Trivium are a Sub-Genre Busting
Metal band originating from Florida. Considering where they come from, however, they have surprisingly little Death Metal
Lead vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter Matt Heafy (arguably the Face of the Band
) joined in 1999, after impressing then vocalist Brad Lewter with a cover of the Offspring's "Self Esteem" at a high school talent show. The name Trivium had been decided before he arrived. No one in the band really knows its meaning (other than the literal Trivium of Studies) but they've kept it due to Rule of Cool*
The band debuted in 2003 with Ember to Inferno
(a weird early installment
), recorded when Heafy was only 17 years old
(as mentioned, it shows
). The album received little mainstream attention, but it somehow got to Roadrunner, who signed the band, and they got cracking on a second album.
The band's second album, Ascendancy
, was a major success and was well received by fans, refining and focusing their sound into what was described at the time as a mix of old-school thrash
aggression with Metalcore screaming, breakdowns, and Drop-D guitar tuning. It is arguably the beginning of their trend of every album being a New Sound Album; this was solidified with 2006's The Crusade
, which almost completely abandoned Metalcore and focused everything on the thrash
elements and only previously hinted at Proto-Progressive
approach, as well as introducing the use of 7-string guitars, ditching Drop-D and screaming almost entirely in favor of an approach that critics and fans described as either "inspired" by Metallica, or "plagiarised" from Metallica (many of the Broken Base
fans who broke off
), especially since Matt Heafy sounds quite Hetfield-esque when singing. Critical reception was overall positive, but the album caused a Broken Base
, typically along the lines of They Changed It, Now It Sucks
vs. Growing the Beard
, especially for Metal fans who still haven't gotten into screaming vocals.
While it can still be considered a New Sound Album
in its own right, it's best to imagine 2008's Shogun
as taking everything from The Crusade
and cranking it Up to Eleven
. (Considering what could be said to be the simplicity of concept in Ascendancy
then Serial Escalation
). The songs were longer, faster, and more technical, all of which could be said about the guitar solos as well; screaming was re-incorporated; the 7-strings were used on at least half of the songs; and even the 8-minute instrumental album closer "The Crusade"
from the previous album was taken to its logical extreme on Shogun
title track, an 11-minute song (with vocals) that's even more progressive thn "The Crusade" (though not as technically difficult to perform, which is part of the reason "The Crusade" was an instrumental to begin with, according to Word Of God
Now the band is changing its sound yet again to reflect more of the approach on Ascendancy
with the recently released In Waves
This band provides examples of:
- A God Am I: In "Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr": "You will scream, 'Oh God, why?'/ 'Cause I'm God, that's fucking why!"
- Album Title Drop: Every album has a title track. "Shogun" averts this, however, because the word is not actually anywhere in the song.
- Audience Participation Song: "A Gunshot To The Head of Trepidation": HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!
- Badass Boast: Heafy's lyrics are given to these, often coinciding with awesome moments. Also, song title "Kirisute Gomen" (lit. "I apologize in advance for striking you down.")
- Balladof X: "And Sadness Will Sear" is this for Matthew Shepard. (See Morality Ballad below).
- Common Time: Most of their material.
- Cover Version:
- Early Installment Weirdness:Ember To Inferno. Specifically, the use of dissonance and Uncommon Time makes it sound especially weird, more akin to Deathcore than the band's signature Thrash/Metalcore sound they're known for these days.
- Epic Rocking: Being a metal band, it'd be almost impossible not to have a few moments of this, but in truth, it doesn't apply to most of their songs, except for "The Crusade" (the title track of the album) and Shogun (about 60% of the album, as well as the title track).
- Face of the Band: Not the extent of, say, Dave Mustaine, but Matt Heafy certainly fits.
- Fadingintothe Next Song: "Ignition" into "Dentonation".
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Europe didn't really get the big first-wave metalcore explosion in the mid-00's, and for a while Trivium were huge in the UK amongst young metalheads.
- Gratuitous Japanese:
- "Kirisute Gomen". The title originally meant "Authorization to cut and leave," meaning that Samurai had the right to strike down a member of the lower class who was compromising the Samurai's honor. A more literal translation often provided in modern times is "I apoligize in advance for striking you down."
