What is Wrong with Trivium

I should begin this with a preface. Right now I am shaking; shivering, unable to focus in any way shape or form or really, write much of a coherent review. This is because I am listening to the release (AT LAST OH MY SWEET NOTHINGNESS) of Heathen's long awaited. The Evolution Of Chaos. I will do a writeup about this – and it will be glorious. Suffice to say that right now though, I am the happiest I have been with Heavy Metal in any form for at least five years. I do not exaggerate in any way when I make this statement.

Right, down to business. Why Trivium annoy me and all that relevant information. I feel it is important to indicate that the majority of Critical Extreme Metal music fans don't have as much respect for Metallica as others do as a beginning, in order to give some context to this discussion. This is driven by my sincere belief – and as will be explained throughout this article, that you simply cannot accurately put the stakes through Trivium without firstly targeting Metallica. In this way I hope to establish a more understandable context – one that the reader can easily “fall” into. With this in mind, remember Aa expressed by UltraBoris's Review, Metallica's so called 'greatest' album brought Thrash to its knees, and castrated it mightily.

Without anaesthetic.

Herein begins the first of my problems with Trivium. They have traditionally expressed a connection, if you will; with this era of Metallica. This is the cornerstone of my attempts to establish context with talking about what I perceive as flaws here. They picked an album, a moment to worship, that I firmly believe was the beginning of the end for that era of thrash. So, for a band such as Trivium to attempt to harken to this age of 'metal perfection' and wax nostalgic, isn't a particularly appealing starting point to begin with. It is attempting to copy the imperfect. As anyone with experience in trying to do this any sort of photocopying equipment can inform you, the results are less than satisfactory. If you hold up to a pedestal an album that epitomises the concepts of unoriginality, lack of brilliance, you will struggle to provide any sort of fundamentally enjoyable experience at all. Bland repetition with a lot of 'modern thrash' ala groove aka post-thrash riffing. Copying a “meh” album will only result in mediocrity, and I firmly believe mediocrity is not something the claimed “Saviors of Metal” can be seen to be happy with.

Not only this, but in terms of Metallica worship I express a firm believe that this is something they can't even accomplish with a degree of creative proficiency. When I hear of a band that is critically and commercially acclaimed to high levels, I expect well beyond 'above par', I expect fucking class. Being called the 'Saviors of Metal' is a pretty damned high bar to set (and I'll get to why that is such a unintelligent and blatantly deceiving label later). When people come to me and spout off all sorts of nonsense about Isis's intelligent concept albums and constant musical change, I believe them because Isis backs up the hype in at least some of their work. Isis are pretentious, arrogant and self-assured because they are everything they claim to be. They will melt your brain with albums in the vein of Panopticon and riffs that FLAC was made for. While arrogance is always a dangerous road to go down – even moreso for artists, you have to possess a little to carry power, and authority as musician. That strength, belief and energy must flow throughout your work.

If you're going to embody all that is good and pure about the metal movement and be the next 'Metallica', (presuming that Heafy meant Metallica as in the Metallica before they went downhill in reference to everything Thrash stands for), I do not think it is unreasonable as an avid music listener to go "well, that's a big statement, I need something to back that up". However, I would argue not only does Trivium fail to meet these (supposedly) exceptionally high standards, but they fall well below anything acceptable in their quest to be acknowledge as a standout metal band. And I hold any such claimaint to high standards – as I believe I should and anyone else that wants to be critical of music. And fundamentally, many of Trivium's riffs, rythmns and soloing styles are exceptionally similar to more-critically-acclaimed 80's thrash albums. There is something very wrong about a “standout” band that uses such derivative material.


Trivium has received a fair amount of criticism for perceived similarities to Metallica among with many other thrash bands, so I feel this attack upon them is not a problem of my own imagining. I quite enjoy some of the opinis raised Here And Here. This band receive a great deal more hostility not only because of their reputation as 'saviours of metal', but also because of Heafy's rather amusing Metallica worship and his attempts to bring back a 'golden age'. Many people I have met are amused at this reference to bringing back a golden age of metal, and as what golden age? Once again, when you speak with authority (or attempt to) about the music you “love” and produce, you must show a level of understanding, passion, interest. Yes, the era of Pleasure to Kill/Darkness Descends/Reign in Blood was important for Thrash Metal and defining the sound and yes, Master of Puppets also put Thrash Metal out into the public consciousness. Nevertheless, there was a consistent movement of underground thrash that was always present and many mainstream bands. Heathen, Blind Illusion, Witchery, Aspid ... there was such an incredible breadth of good thrash material it's impossible to pin down a true 'golden age'. Furthermore, since the Trivium legacy seems to ignore that many progenitors of this “Golden Age” (The Big Four spring to mind) were also responsible for much of the commercially driven destruction of such an era. If you acknowledge the successes of your heroes – acknowledge the failures.

