crusade" as they are now leading the dwindling metalcore scene with a solid set of tracks, and even though it isn't their best work, it is still refreshing and glorious. End transmission.