As Bob Dylan has quoted and we heard in the absolutely brilliant “Watchmen” “The times they are a’ changin'”. Remembering ten years ago when I was a fledgling Metal head, a small band from Florida would release in hindsight, one of my favourite teenage records. The Metalcore compendium that was Ascendancy saw all manner of doors open for me into the Metal world. In the same year of discovering Opeth, Trivium had a soft spot in my heart.
Fast forward ten years and the band stand at the end of their touring cycle for their smack down Silence In The Snow. Kicking off with a headline appearance at UK’s Bloodstock Festival, where the band began their empirical march leading right to the dwellings of Camden’s Roundhouse on their London date of a UK tour closing the lid on the record. The amount of progress brought forward by the band is truly fascinating. Regardless of their current drumming woes, Trivium have taken ,particularly the radio world, by absolute storm. So what is next for our Florida thrashers? One Corey Beaulieu ponders exactly what the band’s next step will be.
– The Next Step –
“Dunno. There’s nothing really to talk about yet. Hopefully when we have something new to talk about or show people with stuff related to the band we’ll have our own special way of unleashing all the information. We’ve been on the road a lot since the record came out. So we’re going to take some time out to recharge and take some vacation time to unwind and then once we feel ready to we would start talking about what’s next, which is obviously working on a new album. There’s no set time table for anything but once we get done with the tour we’ll see when the right time is to dive into that whole process.”
Always wanting to evolve, the band have been striving to find their signature sound. With various, often polarising identities on different releases, the band have never been one to shy away from experimentation. From the heavy Draiman influence of Vengeance Falls to the Hetfieldian “yeah’s!” of The Crusade, no single album is the same. Take Shogun for example, arguably the band’s most technically demanding material to date, just another facet of the band that ensures everyone is kept on their toes and a well rounded playability.
“Luckily everyone practices. Nothing we play has been particularly too hard. Definitely something like “Shogun”. The song is pretty easy to play on guitar, the only part, the more daunting part is the whole middle section is all clean guitar for so long. When you’re playing on a clean channel, fucked up notes are way easier to pick out than when you’re on distortion.”
“Every time we play live and have to go to a clean part I’m like “Don’t fuck up!” Just because if you make one little wrong note, it’s so much more prominent. When you’re playing everything super loud and distorted you can get away with just a wrong note or something. Another that comes to mind simply because the riffs are pretty notey in the song and having to do vocals is “Torn Between Scylla And Charybdis”. Notey riffs, vocal parts to do and long solos. We’ve done that song a bunch of times live and it was so much fun just because there’s always so much going on in the song. Shogun stuff definitely has the trickier stuff to pull off.”
– Embers Reignited –
Yet it’s not all about technicality, having recently released their classic Ember To Inferno, the group revisited their nostalgic sound and have since begun to employ more material from the little known album into their already stacked out setlist. Proving its worth and showing fans that might have begun courting the band on their later sounds their more rough and ready sounds that perhaps might be a little alien to them.
“Even before that whole Ember to Inferno thing came out, we always play something especially when we headline. We have to play a shorter set on support tours, that record kind of gets left alone. Even before that came out we were playing “Requiem” for a while and we’ve always had the title track in the set for a number of years. It’s cool! It’s definitely having a re-release now all these years later, compared to when it was released there are definitely a lot more people paying attention and know the band.”
The rebirth of vinyl hasn’t eluded the band either, with the new album welcoming to format of wax, for the first time ever Ember To Inferno has been given the ability to be listened to in all its resplendent glory in the classic format of vinyl before heading out to their local show. Which with its resurgence could well usher in an entirely different fan base, not to mention gives the band and yet another string to their bow.
“Fans that are finally able to get a copy of it, the CD and Vinyl. Vinyl was never available of that, now that there’s so many more people that are following the band. It’s kind of nice. It’s been cool to see fans bringing out the box set for the new version of the record out to the shows to have signed. There are some songs on there where if we played them years ago people would look at you saying “What the fuck is going on?”, hopefully now that people hear those songs we can play ones we haven’t done in ten years.”
– The Trivium Formula –
Trivium as a band have always followed their own path, blazing past competition with their own vision. Whether it be a focus on technicality that was on Shogun. Or In Waves, a cataclsymic change that catapulted the band from mid tier Metalcore to truly in a leage of their own, the fifth album, has a lot to answer for. Pushing the band into the direction that created a synthesis between both new sound and old school sounding Trivium. Forever studying and improving from ideas in their carrer but do the band have a set formula put forward? Is their idea of experimentation a loose idea of formula? From the slight miss step that was Vengeance Falls, which if anything gave the band the courage to unveil their most sophisticated release to date, Silence In The Snow.
“Yeah I think we kind of know all of the ingredients that make up our sound. Each record, some records, certain ingredient are more prominent in the songs than others but we definitely have this balance of aggression and melody that I think we do pretty well. I think it’s very distinct. People can put it into some kind of category or genre but I think when people hear a Trivium song, at least for me, it’s hard to mistake it for somebody else. I think we’ve developed into our own niche. Since we have a broad influence and sound, we can do songs that are all heavy and all screaming or we can do songs that are more simplistic and all singing.”