- The version offered By Heafy Himself was "I apologize, but I must remove your head.". The songs lyrics feature not only the japanese phrase itself as a sort of hook, but one of the Metal Screams is "I'LL TAKE THEIR FUCKING HEAD!"
- A visual rather than verbal example on the cover of Shogun: the title is written in kanji (将軍) rather than in English.
- Harsh Vocals: See Metal Scream.
- Harmony: This happens on guitars a lot. "But it's metal!", You say. No. They do it more than Iron frikkin' Maiden.
- Last Chorus Slowdown: "To The Rats" resulting in an Incredibly Long Note ending.
- Leitmotif: The acoustic guitars in the intro of "Kirisute Gomen" play the chorus melody of "Shogun".
- Metal Scream: Around The Crusade, Heafy was denouncing it as an Old Shame, but it's present on all of their albums. (Just less regularly on The Crusade)
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: On average, an Eight.
- In "Kirisute Gomen", the lyric "He who walks the fire breathes" has been interpreted as "We all want to buy a fridge"
- Also, in "Becoming The Dragon" where the lyric "This dragon will rise and be king" is interpreted as " This dragon will rise and bake cake"
- Even funnier when you interpret the line before at as "You'll never stop, the bakery, yeah!" instead of "You'll never stop, the becoming, yeah!"
- The first screams of the song In Waves (in which Matt Heafy actually screams "In Waves") have been interpreted as about everything from Egg Whites to Eat Wives.
- Most famously, a guy who really hates the band put up a video that subtitled "Pull! Harder! Strings! Martyr!" as "Boat! Rudder, Strange! Mountain!"
- Morality Ballad: "And Sadness Will Sear" is this in regards to tolerance. It tells the story of Matthew Shepard, framing it as a sort of Tragic Fairy Tale.
- New Sound Album:
- Most of their albums, to an extent:
- Ember To Inferno/Ascendancy: Metalcore with a slight thrash influence.
- The Crusade: More straightforward thrash. Guitarists Heafy and Corey Beaulieu have said their favorite guitar album is Rust In Peace by Megadeth, and many thought they were outright plagiaristic of second-era Metallica.
- Shogun: A mix of their previous styles, with an added progressive edge.
- In Waves: A return to their Ascendancy-era sound, with lower guitar tunings and slightly more emphasis on the thrash elements as opposed to the metalcore (ie more galloping triplets, less breakdowns). According to the band, they think the last two albums were too show-off-y, which is why they're returning to their roots.
- Pet the Dog: Since they're a Metal band (and thus scream and sing about some very evil things, even if they are vehemently disagreeing with said evils), the video for "Shattering the Skies Above" arguably counts.
- Protest Song: Half of their songs are this, in one form or the other.
- Record Producer:
- Jason Suecof on their first three albums. He plays guitar solos on "Pull Harder On The Strings of Your Martyr" and "The Rising". He's well known for his work with Metal bands.
- Nick Raskulinecz of Rush-production fame on Shogun.
- Rockumentary: The Special Edition of Shogun had one of these about the making of the album. In Waves will have one on it's Special Edition as well.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Matt Heafy in the studio. Live, if a song is mostly singing, he lets Bassist Paolo Gregoletto or co-Guitarist Corey Beaulieu cover the screaming, and Vice Versa. Word of God says he has a hard time adjusting between the two mid-song.
- Self-Titled Album: They had a self-titled demo album before Ember to Inferno.
- Serial Escalation: Every album has a new sound, has more greens tossed into the word salad, has more Epic Rocking, guitar solos, etc.
- Song Style Shift: "Shogun". (See Subdued Section.) And then it shifts back.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Matt Heafy had to do this when Brad Lewter left the band.
- Subdued Section: "Shogun". Combined with Epic Rocking at about a 2 on the Mohs Scale.
- Take That:
- Word Salad Title: Their song titles often seem like this, for example, "Inception, the Bleeding Skies", or "Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr".
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Dusk Dismantled".