Trivium – What The Dead Men Say Review

Florida’s Trivium have been on a bit of a career high recently, with their album-of-the-year worthy previous album The Sin & The Sentence introducing the best drummer of their career and being the best collection of songs since their breakthrough. Momentum was high, as were expectations for their ninth album, 2020’s What The Dead Men Say.

For me, The Sin & The Sentence is basically the best album the band have ever released, and not even by a slim margin. It was a highlight of the whole subgenre. This album, while maybe not just as vital, breath-taking and relentless as that was, is definitely a worthy follow-up. Like the previous album, it has an absolutely perfect production job from Josh Wilbur, tasteful minimalist artwork, jaw dropping drums from Alex Bent and a musical direction that combines all the various aspects of all the different things they’ve tried over the years and pushes it in new directions too.

Whatever era of Trivium you like, be it the melodic and classic metal sounding Silence In The Snow style, the commercial Crusade style, the catchy and simplified Vengeance Falls style, the heavy Ascendancy & In Waves style… there’s a bit of everything, with all the good points and none of the bad. Its smooth, flowing, tasteful, and punchy. Its not cheesy, disjointed or boring. Basically, it’s a continuation of the absolute rage and perfection of the Sin & The Sentence style (although maybe a bit more melodic, with a few less blast-beats). Its a bit less immediate, but it makes up for it by being a grower. Its also succinct, with no filler, and the songs have complexity without overstaying their welcome. I saw someone on social media call it Silence In The Sentence and I think that fits quite nicely.

There are some huge crunchy riffs, some excellent virtuoso solos and brilliant both harsh and clean vocals. Ever since Silence In The Snow, Matt Heafy’s vocals have been a whole other level, he’s as melodic and powerful as many of the best Traditional Metal heroes, and he can be emotive without being cheesy or sacharine. There are some damn memorable choruses here.

Highlights include the harsh ‘Amongst The Shadows & The Stones’ the more direct and catchy ‘The Defiant’ and best of all, ‘Sickness Unto You’ which no Trivium fan should be without.

In the past, the band had a lot of detractors for a range of different reasons, suspicious elitists who didn’t like the youthful band wearing Overkill t-shirts and playing Thrash riffs in with their Metalcore, young fans who didn’t understand the band growing and evolving with each album, fans of one era but not another. Its really nice that now the majority of people are stopping having to be defensive about liking Trivium. Judging by most of the reviews, this album seems to be pretty universally loved and the band are getting the respect and status they deserve. When the material is of this quality, you just can’t cross your arms and deny them anymore. This album is superb, and if you don’t check it out, you’re the one who is missing out.

1 Comment

  1. Silence In The Sentence? Whoever coined that missed a glorious opportunity to name it Sin in the Snow.

    Anyways, a great review for a great album from an even greater band. As someone who has been a fan of Trivium since the moment he heard a demo of Like Light to the Flies on a Roadrunner Records sampler pack back when he was 16 (2005 was so damn long ago!) and who has been a fan of their’s every step of the way since, it is so gratifying to see them get the universal respect, love and acclaim that these past two records have given them.

    So yeah, I guess I’m one of the few who aren’t just “fans of one era but not another.” I loved Ascendancy, was slightly disappointed by The Crusade, but still enjoyed it. playing it to death and learning every word, and I was overjoyed to see them, in my opinion, not only return to form but improve upon Ascendancy with Shogun.

    I love In Waves, Vengeance Falls & Silence in the Snow too, don’t get me wrong. They were all amongst the strongest releases of their respective years, but it wasn’t until The Sin and The Sentence that I felt Shogun truly got the follow up it truly deserved. And honestly? I may personally enjoy What the Dead Man Say, The Defiant feels like a follow up to the aforementioned Like Light to the Flies.

    Liked by 1 person

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