inwavesTrivium is part of the late noughties trend I call “hardcore band goes thrash.”

It’s where a hardcore or scenester or emo or whatever band starts growing their hair long, ripping off Metallica a little in their riff construction, and acting like they’re old-school metal. Tim Lambesis. Bullet for my Valentine. Even Disturbed. Everyone’s done it. It’s like the reverse of selling out. I love old fashioned metal. I hate bandwagon hopping pieces of shit pretending they’re old fashioned metal.

There’s a corollary: trendy modern bands with harmonised guitar leads saying they’re inspired by Iron Maiden. Fact: any modern hardcore band that uses harmonised leads was inspired by In Flames (or some other In Flames sounding band like Arch Enemy). Don’t argue. It’s the truth. Oh, sure…they have all the Iron Maiden albums now, because you have to live the lie…but they were fans of In Flames first.

In Waves is Trivium’s fifth album. They’ve scaled back the overt Metallica/Annihilator influences of The Crusade, ditched the epic pseudo-Iron Maiden trappings of Shogun, and delivered a focused, brutal punch of their not-so-powerful brand of metal. In Waves is as polished as a metal album can get. The production is huge and thick and loud, to the point where Nick Augustomendezdfasdfkhj (who the fuck knows who drums for this band) threatens to blow speakers apart with each snare hit. Matt Heafy and Corey Can’t-Be-Bothered-to-Type-Out-His-Name bring their hardest and toughest guitar tones yet. (The bassist is an Unperson as always.)

Songwriting verdict: all over the place. Trivium alternate good and crap, over and over and over and over. The surging djent riff powering the title track…this is good. The annoying melodic verses and repetitive chorus…this is bad. The powerful rhythmic stomp of “Dusk Dismantled”…this is good. The obnoxious “bree” inhales on the final chorus…look, deathcore is over, you dumbasses. You should be over, too.

Most of the songs feature choppy unmemorable “core” riffs and horrible clean choruses. The entire lead section is greatly simplified compared to their last album. It seems they had trouble replicating Shogun’s three-guitar parts live, so they ditched them for a “only write enough solos to keep up the charade of being old school” approach. Shogun was inconsistent too, but at least it tonally sounded unique and interesting. Now Trivium sounds exactly like everyone else.

I do love one song unreservedly. “Chaos Reigns” is the heaviest Trivium song to date, featuring fast as hell drumming and an amazing set of riffs. Trivium slays on this song. “Chaos Reigns” is actually frustrating, because it shows what the band is capable of. I know the tiger’s there. But they haven’t tamed it yet, and they probably never will. Everyone’s always wondered when Trivium will fully deliver on their potential. Five albums in and you have to wonder how long the wait will be.

It annoys me when bands write an album with just one killer song. In a sense, it’s worse than an album with nothing but duds. Why? Because it’s a tease. I’d rather listen to an untalented band that can’t play music than a talented band that refuses to play music.

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