Beyond any historical revisionism associated with “Golden Ages” however, there is one rather large elephant hiding amongst us that must be confronted with this term. Why are we even attempting to talk about a golden age? Thrash metal has not ingratiated itself into the human consciousness with the fastidiousness of the Roman Empire, nor has thrash “died” or evolved into something recognisable (as the Golden Age of Arcade Games came to be labelled). This notion of trying to create a “Golden Age” of thrash is the phrase from people who think as Trivium do that concerns me the most. It sounds rather like creating a market – a commercial market; one created by those who seek to profit from it the most. The last time I checked the “Golden Age” was a term used by historians – or at least psuedo-historians. You will have to excuse me when I guffaw at the thought that Trivium can be called either. So not only do have a divisive label that attempts to highlight an era that may have doomed the original incarnation of thrash; it's being done by a series of idiots. All Trivium are attempting to do is resurrect an overrated era and champion themselves as paladins of a cause that is all image.

If you want to harken back to the past, take the style and reapply it to the future with modern production, ethos and attitude. Trivium has some genuine instrumental talent, yet all they make is albums that feature Detonation ala "another Testament song", or Anthemn, packing a scarily Iron Maidenesque chorus. Lyrics such as "and In arms we'll turn way/From there ways/We'll live like no other/Together we're hope" don't inspire confidence either. This approach simply does not work with Thrash Metal. It's the opposite of it's father, Sir HardcorePunktheThird and as such, there's an element of cynicism in there. By simply existing as a genre of primarily inaccessible material, Thrash embraces the hardcore punk philosophies. All the wannabes and the pretending are torn away by the speed and the purity of purpose. That's why when a great many Thrash bands lose it, they never get it back. That is why Trivium never had it in the first place. You cannot try and save a genre that would not have cared about Salvation in the first place – nor can you do such a thing by ignoring all the flaws of the previous incarnations. There is a reason Teddy was just as significant as his brother Kennedys. While the others were held up as marble statutes that never aged or showed flaw, he was the opposite.

To summarise.

1. Trivium are doing it wrong.
2. Even if Trivium are doing it right, they're making a copy of an imperfection anyway.
3. Imperfect Copy of an imperfect copy = clusterfuck

It's impossible, thanks to the internet for any cultural paradigm to stop the growth of a good, honest attitude to making music anymore. There's no excuse for being content with average bands. There is absolutely no excuse for any one of you reading this blog, any music-lover (with access to the internet mind you) to put up with music that only half captures them in rapture.. Sure, there's a lot more crap, but that's more to do with distribution anyway, which is easily ignored. Bands such as Trivium and BFMV become the springboard into later Slayer, which then goes into South of Heaven Slayer, and then all sorts of obscure nuttiness in both modern and past eras like Cyclone Temple and Gullitone, Heathen, Aspid and Watchtower etc. For the sake of your own musical appreciation, you cannot afford to buy into 'Golden Age of metal', else you're being lead around as much as the next average consumer. The Golden Age of Metal is (according to magazines such as Kerrang) right now, and I don't doubt that in five years from now, that'll be the Golden Age of Metal. The internet finally gives the medium to add more range and breadth to reach people than ever before. Modern Music listeners can to rediscover what they missed and realise that Trivium are not all they claim to be.

The 'saviors of metal' aren't some overrated half-thrash band such as Trivium, which pander to commercialist magazines and continue to publish shoddy Metallica worship Hell, they're not even absolute thrash legends such as Watchtower, Cyclone Temple, Exodus, the big four, Witchery, or Artillery. I don't even believe in such a phrase - only that people who love the music are the ones prepared to support these bands and keep one of the most diverse genres in the world afloat as it's basis continues to expand and grow. The same people who demanded a better melodeath album, so Unmoored went and made songs such as 'Phase of Revulsion', with groove-metal surrounded by an amazing clean vocalised mid-break. The same listeners who supported the excesses of the Avant-Garde-Metal band Kekal, who took the hardcore-punk of Indonesia's anger at the excess of the suharto regime, and added an intellectual touch to the drudgery in Jakarta every day. The same absolutely nutty fuckers who turn up at Unexpect shows every time they tour. The people who demand more. Always more. The chorus of demands for 'more' that broke some of the greatest bands in the world. The 'more' demand that slayed rockstars and ushered in new eras of musical development.

Which also means that the people with the ability to keep this silliness up is

= You.

When a band you love releases an album you thought wasn't everything it could be, let them have it. Always demand more, otherwise they'll be content to push out the same material every year for your dainty little ears. Get crushed by Drone Doom in between your thrash listening, even if you hate it. I'll teach you exactly what a breakdown in modern thrash should be like in terms of making your ears bleed, in pure sonic assault – abusing your ears. Get out and listen to a jam with a free-jazz outfit for a few hours, if only to know what chaos (and hence, techthrash/techdeath) should try to emulate.

Every moment people spend trying to convince me Trivium aren't as bad as their detractors say they are, you're only proving my point that you could instead, be listening to something that is indescribably awesome and stuns far more proponents of the genre.

And if you actually think Trivium are the best music in the world ever, more power to you.


PS: Fact's Album is excellent. It's probably not as aggressive or experimental as their earlier work but combines some solid songwriting (and even the occcasional punkish reference to uplifting choruses) with some decent almost-engrish lyrics. Rise, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Snow all seem like highlights to me - but the album itself is solid. It is normally the type of genre I would not display much interest in, but FACT have impressed me.

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LORD HIGH CAPTAIN KING

USE CORRECT FUCKING GRAMMAR.

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Hes gonna teach me wrong from right
that fuckin palimine
the devil in the details
im gonna dance with him tonight

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yukarin you are so witty and eloquent, I want you inside me this instant

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