Floridian metallers attempt to regain lost ground on fifth album.
Ian Winwood 2011-08-08
In the past, Trivium were seen as being the future. On a freezing day at the 2005 Download Festival at Donington Park, thousands upon thousands of metalheads could be seen sprinting their way across uneven ground in order to watch the Orlando quartet’s early afternoon set. The buzz was such that immediately after this the band were featured on the front cover of Kerrang!, and whispers could be heard claiming that theirs was the name reserved for the grandest chair at metal’s high table. At the time Metallica were flogging their frankly awful St Anger album, and in this vacuum Trivium were viewed as being the most capable defenders of the faith.
Six years on and such notions seem a bit fanciful, if not downright fictional. Like an unwise investor squandering his stake on shonky stocks, Trivium spent the remainder of the century’s first decade releasing albums that weren’t all that they might have been. Most of all, the problem with the group’s music was that it lacked anything like a concrete identity: it was very heavy metal, but of a kind that was something like an extreme music Tapas bar, with a bit of death-metal gurning, some speed-metal shredding, some power-metal thump, and some Fade To Black-style balladeering. What wasn’t in evidence was the notion that Trivium were in any way moving these genres forward. It wasn’t quite Butlin’s metal, but it wasn’t precisely cutting-edge either.
Casting a critical eye, it’s probably right to say that In Waves continues this trend. Then again, it’s possibly only fair to say that at least here the group have managed to master these styles in a manner to which they are afforded a stamp of some individuality. The album’s better songs – of which a towering Black and the inventive if not precisely brilliantly titled Capsize the Sea are just two – even hark back to the time when their creators sounded fresh and exciting. This may not be quite enough for Trivium to turn back the hands of the clock to the point where the world lay at their fretboards, but the notion that this is a band whose best days lie behind them is one that, at least for now, is resting on ice.