Trivium - In the Court of the Dragon
Roadrunner Records
Melodic Metalcore
10 songs (52:10)
Release year: 2021
Trivium, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

A very quick year and a half after the solid What the Dead Men Say and Trivium are back with another magnum opus, and as you'd expect from looking at that cover art they're in serious, grandiose mode. With less of the melodic death influence (and Gojira-isms!) of before and a partial reversion to overblown thrash territory, the band are straddling multiple influences as ever but seem to have the chops and, finally, experience to make it work. Sure, this initially seems designed to appeal more to the fans of The Crusade or Shogun rather than more recent works, but it's hard to deny how effective the material here can be. The opening title track here has tech-death chops (particularly from returning drummer Alex Bent) but metalcore structure, built around riff breakdowns and harsh vocal verses with clean-sung choruses, and it works thanks to plenty of instrumental flourishes and a solid set of hooks (both vocal and guitar-based) that keep your ears trained.

And that's a formula that the band stick fairly close to here. Like A Sword of Damocles and Feast of Fire both manage to fit together infectious riffs and vocal hooks inside a tougher metalcore skeleton to create a beast both hummable and headbangable. The latter especially is a sure-fire live hit akin to the most memorable moments from the past couple of albums - all credit to Trivium, they know how to craft solid modern metal. And again, Alex Bent helps the technical side of the band out considerably alongside the ever-improving guitar skills of Beaulieu and Heafy, the latter's clean singing still a real strength to Trivium instead of the cringy Hetfield-aping it used to be. True, this isn't quite as solid a step towards the prog and experimental aspects of their sound that the previous album hinted at but it does contain no less than three seven-minute songs in the latter half of the tracklisting, and all are at least solid. The Shadow of the Abattoir takes a moodier path that doesn't sound completely unlike recent Moonspell with goth-tinged verses spotted with epic choruses, albeit balancing it with a typical metalcore breakdown and galloping chug around the midsection that leads to plenty of widdly guitar goodness. Fall into Your Hands goes a little more technical, especially with those opening drums, and soon develops into a more complex take on the band's metalcore assault, while closer The Phalanx goes for the big chorus, somehow packing several in and basing the rest of the song around them with a carefully-applied layer of symphonic grandeur.

Things aren't altogether perfect; a couple of songs here like A Crisis of Revelation stick too closely to the metalcore playbook, which is fine for commercial metalcore but in 2021 can feel a little tired, however well-played they are. The band's biggest strength is still their ear for an appealing melody, as proven by shortest-song-but-most-memorable-tune No Way Back Just Through, all catchy groove and big chorus, and however much they toy with more complex structures and influences, you sense that will always be true. Which isn't a bad thing; metal needs bands capable of putting out pit-friendly scorchers as much (if not moreso) as it needs the ten minute impenetrable blizzard-machines, and Trivium are proving themselves crowd-pleasers par excellence. If you liked the last couple, you'll still like this; if you're still holding out then perhaps nothing will ever convince you.

Killing Songs :
In the Court of the Dragon, Feast of Fire, No Way Back Just Through, The Phalanx
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Trivium that we have reviewed:
Trivium - What the Dead Men Say reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Trivium - The Sin and the Sentence reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Trivium - Shogun reviewed by Pete and quoted 78 / 100
Trivium - The Crusade reviewed by Jason and quoted 79 / 100
Trivium - Ascendancy reviewed by Jay and quoted 70 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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