Written by: AP on 02/11/2008 03:03:00

Being the band that everyone loves to hate isn't always easy. Things will be thrown at you and middle fingers will be shown at you. They will categorize you, accuse you, and mock you. It isn't easy, but it challenges you to prove them wrong. Your metalcore is generic, they say, so you write a thrash metal album. It sounds like a cheap copy of the thrash metal kings, they say, so you write some incredible riffs. You sound like James Hetfield, they say, so you revert back to an extreme vocal style. This is, in summary, all that is true about Trivium's music and history, and "Shogun" is the embodiment of it.

It combines elements from all of the band's discs and lays them on top of a progressive, but predominantly thrash sound. Most of the songs make it well past the five-minute mark, but they're devoid of stagnating parts completely. In fact, you'd probably be too busy scratching your head to notice anyway, trying to fathom Matt and Corey's musicianship because fuck, it's absolutely fucking incredible. Without the slightest exaggeration, it's safe to say that they have written their finest riffs to date, not to mention the finest songs. Wherever there is an opportunity, there is Matt or Corey showing off. And why shouldn't they, with the instrumental prowess that the two possess?

And although Heafy's vocals have been the subject of much outcry from critics in the past, his work on "Shogun" should silence even the most hateful of them. It's all there: the frightening screams from "Ember to Inferno", the melodic choruses from "Ascendancy", and the thrashier shout from "The Crusade", which earned him a reputation of wanting to be James Hetfield. At the same time he has learned in all ways of delivery, with the result that "Shogun" features the heaviest, and the most emotional songs the band has composed to date. If there's one thing to applaud Trivium for, it's writing infectiously catchy songs with a lasting effect.

Still, "Shogun" is far from radio-friendly stuff. It's a bleeding thrash metal assault flavored with bits of metalcore, and the absolute pinnacle of Trivium's career so far. It's what the band wants to and should sound like. It's a fuck you to the hate bandwagon that thought Trivium could never become what "Shogun" has proven them to now be: heavy metal, pure and simple. And while it isn't a perfect album, it's pretty damn close. In all likelihood it will receive the same treatment its predecessors did, but see past your prejudices and accept that bands can and do grow and mature. Giving this one a miss out of unjust loathing for the band will earn you a fool's reputation, not Trivium.

Download: Down from the Sky, Into the Mouth of Hell We March, Throes of Perdition

For the fans of: Himsa, Slayer, Unearth

Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.09.2008


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