“Then we can do the combination of singing, screaming back and forth. I think we’ve been able to kind of push ourselves and also push our fans who are listening to give them a variety of material that they would like. We like everything from Death Metal to Classic Rock! We like to jut take our sound and just write whatever feels good. I think that’s fun because every time we write a record, fans don’t know what they’re going to get and there are some surprises in there which make it a fun listen. It’s kind of our music fan approach to writing music. It’s more fun to play stuff that you dig than something you just wrote to appease certain fans. I think we definitely have our thing going on. Next record you can expect very familiar but also something different.”
– Screaming And Riffing –
Acting not just as a guitarist Beaulieu took over the reigns of the harsher vocals that the band would employ in their earlier career that the band would employ. With their most recent release Silence In The Snow being completely clean vocals from Heafy it will be interesting to see what musical direction the band might be taking for their new output. A fine example of their vocal evolution being “The Ghost That’s Haunting You“, utilising intriguing vocal patterns the song is in a league of its own, firmly bringing a new era in Trivium’s vocal approach, nevertheless, not one to permanently close doors the band could very well decide to bring the harsher vocals back depending on their musical output of the follow up to Silence.
“Singing and playing has always been pretty easy. I started doing it when I first started playing guitar. Playing along to my CD player and singing along whilst I was playing, so by the time it got to play with the band and needing to do back up vocals for Matt, it was very natural. The fact that everyone plays an instrument while they sing, when you’re writing there’s always a tune in mind. When you listen to a certain song where the guitars are also singing you can hear certain parts where the vocals land in the riff and work off the rhythm of the riff. So when you’re playing the riff, you’re not singing a different rhythm you’re playing off the tune with the way the riff is to make the vocals to fit with it.”
Working in tandem with guitar, well placed vocal lines land on accents within the music. Employed by the classic guitarist – come singers Metallica and Megadeth. Coupling the two, often leads for a more responsive pattern that embeds itself into the track rather than both lines being independent from each other creating an different kind of interplay. Here’s an example of Beaulieu’s vocals in “Dusk Dismantled” following the rhythmic patterns closely to drive the vocals home. Having done it for so many years but the big question remains so is it difficult to pick up?
“Same with when you listen to Metallica and Megadeth you can kind of hear. When you listen to the riff and the vocal line you can hear how certain pronouncitations land on a particular note or chord. If you were listening to certain Pantera songs, where there was a standalone singer and guitar player. There’s some stuff, even as ssimple as playing “Walk” trying to play and trying to sing it is a little tricker than you would think. The guitar part is simple but when you try and combine it with something that is rhythmically a little off from the guitar, there are certain things that kind of twist your brain. Kind of how we write and how the band started was the vocal guitar combo, never too difficult!”
– Ten Years On –
Throwing back to 2007 a not long initiated Metalhead, at its Hammersmith Apollo incarnation witnessed an all star line up. Chronicling Thrash through the ages the line up was brought together to feature, the classic sounds of Annihilator, the bright spark that fizzled so tragically Sanctity and a little known quartet from France that sung about whales. Top of the bill however we’re our Florida exports Trivium. Somewhat finding their feet, particularly after their spotlight moment Ascendancy, The Crusade tour was the next logical chapter in their story. Having always been a fast moving industry music is changing quicker than ever, with many of the venues frequented not even around anymore, bands are no longer in the same kind of position.
“I guess nowadays in the music industry, there’s a lot of bands that if you don’t break on your first or second record then you’re kind of dead in the water and you’re kind of forgotten about. Labels drop you, you’re fucked. Back in the day you hear so many stories, Rush, Journey, even Pink Floyd, they put out a handful of records that didn’t do anything. Never broke and never had any commercial success and then their fifth record later they broke huge and became some of the biggest bands on the planet. Nowadays there’s no way that a label is going to let you find your way for five records. The turnaround is so much faster and the attention spans of people, with technology is just fucking onto the next thing.”
As time marches on humanity becomes even more integrated with out newest and most terrifying tool, the internet. Well acquainted now, the web has given us the far reach we were previously lacking. Enabling a seemingly limitless scope for not only fans to six per new bands but for bands to reach out to fans over the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Nevertheless this plentiful source of information can lead to oversaturing on in its medium.
“What’s the flavour of the month? We’re constantly bombarded by so much material. We were fortunate that we have done enough to all these years later still have fans keep growing. Obviously with every band fans kind of fall of the way side as you go. We’ve had people like “Yeah, I stopped paying attention for like five years and then I saw you guys were coming to town, I went back and checked out the records I missed.” Every time we play a certain city there are fans that come out every single time. It’s definitely a blessing that we have been able to make enough of a dent that we have been able to make this into a career and never had to think about doing anything else. Hopefully the next record, we’ll grow and get bigger and keep everything on the up and up.”
And with that the guitarist steps off to whatever other duties he might have to fulfill. Returning later with his cohorts this evening to deliver an absolutely brilliant performance. Proving his points regarding fans, setlists and the clean channels. It seems that all over the Metal world that at some point Trivium have courted controversy. Be it for the Draiman influenced singing of Vengence Falls or the Metallica worship of The Crusade but with Silence In The Snow, the band have made huge strides in not only their songwriting but a cohesiveness as a band. Never one to disappoint, whatever your opinion, Trivium will always be one of Modern Metal’s most interesting and to some extent unpredictable bands. And so I leave you with the parting words of one Wener Herzog.
“I think the worst that can happen in filmmaking is if you’re working with a storyboard. That kills all intuition, all fantasy, all creativity.”
Here’s to album number eight.