Review - Ember to Inferno

Artist: Trivium

With all the established heavy metal subsets (power, thrash, death and black metal) being challenged and strengthened by newer influences like post-hardcore and melodic radio metal, it was bound to happen that a group would come along unafraid to meld all of those elements into a sound that's as unique as it is familiar. Orlando's Trivium have, in their three years together, not only established a strong local fan base, but also gained the artistic respect of the city's wide-flung metal scene. This is due solely to the group's uniquely transcendent aggression, and not to "street-teaming" or "networking." Quietly, this three-piece (now a four-piece with the addition of guitarist Corey Beaulieu) has honed their chops, working on a sound that's accessible (thanks to vocalist Matt Heafy's ability to easily switch between a death growl and metalcore melodicism) without being easy. "Ember" collects a dozen tracks that -- from the appropriately melodramatic intro (there are two other equally brief instrumentals on the album) through the epic pounding of "If I Could Collapse the Masses" and the chunky thrash groove of "My Hatred" -- make it clear that this young band was healthily inspired by the best of late '80s and early '90s metal. It's on the title cut that the inspiration fuses with a modern approach to point Trivium in an altogether new direction. Though Heafy's melodic grandiosity sometimes sounds a little too much like generic radio metal, the head-bashing riffs that bracket those bits more than make up for it. All of it -- the old, the new, the next -- comes together on the absolutely astounding six-and-a-half minutes of "When All Light Dies," a full-bodied dose of heaviness that reminds you that the metal playbook can always be rewritten.

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