TRIVIUM
"Vengeance Falls"

(Roadrunner)

01. Brave This Storm
02. Vengeance Falls
03. Strife
04. No Way To Heal
05. To Believe
06. At The End Of This War
07. Through Blood And Dirt And Bone
08. Villainy Thrives
09. Incineration: The Broken World
10. Wake (The End Is Nigh)

RATING: 8.5/10

From the beginning in their late teens, TRIVIUM had a vision of success and few bands in the early 2000's wanted it more than these guys. Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu have proven to be a first-rate tag team of virtuoso guitarists and songwriters since starting their journey in impressive fashion with "Ember to Inferno". Every album they've released since has elevated them to prominence in metal music.

Now carrying veteran status, TRIVIUM's acumen is harnessed by DISTURBED/DEVICE's David Draiman, who helps cut through the densities of the senses-shredding "Shogun" and "In Waves" for the band's sixth album, "Vengeance Falls". Despite the omnipresence of Jason Suecof on TRIVIUM's earlier works, Draiman and the band work together to keep "Vengeance Falls" lean, occasionally mean and best of all, tighter than ever. This, considering they're already one the tightest bands of their ilk.

The opening number "Brave This Storm" sounds like every contemporary metal jam you've ever heard, straight down to the blast-beating intro that swerves into agro-chugged strides. Yet the fluid shift to teeming harmonies on the choruses crane the song to heroic heights, allotting for interposing screams amidst Matt Heafy's defiant cleans. The galloping outro to "Brave This Storm" leaves a heaving thread that's picked up by the mechanized strums of Heafy, Beaulieu and bassist Paolo Gregoletto on the title track. The latter is given extra muscle through perfectly-sieved beat variations from Nick Augusto, who is pure money throughout the entire album.

"No Way to Heal" and "To Believe" may poke along in their verses, yet each song is given distinguishable trimmings to propel them beyond initial threats of mediocrity. Bursts of careening speed and some sterling bass spirals from Paolo Gregoletto hijack the initial plod of "No Way to Heal". The up-tempo-yet-bittersweet choruses and bridges of "To Believe" turns that song into a winner after its preliminary pattering. Later, the tricky grind rolls breaking into the main bobs of "Incineration: The Broken World" (the album's most multifaceted song) are nearly as memorable as the dual neoclassical melodies running beneath the extensive solo sections that surge in spots, puncture in others.

It's been a real treat over the years hearing Matt Heafy's vocals evolve as he and the band draw closer toward their thirties. "Vengeance Falls" reveals one of his finest vocal performances, exhibiting a broader range that's progressively dispelling the hard projections, though those are still to be found in increments. Sure, Heafy continues to wield his trusty James Hetfield tendencies in spots, "To Believe" and "At the End of the This War" being the most obvious examples. Yet, the smoother, mature palettes he delivers on "Brave This Storm", "Vengeance Falls", "Incineration: The Broken World" and "Through Blood and Dirt and Bone" shows Heafy authenticating himself on the mike as much as the guitar. He hits a new height on the opening verses of "Wake (The End is Nigh)" prior to the heavier, scream-plugged segments crammed into later parts.

The guitar solos between Heafy and Beaulieu are as flashy and congruent as ever, dashed in-and-out (except for "Incineration: The Broken World") through the album's standard arrangements. The meatiest and coolest solos come on the punched-up yet melodic "Villainy Thrives", while "Strife", "No Way to Heal" and "Wake (The End is Nigh)"'s scale-driven solos are ornately dealt straight from the old school of guitar wizardry.

TRIVIUM has always sounded pro even when first coming up the ranks, but now they're major league caliber. At this point, it's almost unfair to call TRIVIUM metalcore when "Vengeance Falls", minus a few quickly-pressed breakdowns, is simply a modern metal record bearing tremendous groove on top of finesse. While TRIVIUM's detractors are unlikely to find much to jump on board with "Vengeance Falls", the band should easily please their fans by sticking to core tricks from their metal playbooks, executing with less embellishment and far more drive. This is a step toward the mainstream without sacrificing one iota of TRIVIUM's integrity. To this point, they have navigated one the most intelligent courses of accomplishment that anyone has.

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