Trivium – What the Dead Men Say (2020)

Traditionally, the majority of Triviums material is written by vocalist/guitarist, Matthew K Heafy, but for their ninth effort, the bulk of the music and lyrics has been written by bass guitarist, Paolo Gregoletto.  While the album still has a sound that is very identifiable as Trivium, you can feel the different influence throughout.

Opening with the instrumental, IX (named for the ninth album, I guess) – It starts off with gentle picking and strumming, before building towards what becomes a great introduction to the first fully fledged song, the title track.  The two go hand in hand, with IX leading perfectly into What The Dead Men Say, which is a great opening number – I love Heafy’s clean vocals as much as his growling vocals.  The contrasting styles work well together.

I’ve never understood the backlash that Trivium have always received.  Musically they are heavy in a modern way, while paying homage to their influences at the same time – plus they are great musicians.  Heafy’s vocals a great too, and possibly at an all time best on Catastrophist – he really makes use of every bit of range that he has on this track.

Among the Shadows and the Stones is an absolute killer, and leaves no doubt in my mind that the band are taking the great work they did on their previous album, The Sin and the Sentence, to the next level.  Again, Heafy is making use of his clean and aggressive vocals to great effect, and musically this is a beast.  One that is sure to be a mosh pit favourite.

Extremely fat bass guitar is the driving force behind Bleed into Me.  The heaviness remains, albeit a little more stripped back, with a slightly somber feel.  This is an anthem in the making, without falling victim to becoming an “anthem for anthems sake.”  The Defiant is a storming metal track, with soaring choruses, and some fantastic guitar work throughout.

Sickness Unto You has a lot going on.  Like A LOT, but not to the point of becoming muddled.  It’s still a very well crafted song, bringing together galloping riffs, blast beats and more than just a touch of groove..  It’s actually fucking awesome, with the final two minutes or so of the track being the most awesome, possibly of the entire record.

Scattering the Ashes is a very accessible song, while Bending the Arc to Fear puts Triviums black and death metal influences out there for all to hear, but not in a self indulgent way, they do it very well, and it’s a highlight of the album for mine.  There is some great lead guitar on display too..

Wrapping up the album is the lightning fast, The Ones We Leave Behind.  Heafy is commanding, and powerful on this track, while the guitar work is stunning, and the rhythm section is working overtime to lay the ground work.  This is a ripping way to end a really good album.

Trivium are in fine form, and as soon as the world returns to some kind of normalcy, I will be  making sure to see the band perform some of these tracks live.


Shayne McGowan.

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