Trivium – What the Dead Men Say (Roadrunner)

Friday, 17th April 2020
Rating: 9/10

2017’s The Sin and the Sentence was the album that seemed to put Trivium back fully into the minds of many a metal fan. Sure, previous albums were quite successful, but The Sin and the Sentence found a way to move the band forward, as well as really respect much of their past. With that said, What the Dead Men Say doesn’t deviate too far from what they did with their last release, but it certainly ups the stakes in just about every way.

What the Dead Men Say works best because it manages to pull off a blend of modern metal that’s both immediately hooky, but has enough metallic grit to bring you back into the fold repeatedly. More so than The Sin and the Sentence, it feels like each one of these tracks has at least one fist-raising, epic moment in them that is bound to excite the listener. “The Defiant” is the first to stick out with this, featuring some spine-tingling ascending guitarwork in the chorus that pairs quite effectively with the more driving aggression and thrashy tone surrounding it. “Amongst the Shadows and the Stones” also benefits from some contrasting vibes, with galloping mid-tempo and rolling grooves leading the way for much of the track, alongside some explosive speed ups (aided in aggression by Alex Bent’s drumming). “Bending the Arc to Fear” flexes some of the album’s heaviest muscles, focusing mostly on thrashy tempos and energy, done in an anthemic manner. On the more melodic side is “Scattering the Ashes,” which showcases one of the stronger choruses on the release, not to mention some joyously playful guitarwork throughout. Wisely chosen singles like the title track and “Catastrophist” utilize both the more aggressive and melodic tones – showing what the album can do with interesting melodies and some frantic tempos.

There’s no real weak point or slowdown throughout What the Dead Men Say. Trivium has crafted something that can appeal to a wider audience than just metal fans with their soaring choruses, as well as rope in the dyed-in-the-wool types with the intricate rhythm section and standout guitarwork. With their last two efforts, and here especially, Trivium have really turned the tide and delivered on their early potential when touted as future metallic leaders.

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