It may seem strange now, but not that long ago Trivium were tipped as metal’s next big thing. It’s ultimately their inconsistency that’s let them down; whenever they’ve released an album that fully justifies that coveted title, the follow-up has more often than not been less than spectacular. Take 2005’s critically acclaimed Ascendancy, and then look at its follow-up, 2006’s considerably less acclaimed The Crusade. Even recently it’s been a similar story – 2011’s brilliant In Waves was succeeded by 2013’s lacklustre Vengeance Falls, an album that, with Disturbed frontman David Draiman at the production desk, saw the band being that close to actually turning into Disturbed. If history is to repeat itself once again, then Silence In The Snow – on the face of it at least – should be the next brilliant follow-up to a disappointing previous attempt.
You’d think that, but unfortunately it isn’t the case. Silence In The Snow is yet another step back for a once brilliant band, seeing them shedding their skin as a thrash band and adopting the guise of of vintage metal with flecks of power metal. If it sounds unpalatable, it’s because it is, partly because of the band carrying out such a change. With other bands who take on this style – bands like Turisas or, to a slightly lesser extent, Amon Amarth – there’s always a wry knowingness to it, like some sort of deep-seated humour that both band and listener are aware of. With Trivium, there’s an overriding seriousness in everything they do meaning that there’s none of that same fantastical bravado. The effect is certainly noticeable, and not in a positive way – Until The World Goes Cold and The Thing That’s Killing Me do have that unfurling bombast, but it feels forced and, on more than a few occasions, so cheesy. And with Matt Heafy opting for entirely clean vocals rather than his formerly interspersed screams, it’s an album that clunks and plods when it really should gallop.
It’s a massive complaint, that is, if you’re actually able to tell the songs apart, another hurdle at which Silence In The Snow falls. It’s the same base formula for nearly every track – flashy solos, an uncomfortable vocal vibrato and samey riffs that feel as though they’ve been recycled from the song that preceded. It’s not a strong concoction by any means, and leaves the likes of Beneath The Sun and Pull Me From The Void as forgettable as they come. It’s not a good look for any band, but for one with such a lofty ambition formerly hung over their heads, it feels as though it takes its toll on Trivium even more so.
When Silence In The Snow hits, it does so with enough force to at least stick and make an impact. Intro Snøfall is a wonderfully atmospheric piece that a better album would no doubt benefit from (plus there are extra metal brownie points thanks to it being composed by Emperor legend Ihsahn), while the title track is a roaring slice of melodic trad metal that would have seen the whole album fly if each track was like this. It’s decent in patches as well, but as a whole body of work, it falls tremendously flat.
Of course, Trivium deserve credit for trying something so drastically new seven albums into their career – they could’ve rehashed the same old sound, but that they’ve actually attempted something like this is commendable. But even so, there’s no hiding Silence In The Snow‘s disappointing nature. What could have been a great new string to add to their bow has turned out as an album in which the sound is as lifeless and featureless as its title suggest. Still, as has happened before, they’ll still be given another chance to put out that true epic that they’ve hinted they’re capable of so many times in the past. But it begs the question – just how many chances are too many?
For fans of: Dio, Turisas, Sabaton
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Silence In The Snow’ by Trivium is released on 2nd October on Roadrunner Records.