Album Review: Trivium – Vengeance Falls
Posted by Reggie
I have spent years defending Trivium’s music to those that have less fondness for what they bring to the table. From the first time I heard Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr, I felt these Florida boys had something to offer the metal world. I sensed they were more than just another metalcore band. Ascendency (2005) was a solid album and quite heavy at that. I thoroughly enjoyed Shogun (2008) melodies and more thrash-like songs. I even enjoyed parts of In Waves (2011) and thought the scream-less The Crusade (2006) wasn’t half bad either. Still, the haters hate, but I always found something about Trivium’s albums I like…must be the guitars. Vengeance Falls is the latest piece of Trivium art and here are my thoughts on their latest creation.
Let’s just get the bottom line up front. This isn’t going to go down in my personal history as my favorite Trivium album. I am not even sure how many more spins this will get when this review is written. At the moment I would rather listen to In Waves. That’s not to say the album is horrible because I do find this group of musicians to be talented. I like the riffing of Strife and I am glad to hear Matt hasn’t given up on growling with songs like No Way to Heal and Brave This Storm, but that grittier vocal style is more or less set aside for the similar harmonies we heard on The Crusade. The Crusade is probably the one Trivium album that garnered the band a more broad audience because it wasn’t so harsh…that is just my humble opinion. When I saw them on that tour there were lots of ladies in the audience. I think Vengeance Falls and it’s similarity to The Crusade is where the boys want to be. Though, I think The Crusade is actually a heavier album than Vengeance Falls.
Despite feeling like this is Trivium’s “Black” album (I didn’t coin that), there are sparks of a hard edge here and there as if a song is going to bombard us with brutality, but the prominent features are catchy choruses and foot-tapping harmonies. Vengeance Falls is an album of little extremes whereas on previous albums, you could expect a ballad-like song to explode, a pit-worthy song to wreck your neck, or even something more technical with multiple tempo changes. Except the final track Wake (The End is Nigh), Vengeance Falls weaves its way from beginning to end walking a fine line of accessible metal without really exploring the heavier elements we know Trivium is capable of.
It seems like Trivium has spent their career trying to define themselves, yet they keep reinventing themselves from album to album. Perhaps that was the intent all along and I just missed the point. If you ask me, which you don’t have to, they keep trying to “do” something with every album. Instead of just letting the music flow, the music comes off like there was an agenda to be slower and more melodic this time around. Vengeance Falls certainly does have some appeal; it is catchy, but it lacks discernible aggression and it falls flat quickly. If history repeats itself, the next album will be heavy like Shogun. There’s always that.