In the mid to late ’80s, bands such as Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer took heavy metal to the next level by combining their love of Venom, Diamond Head and Black Sabbath with then contemporary music technology and skills.
Now we come to the next generation who are producing music heavily influenced by the ’80s thrash bands, but which also contains streaks that are distinctly current. Trivium are out tonight to prove their hype as one of the best protagonists of this genre.
Trivium’s stage gives a perfect preface to the upcoming show, stacked high with Marshall guitar amps, a massive drum kit, and platforms (usually reserved for festivals, but what the heck). Walking on to Queen‘s We Will Rock You, they lose some of the sound of opening number Rain, but by Drowned And Torn Asunder, the mix has come together and the talent of these guys comes storming through.
Every metal tradition in the book is out tonight – spiky guitars, swirling headbanging, running up and down ramps, drum solos, and a jaw-dropping (bringing a nostalgic tear to the eye) fret-fest of a guitar duel between Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu.
So please permit the use of some old school review language: these guys are tight. Their recorded output is intricate, combining blistering guitar work with modern choruses and tempo changes. Today’s production technology can assist greatly in achieving such a clean sound, but the metal-listening public is a very discerning breed – live is where it is at, and Trivium’s incredible ability ensures the live sound is amazingly faithful to that laid down in the studio.
A pause – to allow the mosh-pit to catch a needed breath – introduces songs from Ember To Inferno, proving that while Ascendancy has stamped Trivium’s mark on these shores, their previous effort should not be ignored. As the songs come battering through (aided most admirably by the kick drum mastery of Travis Smith), the crowd respond to the calls to circle, jump and “do whatever you want, but just do it fast” by Matt, who commands both audience and stage with a presence that belies his young age.
A good crowd-pleaser is the now familiar, “sing-along-a-classic” session, where Trivium gauge audience reaction to brief interludes of tunes such as Pantera‘s Walk, Iron Maiden‘s The Trooper, Slayer‘s Reign In Blood (mosh-pit goes mental) and Eminem‘s Lose Yourself (mosh-pit stops and laughs).
Trivium close with the rapturously received Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr and tonight show that the hype (for once) is right. At face value they could get lost in a parody of throwbacks to past years (The Darkness anyone?). However, Trivium combine humility, respect and outstanding musicianship to welcome old and new fans into the same arena – one where the veterans can lose some more dandruff, and the young can be taught how it really should be done. Watch them explode at Download.