Review : Trivium - Shogun
AllmusicTrivium never asked to be described as "the next Metallica" by a hyperbolic British magazine or two, but because they tried to make the best of the opportunity instead of wilting away with apologetic shouts of "We're not worthy!," they've taken a hell of a lot of guff from radical heavy metal fans, already stirred up over the group's signing to the closest approximation to corporatism in their world: Roadrunner Records (who actually dare work with non-metal bands -- curse them!). Admittedly, the youthful Floridian quartet (whose confidence has been frequently misconstrued as arrogance) didn't help matters when the band followed its impressive sophomore album, Ascendancy, with an undisguised bid for wider commercial appeal via its inconsistent third album, The Crusade. Thus came something of a backlash even among their supporters, bringing, in turn, the stylistic retreat toward more uncompromising metallic terrain embodied by the group's fourth album, Shogun. On this outing, Trivium elevate their new millennium thrash to -- by their standards -- largely unprecedented heights of intensity and complexity, stacking riff upon riff (really good ones, too) into densely structured highlights such as "Down from the Sky," "Throes of Perdition," and the especially devastating "Kirisute Gomen" (which supposedly means "Pardon me while I cut off your head off" in Japanese). Corey Beaulieu and Matt Heafy's shred-intensive guitar solos also pepper every track, flying every which way like vengeful hornets, and the latter's always varied vocalizing once again prizes Hetfield-ian growls and guttural screams over more sparsely distributed (and therefore more impactful) melodic singing....full text
Sputnikmusic"Nothing mars a good metal record like so-called harsh vocals."
The above sentiment opens Rolling Stone’s review of Trivium’s 2006 album The Crusade, the Florida metal group’s third and most successful outing to date. Not only does the above quote say just about everything that can be said about the magazine’s dated philosophy (“everything was better in the old days, even when it clearly wasn’t”), it’s indicative of the trap the band fell into while making the album. Regardless of whether The Crusade was musically accomplished or not, most saw it for what it was- it wasn’t a cheap Metallica knock-off, but it was still a bargain basement Metallica record, and a lot of people called them out on it. Trivium became one of the biggest acts in commercial rock, but in doing so they had sacrificed many of the elements that had made them special to begin with, an outstanding group within an increasingly derivative NWOAHM movement.
With Shogun, Trivium appear to have taken much of the criticism to heart in a constructive way. Frontman/guitarist Matt Heafy’s Metallicophilia is still rampant in places, but here it is much more individualised and in tune with the band’s metalcore roots: the singer could now actually pass for somebody who’s been influenced by James Hetfield, rather than somebody who’s trying to become him. Opener ‘Kirisute Gomen’ demonstrates the point neatly. Beginning with a decidedly ‘Battery’-like baroque guitar motif, the track kicks into gear with harmonised leads and a galloping thrash riff around the one-minute mark, but from thereon in it sounds more like the Trivium of old. Heafy’s pig-squeal vocals during the verse gel well with the strained melodic pre-chorus, while Travis Smith’s renewed love affair with the blast beat is, at least it becomes clear he can’t snap out of it, a welcome re-addition to their sound....full text
MusicomhOh, those Americans. True, their economy is crumbling even faster than ours, but they're still doing a far better job of safeguarding the spirit of indie.
The moment any of our doe-eyed, wistful indie kids get a sniff of success, they're signing to major labels, providing the soundtrack to TV shows about property improvement, and churning out music-by-numbers in ever blander shades of magnolia. Not so with the doe-eyed, wistful kids of US indie, of whom Pale Young Gentlemen are fine examples....full text
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