Trivium are back with In Waves, follow-up to 2008’s excellent Shogun. To my mind, Shogun is a bit of a modern masterpiece, comparable to Machine Head’s The Blackening in scope, ambition and sheer length of song. Sadly In Waves isn’t as good as its predecessor, but it definitely isn’t a poor album. Far from it in fact, as it’s been spun (if that’s the right term to use these days) on my iPod more in the last two weeks than anything else.
In Waves has an overall feel much more like the breakthrough record Ascendancy that catapulted Trivium into the public eye. In the time between those records their releases have been a bit of a mixed bag with a fairly poor public reception of direct follow-up The Crusade and a near 50/50 love/hate reaction to Shogun. Didn’t hurt sales any though.
Although I say it’s closer in spirit to Ascendancy this is in absolutely no way a bad thing as that was one hell of a record. In Waves has all the aggression, powerful riffage and mix of clean and scream vocal that has come to characterise the band’s sound. There’s a uniqueness to the music that’s instantly recognisable as being Trivium yet not sounding like a rehash of past glories. If you’ve liked Trivium at all in the past then you’re probably going to like this.
Despite the maturity in the music, the same can’t really be said for the lyrics. They are all for the most part along the lines of “Here comes death, but how much death? Loads of death! Aaaaaarrrrrrrgh!!”. New drummer Nick Augusto is excellent, though there are a few sharp bits of blastcore drumming which I found irritating rather than adding to the music. Otherwise the drumming is great as is all of the musicianship. Remember that despite being a relatively young band they’ve been around since 2003 and toured in support of heavy hitters such as Iron Maiden and Metallica. You don’t do that if you can’t handle an axe well, now do you?
Depending on what side of the 50/50 split you fell with regards to Shogun then there’s two ways to take this album. If you were in the camp that wanted another Ascendancy then you’ll love this. If you’re a fan of Shogun like I am then you’ll feel it’s a bit of a shame to take a step back when Shogun was such a step forward. There are some flashes of brilliance on In Waves, but it’s not overly amazing. It’s not going to change the world or to be honest probably even your opinion of the band, yet I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it.
A nice point of note on the special edition is that a few bonus tracks are placed within the normal track listing extending the life and scope of the album rather than some off-cuts just jammed on the end. One track is a nice little instrumental that works as an intermission piece situated half way through the album. There’s a still a couple of extras on the end though, one being a track previously featured on the God of War: Blood and Metal compilation album and the other a cover of Sepultura’s ‘Slave New World’.
In Waves is a more than worthy addition to the Trivium discography. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here since over the years they’ve experimented with their sound with varying results. Personally I hope for more in the Shogun vein, but it definitely doesn’t put me off enjoying this record and looking forward to more in the years to follow. Trivium are still a growing band and I’m sure there’s plenty more brilliance to come.