Review by Suzi “Elfie” Horsley
Trivium. As ever I’m late to the review party, but given I’m supposed to be at a Trivium gig *right now* and instead I’m laid up with actual ‘flu (I’ve had a fever for five days now, so what I write might be total shite), what else can I do but listen to Silence in the Snow and therefore review it? Nothing it seems.
Here, therefore are my feverish ramblings on the subject of one of my favourite bands. Anyway. I’m listening to a digital Special Edition of the album (legitimately obtained via Groove Music, so pipe down in the back please. I pay actual monies for my music). It has 13 tracks (you get two bonus tracks from the standard release) and kicks off with Snøfall a glorious and evocative instrumental introduction. It does rather set the scene, and in my head listening to it you’ve got an abandoned landscape covered in snow, with bare trees and mountains and eagles screeching……… where was I? Oh yes, anyway, it’s a lovely start, and then the album segues right into the alarmingly catchy Silence In The Snow. It’s a bit odd really – Trivium have cleaned their act right up for this album, and dropped all of their growling, but initially it seems they haven’t lost depth by doing so. Anyway, this is a catchy track, easy to headbang too, and I’ve been singing it for three weeks now, so it clearly isn’t terrible.
Then, the guitars get heavier and a little more vintage Trivium and we get Blind Leading The Blind. This is the bit where I have to have a rapturous moment describing the loveliness of Matt Heafy‘s voice. Seriously – he’s a good growler but give that boy some clean vocals to do and he’ll bat them out of the park. This is another very catchy track, and I can see why Wyrd Ways new boy Nathan says this is his favourite Trivium album. He isn’t a massive Trivium fan though, so that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Next up we get Dead and Gone. I should point out that at this point we’re three vocal tracks into the album and so far there has been *no growling*. Yes, you read that right – there’s lovely melodies, and some awesome clean vocals, and guitars filthier than my mind after three pints, but there is NO GROWLING. I’m thoroughly enjoying the album so far, but we’ll just file that bit of information away for later. Anyway, Dead and Gone is another excellent track, nice to headbang too and with memorable lyrics.
It’s followed by The Ghost That’s Haunting You, which is slightly heavier than the more melodic offerings of Silence In The Snow so far. It also utilises a weird vocal thing I mostly associate with 80’s Glam Metal. Actually, I think that’s what this album is – it’s Trivium‘s glam metal moment – the guitars on this track are well guitar wanky as well. I don’t know. There’s still nothing wrong with this track, although at this juncture I’ve got a horrible suspicion that’s it’s just all a little bit too… pop-ish?
Pull Me From The Void is till rather radio single-ish but it does distinguish itself with some excellent drumming . There’s still only clean vocals to be found. Until The World Goes Cold doesn’t do much to dispel the growing cold feeling I’m developing about the album. There’s nothing bad about it and it’s perfectly enjoyable, it’s just a bit… safe. And commercial. I mean my 12 year old (currently attending the aforementioned Trivium gig) has gone Taylor Swift > Black Veil Brides > Trivium but doesn’t like Ascendency and loves Silence In The Snow.
Rise Above The Tides is more of the same: melody, melody, clean vocals, wanky guitars… I might be running out of patience. Luckily The Things That’s Killing Me starts with some heavy guitars, and some thrash drumming. And then Matt opens his mouth, and the vocals are still clean with harmonies (but A SWEARWORD!!) and it’s all just a bit blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, safe listening for work or whatever.
Beneath the Sun is track 10, so on the standard edition is the penultimate track. Look, lyrically it’s a lovely song but again BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Luckily for everyone who had the standard edition Breathe In The Flames is a bit less blah, but only a bit. It’s just still all very safe. It does have some very nice guitar solos in it though.
BONUS TRACKS TIME: right so first up you get Cease All Your Fire and now thank you, we are talking. Why is this a bonus track? I’d have stuck it in and not put in Rise Above The Tides. It’s much heavier, clean vocals not withstanding. This is a track that has some of that Trivium grit that I so approve of. I am utterly bemused as to why this got slapped onto the Special Edition as a bonus and wasn’t put on the standard release. Bizarre decision making there Trivium. After that you get the last track of the album The Darkness Of My Mind and WHAT DO YOU KNOW? It’s really good as well, and not as samey as the rest of the album. This was a bad call on Trivium‘s part, in terms of picking out tracks for the final cut.
Alright then summary: this isn’t a *bad* album per se. I’ve been happily listening to it on and off for a few weeks, so it’s got listenability, it’s identifiable as Trivium in terms of both the instrumental content, and the vocals. Although, I may well demote Trivium from my favourite bands list if they persist with the refusal to growl. It is however, a very commercial and safe album. I’m not going to criticize them for that. At the end of the day, musicians need to eat and pay bills too, and if it means my previously pop-obsessed 12 year old listens to more Metal I’m all for it. It’s just not likely to appeal to long standing hardcore Trivium fans because it is just oh so very safe. Overall I’m going to give it a slightly disappointing…