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a well planned and deadly attack on metal - 5%

gk, October 5th, 2008

Trivium’s success is one of metal’s great unfathomable mysteries. The band wears its influences on its sleeve, calls it homage or paying tribute and goes about making some of the most consistently weak metal that I’ve heard. Unfortunately, lots of people love the band and the end of September will see the band release its fourth album, Shogun.

Let’s set aside the sheer injustice of that for now and focus on this new album. Opening with a slow burning melodic guitar riff that actually made me sit up and pay attention, opening song Kirisute Gomen actually shows some promise for all of thirty seconds before the band decide that being creative and original is simply not for them and dive headlong into cliché. Kirisute Gomen basically sets the tone for the album with its carefully constructed patchwork of every currently popular metal cliché. There’s the pedestrian thrash riff where Heafy manages to sound like Hetfield circa Master of Puppets (even more so on Insurrection), a metal-core part with Heafy doing the whole hoarse barking, a clean and incredibly dumb chorus and a Machine Head like heavy part. The band may as well have recorded the same damn song 10 times because there’s nothing else on offer in Shogun.

The whole album just has a calculated feel to it. Like the band knows exactly what’s popular and go about doing that in a manner that is devoid of all imagination. Every riff on this album sounds vaguely familiar and every song has a similar format. There’s the thrash bit, there’s the Gothenburg twin guitar wanking that seems inspired by mid-period In Flames, there’s some very ordinary metal-core and maybe thanks to their part on the Black crusade tour, whole sections of songs that sound like Machine Head’s The Blackening. Then there are the embarrassing power metal bits although most of it comes across like Europe circa Prisoners of Paradise (listen to the chorus on Into the Mouth of Hell We March). In fact most of the choruses on this album could have come off Europe and even Bon Jovi albums from the 80s. It’s just as dumb and cheesy. I really don’t see why Heafy has to growl over this music because it’s not really that heavy and more often than not, Heafy just comes across as someone with a bad throat who should probably take some cough syrup and go to bed.

This review’s getting too long for its own good but I can’t stop just yet. This is the kind of music that boils my blood and just really annoys me. Here’s a band that can obviously play, yet are content to dish out the most dumbed down, watered down metal that they can think of. This is metal made by morons for morons and I can only hope that the band’s audience will grow up and realize they’re being suckered. May not happen any time soon but there’s always hope.

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