Written by: Blackie Skulless
Looking back to my days of high school, it’s fun to reminisce on albums that came out around the time that had some sort of hype, but lost it over the years. Sometimes, that’s due to not aging well; other times, it just gets lost in the depths of everything else going on. Trivium’s album In Waves comes to mind, considering that it’s one that seldom gets talked about (positive or negative) compared to the likes of Shogun or Ascendancy these days. This disc turns ten later on this year, and I still to this day view it as a masterpiece, which may be a bit of a hot take.
For starters, I want to say that this is metalcore done exactly right. By this point, most metalcore bands abandoned the genre’s roots, and traded in thrashy riffs and hardcore aesthetic for endless chugs, overly produced vocals, and extremely generic songwriting. Trivium never got caught up in that undertow. In Waves is absolutely packed with furious thrash riffs that cast sharp hooks, and evenly work in the hardcore chugs without being overwhelming. If that isn’t enough, the actual songs have more advanced writing than ever. The Crusade may be a more direct thrash release, but this is where Matt Heafy and co. blended it wonderfully with hardcore to pump out a spectacular album.
I want to fixate on the title track for a hot second. First of all, the way that its intro “Capsizing The Sea” works its way in and then winds up being the tail of “In Waves” is some pretty top-tier writing, for how smooth it flows. I also say this because of the one-chord chugging managing to work so well for a tactic that I usually dislike. The drum fill that carries that into the chorus, the beautifully clean vocal execution, and a memorable lick to do this over is as top tier as this band has ever gotten.
More importantly, this tactic is spread all across the entire disc. “A Skyline’s Severance” dips into some extreme metal vocal styles, and its smooth weave from beatdowns into a chaotic chorus is beefy as fuck. “Inception Of The End” even slips blast beats into that formula, potentially being the most abrasive track to be had. You can get older Trivium vibes in “Built To Fall” with its steadier construction, yet the mean demeanor never slips away in the slightest.
The thrashier, and perhaps more accessible tracks are as present as they’ve ever been; you just have to look below the surface, such as “Forsake Not The Dream.” “Watch The World Burn” is one of the most memorable songs the band has ever done. The riffs punch hard, and the chorus is written wonderfully. Another one that comes to mind is “Black,” switching gears by injecting the explosive angle into the chorus. There are very few calmer, sad moments, but even those shine bright. The glaring example is the hopeless aura around “Of All These Yesterdays.” There are also some hints of this in “Caustic Are The Ties That Bind,” especially in the clean bridge that slowly grows momentum.
Many years ago, I thought In Waves was a perfect album. Surely that was just a sign of the times, right? Coming back to it, I can see that my opinion has hardly changed at all. Why this is such a hot take these days, I’ll never know. The soloing is strong, the writing is advanced, the thrashy parts hit hard and the hardcore parts threatin with force. Perhaps it's worth a revisit to those that weren’t as fond of it prior?
Trivium - In Waves was released Aug. 2011 via Roadrunner
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!