Album Review: Trivium – Vengeance Falls

Yup – it’s me again… and I did promise I would do a negative review this time… so here’s a bit of a story behind this band…

Their first, usually forgotten about album, Embers To Inferno was released in 2003, when Matt Heafy was only 17 years old… it was a solid album, it lacked energy in some songs, but the basic ingredients were all there, I never liked Matt Heafy’s vocals, but I wouldn’t say they were bad… I always thought his screams sounded a little bit strained, and they lacked power… but that’s just my opinion, but regardless, I have to respect him for composing all the music and writing all the lyrics here. For a first album, it definitely wasn’t bad… hell, songs like Pillars Of Serpents, If I Could Collapse The Masses and When All Light Dies were even pretty damn good. If I were reviewing this album, I would give it maybe a 6/10.

Then we have their second 2005 album, Ascendancy… which contains my personal favourite Trivium song Pull Harder on The Strings Of Your Martyr, as well as another memorable song, Dying In Your Arms… aside from the simplistic, predictable lyrics, I regard both these songs as classics… but the problem with this album isn’t poor writing or composing in the other songs… to me, it’s that I don’t find any of the other songs on this album to be memorable. The rest of Drowned And Torn Asunder doesn’t live up to its intro, and The Deceived is just boring in my opinion. All in all, a pretty damn good album… it just needed more songs with the energy and catchiness of Pull Harder… and Dying In Your Arms. (Probably about 8/10).

This was, in my opinion, too quickly followed up by The Crusade, which while having more energy and a different sound, feels rushed, and pushed out too quickly. My personal favourites in this album are Anthem (We Are The Fire) and Detonation, as well as a pretty solid instrumental closing track, The Crusade. There weren’t any tracks that stood out as being bad… but again, most just weren’t that memorable to me – once again this album would sit at an 8/10.

Then came my personal favourite Trivium album, Shogun in 2008. In this case, the songs were all memorable in their own way, and it was the song Down From The Sky that introduced me to them in the first place. Aside from the songs intro, which I still think was too long, I got so into the song, I went out and bought the album on CD the day it came out, and was very impressed with what I had heard. There was a clear passion for the music, real ambition, a great enthusiasm and energy, and I liked Matt Heafy’s vocals… like… a lot… (easily 10/10 and 2nd best album of 2008).

So you can imagine my disappointment, when after three years, I actually spent money on In Waves! Now I can respect them for wanting to try something a little different… and I even support bands releasing something different to their previous releases – such as Green Day’s ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! and Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King were albums that were VERY different to those bands previous efforts, and I thought they were great albums… but In Waves was a horrible experience, not because it was different, but because it was boring. The music was so bland to me, the vocals were flat and had no energy, all the songs (except the title track, which I’ll get to in a minute) are unbelievably forgettable, and I would best sum it up by describing it as Bullet For My Valentine’s Temper Temper 2 years early! Now the title track, In Waves is catchy – I will give it that, but so repetitive and devoid of any other redeeming features, that it is stuck in my head in the same way as Miley CyrusWrecking Ball is… and even that song had better lyrics than this joke of a song (0/10 is just too generous for this album…)

So how does Vengeance Falls fare? Well – it’s better than In Waves… by quite a HUGE amount… but that really doesn’t say much…

 

Ok – straight away, the lyrics sound like Disturbed lyrics… which would be a compliment if this were a Disturbed album, but it’s not… but this makes you wonder if producer David Draiman had something to do with this… musically however, they don’t sound like Trivium either…

And honestly, with the first song Brave This Storm, I actually like this new sound… the screams are kept to a minimum and his cleans sound pretty good… hell, the riffs are relatively simplistic, but this works to the songs advantage.

But then after this song comes the problem; the second song, the title track, Vengeance Falls, feels flat and there’s little energy in it, and the faster part with the solo feels like it doesn’t belong there, but is just there for the sake of it… to be fair though, I’m still liking Matt’s clean vocals… and to be honest, they are the one thing I like throughout the album.

The third song, Strife sounds like it should be cool, and reminds me of a mix of Drowning Pool and Soil musically… and Matt’s vocals do sound good… but again, it’s lack of energy brings it down.

Ok next track now, No Way To Heal… well, it starts with a cool lead riff, but beyond that, it sounds too much like the last two songs, and it’s this lack of variation and lack of energy I am hearing that is bringing this album down for me as a whole… in just the first four tracks, I have described the whole album. Well – that and solos that honestly feel a bit forced at times, and lifeless at others. Hell, the next song, To Believe’s intro sounds similar to the last track’s, and the vocal rhythms and sound make Matt sound a LOT like David Draiman… but to be fair, this album is better than Draiman’s side project, Device’s self-titled album… ugh, that sucked! To be fair, the riff playing for the chorus of To Believe sounds pretty awesome, and I feel like the album needs more energetic parts like this song, Through Blood And Dirt And Bone and the opening song Brave This Storm.

The little variation there is isn’t always a good thing in this album either… At The End Of This War starts with an acoustic intro which, while sounding quite good, has no reason to be there, doesn’t fit into the song, and adds nothing to it whatsoever… and the clean intro in the final song Wake [The End Is Nigh] is just boring and empty… The variation in Incineration: The Broken World would be cool if it flowed and felt like it naturally belonged in the song, but it doesn’t, and as a result, the song sounds like a mess… and aside from those forced bits, the song sounds the same as the others…

My least favourite song on this album though is Villany Thrives – a dull, lifeless song that feels so empty and boring, it might as well be on the In Waves album.

Now that would be the end of the review… but NOPE… I have the Vengeance Falls (Special Edition) which contains two really boring songs that sound like they got rejected from the album for being TOO dull… and given what I’ve just said about all the other songs on this album, that should tell you something… and then, worst of all, they have a cover of The Misfit’s Skulls… We Are The 138 which fails to come together because the music and the vocals don’t work together, and don’t suit this particular song…

Well… unlike In Waves, this album isn’t a total loss… I mean, I DID like Matt’s clean vocals, and there were great, energetic, fun, and exciting, but there just weren’t enough of them…

I would like to hear Trivium experiment with this sound a little more, as I feel, if done right, it does have potential… here’s hoping for a return to form from Trivium in the near future…

TriviumVengeance Falls
Best Bit: Chorus in To Believe
Best Song: Either To Believe or Through Blood And Dirt And Bone
Final Verdict: 3/10

Review by Stuart Johnstone.

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About moshontheradio

Mosh on the Radio: the 2 hour metal 'mix tape' streamed to you every Tuesday night. More brutal than a bag of honey badgers, more underground than a Womble. Now with subtitles! http://www.aberdeenstudentradio.com/
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