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Trivium is set to unleash their enigmatically devastating record “Ascendancy” on a completely unsuspecting metal public. The band entered the scene with their Lifeforce Records debut ‘From Ember To Inferno’ a short while back and the title of that promising debut might just be the perfect phrase to sum up the progression between that album and the band’s unbelievably excellent first offering for Roadrunner Records. This album carries a tremendous impact akin to throwing the best of Slayer, Sepultura, Malmsteen and Killswitch Engage into a blender and drinking it down straight with no chaser.
Points of reference aside, Trivium relay a distinctly original sound that is truly their own, having thrown together, slamming licks, blazing riffs, supercharged rhythms and some of the best vocal dynamics to hit metal listeners in the last ten years. The band’s sonic attack is simply relentless, having an edgy feel about it that gives the listener the impression that they are listening to an album on a par with some of the greatest heavy metal albums ever created.
The contrasting themes of lead single ‘Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr” makes for a highly impressive listen. Containing one of the catchiest melodic choruses in recent memory, this is a song that will repeat in your memory over and over again. The stop action axe work that hails the introduction of ‘Rain’ sets the pace for a virtual slam fest of neck snapping rhythms and pure metal madness that is anchored by the substantial, thunder of bassist Paolo Gregoletto. When Matt Heafy sings “Time will always be…the thing that kills me truly”, he exhibits a powerful set of pipes that are equally at ease screaming vicious aggro barks or resonating clean melodies. The lyrics are an impressive factor on this record, as Heafy manages to craft poignant phrases that immediately stick in your head. Combine that with interesting, relevant topical matter and you certainly have an undeniable poetic force to be reckoned with.
Uncontrollable tempos mesh with huge harmonies on ‘Drowned And Torn Asunder’, a song that sends chills up the spine with its sheer melody and absolutely ripping lead work. It is a vivid picture that rests upon Trivium’s musical canvas, filled with energy and passion that infects the blistering strains of the title track ‘Ascendancy’. ‘A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation’ continues the onslaught with a pummeling double bass rhythm from drummer Travis Smith that lapses into a ferocious verse and a pre chorus break that decimates the finest of Metallica’s dual axe syncopation. Listeners will be completely absorbed into the frantic refrain of ‘Like Light To Flies’, a song which features the one of the best chorus section of the entire album.
In ‘Dying In Your Arms’, the group have a definite choice for a follow up single that would completely dominate the airwaves. Commercial enough to garner a great deal of mainstream appeal, yet unabashedly aurally weighty, Trivium show that they are the modern metal masters, hands down. Things pick back up into overdrive with the thrashy, highly moshable ‘The Deceived’, which once again features a soaring vocal refrain and some savage lead work courtesy of Heafy and Corey Beaulieu that perfectly emphasizes the energy of the track. ‘Suffocating Sight’ contains riffs that are tighter than a closed vice as Heafy wails with abrasive venom. The song features a cool modulation that carries the tune to the next level to close things off. ‘Departure’ shows Trivium making good use of texture, with some great backing vocals and a chorus that builds to a pummeling crescendo. This is another track that would come off well on radio.
By far the epic track on this record is ‘Declaration’, the album’s final track. Melding intense harmonies, crippling lightning speed beats and solid chunking grooves to form a driving wall of sound, this track has everything that metal fans could ask for. Again, Heafy turns in a stunning performance vocally, ranging from deep growls to high register, reverberating notes that will strike at the metal listeners very heart.
‘Ascendancy’ is a determined, chaotic hell ride of an album from start to finish and certainly an album that will be quite difficult for even the greatest of metal artists to top. Well produced, well executed and most importantly performed with an intense passion and precision, this album is completely unstoppable, fresh exciting and highly enjoyable after scores of repeated spins. Quite simply, this band is going to be huge in 2005 and most likely for many years to come.