Album: In Waves
Label: Roadrunner Records
When thinking about metal bands that aren’t easily pigeon-holed, often times you’ll hear about acts that blend a bunch of seemingly unrelated styles into a mix quite unique to that band (such as HORSE the Band or Arsonists Get All The Girls). Some bands, however, simply blur the lines between some clearly defined classic metal sub-genres. Trivium is one of these bands. With an even mix of thrash metal, heavy metal, and metalcore, Trivium are just…metal. Their 2011 album In Waves is more of that.
Trivium are a band that have historically had pretty immense commercial success, but have not always garnered respect from the more underground of metal fans. This is something I never really understood until giving In Waves a slew of listens. I almost immediately shrugged it off as being somewhat plain and obvious, an album that really is only what you see at face value. Upon listening many more times, it struck me as somewhat amazing what Trivium do on an an incredibly consistent basis.
In Waves is an album that features thirteen songs that all do what a great pop song should do: provide the listener with hooks and bits of lasting catchiness. Unlike many of their predecessors, however, Trivium’s hooks aren’t cheesy or overused. All of the hooks are in your face, and each one is at least a little different than all the rest. The subtle shifts between metal styles aide in keeping attention and keeping the material fresh. More so than any other part of this is the fact that the band doesn’t sacrifice even a bit of technicality or musical intricacy for it, something the band struggled mightily with on The Crusade (though got exactly right on Shogun).
All of that being said, there is one giant flaw on this album: the lyrics and vocals can get, at times, overwhelmingly cheesy. I’m not talking the “80s poofy haired heavy metal” cheesy, I’m talking “dads who still wear suits from the 70s” cheesy. Between the cheesed-up and oft-repeated lyric lines in choruses and the super-produced sound of the vocals during many of the choruses, it just feels like too much sometimes. This point becomes glaringly obvious on the song “Watch The World Burn” in which the line “watch the world burn” is repeated a litany of times; it’s a line that was already painfully cheesy before Heavy decided it would be a main feature of the song.
There are no doubts about it, In Waves is a grower. Immediate ear-catching moments mixed seamlessly in with technical and groovy guitar work, and the most interesting of moments hidden amongst them. The less obvious songs such as “A Skyline Severance” and “Forsake Not The Dream” are the real strengths of the album, but are overshadowed by the less subtle songs such as “In Waves” and “Dusk Dismantled”–all equally brilliant in different ways. If all mainstream and radio metal was this well thought-out and executed, the metal realm would be a much more pleasant place.
Overall score: 8/10
Review written by: Jordan Munson
Check out the killer video for the band’s eponymous first single from In Waves below: