Lead vocalist/rhythm 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 Coolnote .
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 with its title track, an 11-minute song (with vocals) that's even more progressive than "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).
In Waves was released in 2011 and was more of a return to the style seen in Ascendancy rather than the previous two albums. It was the first album recorded with drummer Nick Augusto, who had replaced Travis Smith. The album saw the departure of the 7-string guitars, opting for the standard 6-strings in Drop-C# tuningnote . It was met with generally positive reception, although was criticized for being over-produced and inconsistent.
Vengeance Falls, was released on October 15th, 2013. It was also the band's last album with Augusto, who was fired in May 2014. He was later replaced with Mat Madiro in July. Their latest album, Silence in the Snow, was released on October 2, 2015. It is also their only album with Madiro as he was later replaced by Paul Wandtke in December. Wandtke himself lasted almost exactly a year and was let go of around the very end of 2016; Alex Bent is his replacement.
- Ember to Inferno (2003)
- Ascendancy (2005)
- The Crusade (2006)
- Shogun (2008)
- In Waves (2011)
- Vengeance Falls (2013)
- Silence in the Snow (2015)
- The Sin and the Sentence (2017)
- What the Dead Men Say (2020)
- Matt Heafy: lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1999-present), lead guitar, backing vocals (1999-2001)
- Corey Beaulieu: lead guitar, backing vocals (2003-present)
- Paolo Gregoletto: bass, backing vocals (2004-present)
- Alex Bent: drums (2017-present)
- Travis Smith: drums (1999-2009)
- Brent Young: rhythm guitar (2000-2001), bass, backing vocals (2001-2004)
- Brad Lewter: lead vocals, bass (1999-2000)
- Nick Augusto: drums (2010-2014)
- Mat Madiro: drums (2014-2015)
- Paul Wandtke: drums (2015-2016)
What the Dead Men Tropes:
- Afro Asskicker: Alex Bent, at times.
- 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!
- "Dusk Dismantled", where Heafy requires the audience to say those two words.
- Also, the single off Vengeance Falls "Strife".
- "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" from The Crusade is a good example of this because of its Metallica-esque "WHOA-OH, WHOA-OH" parts and the titular "We are the fire!"
- Badass Baritone: Matt pulls this trope off nicely.
- Badass Beard: Beaulieu.
- 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).
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Matt and Corey are both fairly tall while Paolo and Alex are short.
- But Not Too Foreign: Matt, who is half-Japanese and half-Irish.
- Common Time: Most of their material.
- Concept Album: Vengeance Falls seems to be leaning towards this.
- Cover Version:
- "Master of Puppets", "Iron Maiden", "Slave New World", "Damnit", "Losing My Religion" and "Skulls...We Are 138".
- The band also encourages fans to post covers of their songs to Youtube. There's even a video where they watch some, and Matt compliments someone for being able to understand his "jumbled yelling".
- Domestic Abuse: "A Gunshot To The Head of Trepidation" is about this from the point of view of the abused.
- 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 Metallica-meets-Killswitch Engage 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).
- Fading into the Next Song: "Ignition" into "Dentonation".
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Matt: Choleric
- Corey: Melancholic
- Paolo: Phlegmatic
- Alex: Sanguine
- Genre-Busting: Melodic Metalcore and Thrash Metal, with influences from Progressive Metal and modern rock.
- 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."
- 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.
- I Am the Band: Matt the only original member after Travis left the band.
- Last Chorus Slowdown: "To The Rats" resulting in an Incredibly Long Note ending.
- Lead Drummer: Alex Bent was famous for his incredible technical ability well before he was ever in Trivium and is also a minor name in gospel.
- Leitmotif: The acoustic guitars in the intro of "Kirisute Gomen" play the chorus melody of "Shogun".
- Lighter and Softer: Vengeance Falls cuts down on the Harsh Vocals and features several songs with a more Hard Rock sound. Silence in the Snow goes even further, consisting solely of clean singing and eliminating all metalcore influences in favor of a classic Heavy Metal sound.
- Longest Song Goes Last: Shogun (not counting the special edition's bonus tracks) ends with the 11:55 Title Track (11:22 on the special edition).
- Loudness War: Their first six albums had this problem by being heavily brickwalled and having noticeable clipping issues. However, 'Silence In The Snow' completely averts this by having an expanded dynamic range (around a DR 10) with almost no clipping to be found, a rarity for mainstream modern metal band.
- Metal Scream: Matt Heafy has a very recognizable Type 1 that is a very hoarse roar. He is also capable of Type 2s but almost never uses them.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A solid 8.
- BOAT! RUDDER! STRANGE! MOUNTAIN!
- 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.
- 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.
- Musical Nod: "IX" is a rearranged version of the opening riffs of a song called "Shroud Of Chaos" that Matt Heafy had composed for First-Person Shooter streamer Shroud. Its immediate followup, "What The Dead Men Say", also contains portions of the riffs as part of the song.
- 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.
- Vengeance Falls goes back to a sound somewhere between Ascendancy and The Crusade and throws in a whole lot of modern rock elements.
- Silence in the Snow is largely a full jump to modern rock with a few trappings of their older material peeking out here and there.
- The Sin and the Sentence is basically Ascendancy with more clean vocals and far busier and more technical drumming.
- 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:
- Rockumentary: The Special Edition of Shogun had one of these about the making of the album. In Waves had one on it's Special Edition as well.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Matt Heafy in the studio. Live, bassist Paolo Gregoletto covers backing singing, and co-guitarist Corey Beaulieu covers most screaming if a song is mostly singing. Wordof God says Matt has a hard time adjusting between the two mid-song, though he does on occasion (several songs off In Waves as well as Becoming The Dragon).
- 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.
- Soprano and Gravel: Heafy's vocals alternate between a Metal Scream and Pop Punk-esque singing. The Crusade ditched this in favor of a raspy singing style that sounds a lot like James Hetfield. Shogun blended all three voices together, while subsequent works eliminated the Hetfield voice in favor of the screamed-verse-sung-chorus format.
- Special Guest: The status of Madiro and Wandtke. On album, Alex Vieira (Cannae) and Jason Suecof (Capharnaum, also their producer from Ember to Inferno to The Crusade) have both contributed guest leads.
- Spiritual Successor: Most music critics and metalheads have likened them as a true successor to Metallica themselves, for many, many reasons. Skeptical yet?
- 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.
- Teen Genius: Matt Heafy was only 17 when he tracked and released Ember to Inferno and was 18 when he tracked Ascendancy (and turned 19 shortly before it was released), while Paolo was days away from turning 19 when he tracked Ascendancy and didn't turn 20 until well into its touring cycle.
- 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".