Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon (Roadrunner)Friday, 1st October 2021
Seemingly poised to outdo their last album with each new release lately, Trivium returns after last year’s What the Dead Men Say with their tenth full-length in the form of In the Court of the Dragon. Continuing to up the complexity and being more playful with the songwriting helps Dragon to stand out with the Trivium discography, while still offering a slightly new (and a bit more mature) direction for the band to go in.
One thing that stands out is the musicianship on this album. Those who have heard the title track already can attest to the more epic and engaging sound that the band has been polishing up, and it carries through for much of the album. The songs, outside of just a few, sit at longer time spans and give the band more breathing room to toss in these extra components. “The Shadow of the Abattoir” has a nice build up from an acoustic and gentle beginning as things heat up into more thrashy and aggressive territory with some furious soloing. “Fall into Your Hands” also carries that same bit of buildup, overall heaviness, and an extensive instrumental session – something that stays interesting due to its melodic and frantic nature. That combination of epic melodies, shred, and aggression keeps the whole of the album from feeling too ‘radio friendly,’ which may upset a portion of the fanbase, but it’s a shift that really allows them to go outside of the usual boxes and take the time to allow the musicianship to really flourish. Even a shorter track like “No Way Back Just Through” displays some impressive earworms on the guitar side of things (let alone the chorus), offering a nice mix of some heavy grooves and energetic riffing with a dash of intriguing melodies.
Trivium really seems to be on an inspired roll in the last few years. Since The Sin and the Sentence, the band has really been upping their game all across the board. While In the Court of the Dragon may take a few spins before it all settles in, it’s more than worth the effort once those more epic moments really sink in, and you appreciate the little underlying melodies. Even moreso than their other recent releases, this really hints at some exciting new potential. They’ve got all the dynamics in play that they need, and they really grasp how to polish them to a glimmering shine at this point.