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Album Review

Trivium – ‘What The Dead Men Say’ [Album Review]



Florida’s Grammy Award-nominated metallers, Trivium are back and in a big way with their ninth studio album release, What The Dead Men Say, an epic continuation of many of the elements that brought the band such critical acclaim on their previous release, The Sin And The Sentence. What made that album so well-received by longtime and new fans alike was the balance they managed to achieve between the clean, melodic components and the more brutal, heavier aspects of their sound, as well as the immensely technical drumming contributed by new arrival Alex Bent. That record felt huge, with many drawing parallels to the band’s magnum opus, 2008’s Shogun. For many bands, following such a knockout record would be hard. But at this point, 15 years after really breaking into the heavy music scene with their second album Ascendancy, it’s pretty much child’s play for Trivium.

The new album begins with an ominous-sounding intro that leads straight into a title track that will have even the most elitist metalhead headbanging along. This song is a perfect start to the record as it really showcases how seamlessly the group wields their musical influences, blending elements of melodic death metal, black metal, thrash, and more–going from melodic chorus to blast beat-driven passages that sound like they could come from the coldest, bleakest corner of Scandanavia.

Indeed, Trivium has never really existed in any one subgenre ‘box’ or conformed to any metal trend and this album is no different. Within these ten tracks, you’ll not only hear all sorts of influences from across the many metal subgenres but also from Trivium’s past records. Look no further than songs three and four, “Catastrophist” and “Amongst The Shadows And The Stones,” which were released as the first and third singles respectively. Either could’ve fit well on TSATS, but also feature epic guitar solos that feel ripped from 2005-2008-era Trivium.

Meanwhile, the infectiously catchy and melodic “Bleed Into Me,” feels more akin to “Until The World Goes Cold,” from their seventh album release. And then there’s “The Defiant,” a frenzied high-energy track that feels like it could’ve been on 2005’s Ascendancy, and instantly transported me back to my 15-year old self (the guitar tones and riffs in this one….Holy nostalgia, Batman!)

The rest of the record will give many longtime fans these “aha!” moments where they relate a song to one or more beloved Trivium ‘oldies,’ so I won’t spoil any more of those. Of the remainder of the album, standout tracks include the crushingly heavy “Bending The Arc To Fear,” and somberly melodic “Scattering The Ashes.” The record closes with “The Ones We Leave Behind,” a fast, circle pit-ready masterpiece that I can only hope will make it onto a setlist once this COVID-19 mess is over with.

On What The Dead Men Say, Trivium continues to chart a clear path forward that is paved with elements from across the metal spectrum and the band’s past. While the album feels short, there’s just so much Trivium packed in that it’s able to both satisfy and make the listener crave more.

What The Dead Men Say Track Listing:

1. IX
2. What The Dead Men Say
3. Catastrophist
4. Amongst The Shadows And 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

Run Time: 46:32
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Record Label: Roadrunner Records

When he's not out in the woods, clomping around in streams, or looking at shiny rocks, you can find our U.S. Managing Editor and contributing photographer Nathan Katsiaficas in the photo pit, covering everything from heavy metal to punk, alternative, indie, and hip-hop.