Trivium have always been a band that divided opinions, ever since they first broke through in 2005. With their sixth release, Vengeance Falls, the band have once again experimented and evolved, enlisting the help of Disturbed’s David Draiman on production duties to help push them further once again.
Whereas on previous records there has been a short instrumental intro, ‘Brave This Storm’ wastes no time easing the listener in gently, instead throwing down the gauntlet with an explosive riff and a simple ‘GO!’ from vocalist Matthew Heafy, suggesting the band aren’t here to mess around. Title track ‘Vengeance Falls’ continues the onslaught, though what becomes clear only two tracks in is that the band have opted for more of the aggressive singing found on The Crusade and Shogun than the guttural screams heard on In Waves, with the screams only making fleeting appearances in each song. What is also clear is how much Matt Heafy’s singing has improved; perhaps through maturing and with the help of David Draiman, Heafy certainly isn’t afraid to use his pipes or try different approaches on the album.
‘No Way To Heal’ provides one of many highlights on Vengeance Falls with its slow-burning intro, urgency in the verses, an absolute powerhouse of a chorus and soaring solos; the ‘No Way To Heal’ hook is bound to stick in your head for days. ‘At The End Of This War’ throws in a curveball of sorts when it comes to the Trivium sound, the crooning acoustic intro from Matt Heafy leaves the listener scratching their head briefly before the flood gates open and an Ascendancy-era roar comes charging back out.
In ‘Villainy Thrives’ the band has written one of the darkest tracks, both lyrically and musically of their career, resulting in perhaps the heaviest track on the album representing its subject matter to a tee.
‘Incineration: The Broken World’ is a single waiting to happen; another belter of a chorus, the most switching of Heafy’s vocal styles than any other track on the album and a guitar solo which sounds impressive until you realise it is in fact Paulo Gregoletto’s bass, and suddenly it becomes even better.
Vengeance Falls was a big risk for Trivium to take. With In Waves, they managed to win back much of the crowd who lost faith after The Crusade back in 2006, and with peers Bullet For My Valentine changing their sound immeasurably to crack arenas and Avenged Sevenfold reverting to a more retro sound while reaping the rewards as a result, the pressure was on for Trivium to ‘make the step up’, having flirted with it in the past. Employing David Draiman to produce the record raised a few eyebrows at first, however it is difficult to argue that with Disturbed’s success (particularly in America) that it was a bad decision for the band to make; for every hint of Draiman in the sound there is a chorus like ‘No Way To Heal’ showcasing a new maturity and focus in the band. Of course, only time will tell whether the decision was truly correct, but the band are now a completely different entity to the kids who recorded Ascendancy, and Vengenace Falls, for now at least, feels like it could well be the push Trivium have been hinting at for so long.