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Album Review: Trivium's "Vengeance Falls"

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Trivium
Vengeance Falls
Roadrunner

Trivium had crossed paths with Disturbed frontman David Draiman numerous times over the years. During the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2011, Trivium gave Draiman a pre-release copy of In Waves, which then hit no. 1 on the Billboard hard rock chart. When Disturbed went on a hiatus, Trivium and Draiman finally connected. Vengeance Falls, Trivium’s sixth full-length release, features Draiman in the producer’s chair.

His touch can be heard throughout Vengeance Falls starting with his influence on Matt Heafy’s vocals, which now demonstrate an extended upper range that moves him away from the signature, growling Hetfield-isms heard on classic Trivium albums. The riffs throughout the album take on a less “cut-and-paste,” formulaic approach with the songs featuring unexpected twists and turns on virtually every track. “Brave This Storm,” the opener, and “Vengeance Falls,” the title track, both begin with speed-metal thrash teases but quickly morph into half-time, rhythmic grooves. “Strife,” “Through Blood and Dirt and Bone,” and “Villainy Thrives” all start with a nod to ’80s hair metal but quickly achieve a contemporary vibe via ultra-rhythmic riffing and blast beats.

With each successive release, Trivium has faced criticism from fans for being too chameleonic in their ever-evolving sound. Vengeance Falls pushes the envelope even further, which can be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint. If you’re hoping for a return to the sounds heard on Embers to Inferno, this won’t be the record you’re looking for. However, if you’re not tied down to any expectations, this might be Trivium’s most musically satisfying release to date.—Joe Charupakorn

Must-hear tracks: “Vengeance Falls,” "Strife"
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