Before starting this review it’s only fair to mention that I’ve been hearing a lot about Trivium’s “What the Dead Men Say” album. It’s being named one of the year’s best. And, for good reasons. Anyway, it also means my expectations are through the roof…. So let’s see how this goes….
“IX”, The intro, is a melodic instrumental that starts off slow and builds up with the Trivium signature style sound to an epic teaser of what “What the Dead Men Say” album is all about. My mouth is already watering….
The intro goes straight into the single, “What the Dead Men Say”, which is fast, heavy and HUGE. You can’t listen to this song without moving. The vocals are outstanding, and the hook is solid. The thrash beat is alive and well while the breakdown brings out the stank face. My face might freeze this way by the end of the album. “What the Dead Men Say”, is still musical but it also makes you want to break shit – sweet juxtaposition! I picture a pirate ship sailing on to the next victims with an actual wall of death. You can’t miss the ten second guitar solo. This song has its own formula which is proof positive that these guys know who they are and what they’re doing.
“Catastrophist” comes up next and at 6, and almost a half minutes, this is an anthem. It’s just waiting for a gigantic, sold out stadium to get the full justice. The guitars are dropped down to a low tuning and the vocals are more pronounced. You can’t forget the drums, very energetic and disciplined – they are going hard and strong through this whole song. The breakdown is BRUTAL, the reverse vocals will put chills on top of chills. This song gets nuts. The beat is changing constantly, it’s all over the place, but there is sense in the chaos – maestro, every last band member!
“Amongst the Shadows and the Stones” comes in with a heavy breath and you KNOW it’s happening! Then, more thrash beats. If “What the Dead Men Say” is like pirates on the war path, this song is like a full-on Viking pillage. It sounds angrier and the breakdown is going to create a born-again pit like you’ve never seen. The guitars are perfection with a solo, break and then solo. The drums are rolling in a very interesting way. There are so many unexpected twists and turns in this song and the others, it’s like a never-ending feast that you never want to stop.
“Bleed Into Me” starts with a super cool sounding bass. You can tell it was compressed and tight. The vocals are singy-er and there is some breath/space in this song. The guitars lay over an open eerie bass line that is haunting and moving. Along with that, the pre-chorus to the chorus is tasty! It lets you know what’s coming up, without giving it all away. The guitar solo in “Bleed Into Me” is the cherry on top.
“The Defiant” will bring you back to a more traditional thrash sound. Traditional, but still unexpected, because BOOM! The song breaks open from the pre-chorus to a more open chorus like an explosion. The hook is very sing-y with the hateful/angry backing vocals which are both metal and hardcore punk at the same time. From pirates to Vikings to whatever is even more badass, yet smoother, but not smoother than that….. Yea. That’s this song. Trivium breaks this song out of the mold in the most delicious ways.
Another anthem-ic song comes up with “Sickness Unto You”. This epic journey of musicianship has a Gothic vibe in the vocal intro, a sound I absolutely adore. The note choices are virtuoso, on the verge of Egyptian, but not really. The left/right panning put shivers up my spine that keep going and going. The bass is driving this song which is amazingly cool how Trivium uses EVERYTHING instead of being just vocal driven or guitar driven, they pick and choose and all the assets are put to the best use. When is the last time you heard arpeggio guitar solos? And that is not the only thing, the arpeggios are layered with other sounds… unique and exceptional. By the time the metal vocals come in, I’m lost in this song. The pied piper has nothing on these guys because all true rockers will happily follow along anywhere this band wants to take us. I NEED to hear this live, in a huge stadium, with all my friends and killer lights.
I’ve been transported to another dimension…
While I’m still feeling not quite here, and not quite somewhere else, “Scattering the Ashes” comes in with another bass driving song and smooth vocal melodies. This song needs to take over all the Rock Sirius stations. It’s radio friendly, but only how metal occasionally dips under the radar enough to be friendly enough. The backing vocals are the icing on the cake. I expect to hear this song everywhere – soon!
“Bending the Arc to Fear” gets back to brutal, with a serious riff and some spectacular drums. I have to wonder – are there 8 drummers going at this? It sounds like you need more than two arms to accomplish what’s being put out on this song. There are some classical influences in “Bending the Arc to Fear”, and I don’t mean classic rock, I mean like Bach stuff. There is SO much being injected into each of these songs and this is another journey. I’m really getting speechless here, the drums, guitars and bass are all unique in their own rights, and come together outrageously perfect.
And, here we are at the last cut on the album and I want to cry that there isn’t more… “The Ones We Leave Behind” continue going gonzo-nuts (Rad Baby!) The scaly riff-y-ness keeps up and then some. This song has all the juiciness from the rest of the album, like we were just escorted back onto the pirate ship from earlier in the album, to sail away to parts unknown. Happily following the Pied Pipers known as Trivium….
This is hands down on of the best albums I’ve ever reviewed, and I question my worthiness. But, here we are. You NEED to get this album, or you will be left FAR behind. It just might be our generations contribution that will go through history like The White Album or Zosos.
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