Review: Trivium - What The Dead Men Say
Trivium have had a rare career renaissance in recent years thanks largely to their 2017 release, The Sin and the Sentence, which culminated in a Grammy nomination for the Florida band. Following the critical acclaim of their most recent effort, Trivium enters their newest album cycle with newly restored anticipation and higher expectations than they’ve had surrounding them in quite some time. Trivium has been very up and down throughout their time as a band going from masterpiece to disappointment at a whim. Now I have to be honest and say despite being a big fan of a lot of the groups work, the singles for this record did not hit me the way I was hoping but upon further listening I think much of that had to do with the tracks cheesy music videos.
The record kicks off in typical Trivium fashion with an instrumental track to set the table and lay some groundwork. Shortly following we get the title track, What The Dead Men Say, and this one has grown on me massively since the first time I heard it. This song combines some of the bands different stylistic approaches through the years including the more vicious technicality of Shogun and the more modern metal approach heard on The Sin and the Sentence. Catastrophist is a bit of an odd one for me. It sounds a bit closer to something written to be on rock radio and I don’t think that’s an automatic black mark as many metal fans do but it’s honestly not what I want to hear from Trivium. Nonetheless, the track itself is fine and will please some.
The record marches onward with highly technical and skilled tracks Amongst The Shadows And The Stones and Bleed Into Me. These are two of the purest examples of Trivium‘s natural superb riffing ability. There is a crunchiness to the guitar production that makes it hit even heavier and will please the fans like myself who enjoy when the band embarks on more extreme leaning endeavor. What The Dead Men Say is perhaps the most grandiosity Trivium has ever displayed on record, everything sounds huge with top quality production making for an almost more accessible experience without sacrificing heaviness.
The Defiant and Sickness Unto You bring a shift in the atmosphere with builds before a crescendo of pummeling drums crashing in. Alex Bent being hired as drummer is quite possibly one of the best decisions Trivium has ever made as a band as he brings so much to the table and creates more possibilities for the band to experiment with than they previously could. Trivium seems intent on finding a healthy balance between extremity and songwriting with melodic passages and with their now previous two releases it seems they have struck a chord with many.
After having my expectations lowered by the way the singles for What The Dead Men Say cake off to me initially, I find myself very pleased with this record. I think it may be a notch below The Sin and The Sentence but there is no shame in that. Trivium have seemed to settled into what they are now after years of making changes with mixed results. They are a professional, respectable and reliable band, something any band should desire to be. What The Dead Men Say has a great mix of more mainstream listener friendly choruses with plenty of the bands signature fast and heavy style for more dedicated fans. I’m happy to say What The Dead Men Say gets 4 out of 5 stars from us.