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Trivium is a band that gets a lot of hate from a lot of metalheads, but do they deserve it? I really think that they don't and I'm not a fanboy at all. In fact, I don't really like Ember To Inferno and Ascendancy. I'm pretty sure that a lot of metalheads hate Trivium only because they used (yeah, they don't anymore) to play metalcore, because they aren't tr00 (that's what some people say) or for another reason that has nothing to do with the quality of their music. Actually, I used to think like that too, but one day I decided to stop being so close minded, I listened to The Crusade and I liked it a lot. I've seen a lot of ridiculously negative reviews for this album and honestly, I really don't understand them because Shogun is very far from bad! My guess is that some of them wanted to hate it.
A lot of people consider Shogun to be a mix of Ascendancy and The Crusade and they're right in a way. It's thrashy and "melodic" like The Crusade and it has the screaming of Ascendancy, but it's different overall. It's more melodic (The Crusade was more thrashy than melodic), more epic, more progressive, it doesn't sound as mainstream (By the way, Down From The Sky is the most mainstream sounding song on the album and it's the weakest one too) and it doesn't really sound like Metallica at all. I couldn't really give it a specific metal genre because it's quite unique (atleast to me) and it's a mix of a lot of things. Sometimes it's heavy, sometimes it's thrashy, sometimes it's progressive (ala Dream Theater), sometimes it's melodic (ala Iron Maiden), sometimes it's catchy and sometimes it's epic, but I can say that it's not metalcore. Some people say that it's metalcore, but they must've heard a different album or maybe they're simply Trivium haters because there's nothing metalcore about this album except the screaming, but it's not even THAT metalcore (it sometimes reminds of bands like Dark Tranquillity).
Anyway, the guitar playing on this album is very good! Matt and Corey are GREAT guitarists, hell, maybe even more than great. The album is filled with great technical riffs (the riff at 8:24 in the title track is a good example of that) and awesome solos that probably require a lot of skills to play, but I have to say that a few (only a few) riffs are quite generic. The bass, well, I can't say much about it because it's nothing special really, but I have to say that there's a really nice (and dark) bass "solo" in Torn Between Scylla And Charibdis. Talking about Torn Between Scylla And Charibdis, it's probably the best song on the album, it's filled with great riffs and solos, it's quite epic in parts and it's very catchy. The drumming is awesome, I don't know much about drumming, but I love the drumming on this album, it sounds quite technical. The vocals aren't great, I mean, they're nothing special, but they're very far from bad. Matt Heafy still sounds like young James Hetfield, but I think that his completely clean voice got much better. Like I said earlier, there's some screaming, but not THAT much. Every song has like 2 or 3 screaming parts and all of the rest is like on The Crusade.
About the songs, there's no bad song on this album, some are good, some are great and some are awesome. Into The Mouth Of Hell We March is almost as good as TBSAC! It's very melodic, it has a lot of harmonized melodies that remind of Maiden (the part at 2:29 reminds a bit of a part from Hallowed Be Thy Name for example), the verses are great and the choruses (especially the first one) are very catchy. Kirisute Gomen is one of the best songs on the album, it's thrashy ala Ignition (from The Crusade), it has a very memorable chorus and the part at 1:50 is just awesome! It's the perfect opener because it really represents the whole sound of the album. Throes Of Perdition is very nice, it has a great heavy main riff that reminds a bit of the main riff from Dream Theater's Panic Attack and it has a catchy chorus that is pretty radio friendly (it's probably the most mainstream sounding part on the whole album), but it's good anyway. The Calamity, He Who Spawned The Furies and Of Prometheus And The Crucifix are all great and have original and memorable choruses. I can't really pick a favorite one out of them. I didn't really like the title track at first, but now I love it! It's the progressive song of the album, it's very epic, it's very catchy and it has an awesome slow part that sounds like something that could have been written by Dream Theater, well, the whole song could have been written by Dream Theater! Ok, it's very far from a rip off, it doesn't sound like Dream Theater THAT much, but some of the riffs remind of them and overall it's almost as good as some of DT's epics. Insurrection is very thrashy, it would have fitted well on The Crusade, the verses are pure thrash and they're awesome! The chorus is catchy, but it's definitely not one of the best choruses on the album. Like Callisto To A Star In Heaven is the second weakest song on the album, but it's still a good song with some nice heavy parts. There's nothing else to add about it. Down From The Sky is the weakest one, it's not bad, but it's nothing special, it's quite generic and the chorus is nowhere near as memorable as the choruses from most of the other songs. The screamed part before the chorus is pretty nice though.
I don't really care about the production, but a lot of people do, so I'll just say that it's perfect! You can hear everything perfectly and every instrument sounds great. I would add more if I knew anything about the production terms.
Anyway, overall, it's not perfect, it has some unoriginal parts, but it's a GREAT album that grows on you with each listen and I highly recommend it! I'm SURE that if it wasn't a Trivium album, A LOT of metalheads would love it! Just put a sticker with another band's name on the cover and I can assure you that your tr00 metalhead friend will love it. Remove the sticker and he will suddenly hate it. Anyway, it seems that they (Trivium) get better and better, so personally, I can't wait for their next album, I expect something even better!