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Taking a bit too long to mature - 73%

rizzodecloptunne, September 2nd, 2011

Trivium is just one of those bands. From the beginning, they’ve polarized opinions regardless of the direction they take. Some will love In Waves, some will hate it. This review is coming from a disenchanted Trivium fan. I say disenchanted because even though I liked their second album Ascendancy quite a bit when it came out, Trivium has not quite been growing as rapidly as my musical tastes, and therefore colors this album very differently for me.

This disenchantment mostly speaks to my criticism of the album. Trivium seems to be experimenting a bit on this album. With the explicit goal in mind to showcase their songwriting skills, they took the risk to try some new stuff. With risks like this come the consequences, as not all of their experiments worked. Most of the songs on this essentially metalcore album are caught between a sort of rock radio feel and a groove feel, and far too many of the songs sound the same. The tracks that stood out for me were the songs that broke free of this groovy rock radio mold. Songs like Caustic Are the Ties That Bind, sticking a bit closer to their thrashier elements, and Chaos Reigns, incorporating a couple different elements into the mix, managed to catch my ear. This has the unfortunate consequence of making the rest of the album sound rather flat in comparison. To me this felt like an album of mostly filler with a couple standout tracks that only serve to make it sound confused.

This, however, is not the only view on this album I possess. Though the standout tracks dwarf the rest of the album and make it sound confused, Trivium has shown me they can write good songs. Sure, they wrote maybe six or seven good songs and turned it into thirteen songs (eighteen if you bought the special edition like I did), but those six or seven songs were, as I said, good songs. This is a point in the right direction for Trivium. The band members previously mentioned that had former drummer Travis Smith stayed in the band, then they probably would have split up. The new influx of talent in Nick Augusto could be what’s contributing to this enhanced writing ability. Whatever it is, I feel they should combine the positive elements of Shogun with the songwriting of In Waves. This could prove well on their next studio adventure.

Do I actually like this album? Somewhat. Do I hate it? Far from. For me it’s mostly at this point the fact that Trivium has spent far too long growing and maturing. In Waves is hopefully the last album from Trivium where we need to listen to Heafy’s search for an independent musical identity. I sense he’s getting close, and when he finds that I will most likely renew my interest in Trivium. For now, In Waves sits as an album on my playlist, not actively searched out, but not passed over when arrived at via shuffle.