Thursday, 17 February 2011

CD Review: Shogun, by Trivium (2008)

Trivium bring a lot of steak to Shogun. They are just a bit short on the sizzle.

Demonstrating remarkable consistency, Trivium pack the special edition CD with 14 tracks, and almost all of them are made of solid metal. Now all of 23 years old and already onto his fourth studio album, Matthew Heafy leads Trivium to a welcome recovery from the misstep of The Crusade (2006). Shogun is several levels higher up the quality ladder, with confident songwriting, powerful delivery and a mature, rich sound.

Trivium do lack the killer touch to turn the many very good tracks on Shogun into excellent classics, and there is an element of sameness to the song construction. Relying more on Travis Smith's beefy drums and Heafy's vocals alternating between clean and growly rather than a genuinely memorable guitar contribution, the darts land all around the middle of the board but just fail to hit the bull's eye. The melodies do make their presence felt and are used intelligently to ensure that every track is coherent; but they are supportive rather than spectacular.

Shogun continues the Trivium tradition of incredibly complex and long song titles, and jumbled CD packaging. The bonus album features a booklet that contains nothing but artwork; a bland sleeve that covers the more interesting CD cover, and a track list that only appears on the sleeve.

Of Prometheus And The Crucifix and Like Castillo To A Star In Heaven come closest to breaking out from great to amazing. Both tracks feature an injection of pace, more pronounced, searching melodies, and more adventurous guitar solos. Prometheus in particular has a mouth-watering guitar solo passage that hints at the possibilities that lie within Trivium if they were to show more confidence in letting loose with more shredding.  The cover of Iron Maiden, the third of three bonus tracks, manages to add a true thrash ethic to the classic Maiden signature track. All the other songs are substantial and earn their space on the record; Shogun is a rare but welcome example of a band delivering a large quantity without shortchanging good quality.


Matthew Heafy - Vocals, Guitars
Travis Smith - Drums
Corey Beaulieu - Guitars
Paolo Gregoletto - Bass

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Kirisute Gomen - 8
2. Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis - 8
3. Down From The Sky - 8
4. Into The Mouth Of Hell We March - 8
5. Throes Of Perdition - 8
6. Insurrection - 8
7. The Calamity - 7
8. He Who Spawned The Furies - 7
9. Of Prometheus And The Crucifix - 9 *see below*
10. Like Callisto To A Star In Heaven - 9
11. Shogun - 8
12. Poison, The Knife Or The Noose - 7
13. Upon The Shores - 8
14. Iron Maiden - 10

Average: 8.07

Produced by Nick Raskulinecz.
Mixed by Colin Richardson.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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