Silence In The Snow

Written by: TL on 15/10/2015 19:02:40

That Florida metallers Trivium are alive and well in their second decade of existence is a fact cemented with this year's release of their seventh album "Silence In The Snow". It is the sixth album of theirs to come out on Roadrunner Records, which perhaps tells you more than anything that these boys, sworn Metallica fans as they are, have never been coy about aiming wide, which makes it even more ironic that frontman Matt Heafy's vocal style - specifically how much he does or does not scream - continues to be a talking point. Sure, Trivium once emerged with a metalcore label attached, but they have hardly ever catered to the metal fans of more extreme inclinations, so whether or not Heafy screams should hardly be a deciding factor as to whether you enjoy them or not.

Be that as it may, Heafy blew his vocals in 2014, and the ensuing vocal training he has undergone to recover, has led to an album where he once again sticks to cleans, and longtime fans have thus likely find themselves once more amidst tedious sell-out discussions, just like when the group went all clean on 2006's "Ascendancy". But when you think back on the classic songs in the quartet's discography, is it not exactly the melodic, clean choruses that stand out the most? Be it with "Like Light To Flies", "Down From The Sky" or "At The End Of This War", longtime members Heafy, Beaulieu and Gregoletto (on guitars and bass respectively), have managed to gradually outgrow many metal peers by consistently building their shredding around some good old catchy choruses, and all the more power to them for that.

And on "Silence In The Snow", fans will be happy to find that the attention to choruses persists, even if the surrounding musical landscape has found yet another nuance in the band's gradually morphing style. Former producer David Draiman's simplistic, nu-metallic influence is carried over in a small capacity from the often chugging and abrupt "Vengeance Falls", but "Silence In The Snow" as a whole is less aggressive and more classical sounding, which makes some sense considering that the band has professed to drawing influence from the likes of Dio, Rainbow and 'Sabbath. The sacrifice of aggression, however, is ultimately regrettable, as it has traditionally been this force in Trivium's sound that gave sufficient contrast to the omnipresent neo-classical soloing and the singalongable choruses. The supposedly heavy elements that routinely find themselves relegated to verse-duty here on "Silence In The Snow", are hardly very heavy at all, even for Trivium, and as some have remarked, with varying degrees of appreciation, this sounds more like arena rock than epic thrash metal - and it is every bit as easily digestible but also easily forgettable.

If you come to "Silence In The Snow" looking for a punch in the stomach or a vicious battering of riffage then, you will be disappointed, as even Volbeat fans will hardly feel threatened here, despite the album's ghastly visage. If you're here for blistering, melodic solos and soaring - almost power metal - choruses, that you can fist pump and swig beer pints to, however, you will have better luck. "Blind Leading The Blind" does not mess around too much in the beginning, quickly arriving at a nice and dirty little groove in the prechorus before soaring to expected highs in the chorus. "Pull Me From The Void" has a retro, cheesy start to it that gives you a nice 'Maiden-ish vibe, even if the tempo gets a bit lacklustre in the chorus here, and "Until The World Goes Cold" holds up solidly as the kind of epic hard rock ballad that gives a nice change of pace amidst the wilder tracks on any heavy metal album. "Beneath The Sun" also has a nice signature riff to it, though it is ultimately betrayed by a somewhat rigid vocal hook.

The best song on offer, though, is the title track, strictly because it's main vocal melody takes the kind of unexpected turn that will eventually make it memorable beyond the rest. And this comes with a caveat because the song was originally written for the band's 2008 album "Shogun" (which is widely considered their best to date). The remainder of the record, however, is wholesome modern metal, yet it hardly figures to make an impact you'll remember for very long into the future. The tracks suffer, as does the whole album really, from being just a bit too neat. It's true that there's an exercise for all bands in cutting away excess trim from their compositions and their production, but here it feels like Trivium has shaved too close for comfort, leaving an album that seems void of the kind of movements that really impress you, let alone feel like they're trying to.

In short: Trivium's traditional qualities are definitely still on display on "Silence In The Snow", but this time the surroundings feel a bit like a band merely producing necessary ammunition to keep the touring machinery going, more so than one that has anything to prove to the scene around them or indeed, to more discerning returning listeners of theirs. It's not unenjoyable but at the same time hardly super impressive.


Download: Silence In The Snow, Blind Leading The Blind, Until The World Goes Cold,
For The Fans Of: All That Remains, Machine Head, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold

Release date 02.10.2015
Roadrunner Records

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