Sound — 8
Florida's biggest metal band Trivium are back, and as always, on fantastic form with their sixth studio album, "Vengeance Falls." The band's latest offering is slightly different from the norm, in the fact that Disturbed and Device frontman David Draiman took on the task of producing the record. "Vengeance Falls" was produced at a studio in Austin, Texas and was mixed by Colin Richardson, who has previously worked with other legendary bands such as Fear Factory, Machine Head, Napalm Death and Slipknot.
At first, "Vengeance Falls" seemed to have a rather polarizing effect on fans of the band. Some loved the album, others hated it. Initially, as I am not too keen on Disturbed, I myself was part of the latter - though given a few more listens, the record has grown on me. David Draiman has a very unique style when it comes to his vocals and songwriting, and as such, his involvement in the writing process of Vengeance Falls is obvious on a few certain tracks. By all means, this is not a bad thing as Heafy's vocal range has, without a doubt, improved considerably. It's just that at a few points on the album, Matt's trademark vocal style seems to blend a little bit too much with Draiman's, which makes it feel like you're listening to a Disturbed track. This is my only minor gripe with the album overall.
Lyrics — 9
Prior to the release of "Vengeance Falls," band members stated in interviews that the songwriting would be some of the heaviest they've ever done, even heavier than "In Waves." Now this depends on each individual's definition of "heavy," but I think they were right. The songwriting has been, to an extent, stripped back to the basics. They have taken away all the unnecessary and superfluous shredding and guitar solos, whilst integrating uncomplicated but effective and heavy riffs which bring back a sense of brutality, reminiscent of some tracks from "Ember to Inferno."
Lyrically, Heafy has yet again, outdone himself. You need only listen to the track "Villainy Thrives" to understand what I mean. Matt isn't afraid to craft his lyrics to confront and challenge the wrongdoings in this world, and make the listener think. This is something I admire in him, as not many vocalists care enough to write lyrics which are actually meaningful these days. I personally have always found inspiration in Heafy's lyrics. For example, older tracks such as "Ignition," "Contempt Breeds Contamination" and "A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation," really struck a chord with me deep down. They made me take a look at myself and the way I treat the people around me and have ultimately helped me to improve my perspective on life, and generally better myself as a person. "Villainy Thrives," as well as other tracks on "Vengeance Falls," have now done the same.
Overall Impression — 8
The production values and mixing for "Vengeance Falls" are virtually flawless. Every instrument is perfectly balanced in the mix, complementing each other in just the right ways to create a unique sound, unlike anything Trivium have ever released before. One thing worth noting is bassist Paolo Gregoletto's work - too often with great metal albums, the bass is lost in the mix amongst the heavily distorted guitars. But with "Vengeance Falls," the bass is easy to pick out, which adds a new dimension to Trivium's already unique sound, filling out more of the low-end which has essentially been absent since "The Crusade." Paolo has a moment where he truly shines by implementing a bass solo in the track "Incineration - The Broken World."
"Vengeance Falls" genuinely sounds like a culmination of all of Trivium's work to date - blending the heavier styles from "Ember to Inferno" and "Shogun" with the more melodic, atmospheric styles from "In Waves" and "The Crusade" together perfectly.
In conclusion, "Vengeance Falls" is yet another astounding album added to Trivium's sonic arsenal, and whilst it took a while to grow on some, others fell in love with it instantly. For both old fans of Trivium and first-time listeners alike, this is not an album to be missed.