Published Apr 24, 2020After a 15-year career of hits and misses, 2017's The Sin and the Sentence seemed like the album that could bring an end to the inconsistency Trivium had become known for, as long as they stuck to the formula that made that album such a success. Of course, it's never a sure thing when Trivium release a new record, as some of their best have been followed by some of their worst, but if the singles were anything to go off of, What the Dead Men Say looked promising.
Fans will breathe a sigh of relief upon hearing the full album. The high-energy songs show a band comfortable at the point they've reached in their evolution. There are new sounds and old incorporated into these 10 tracks, but what makes a solid Trivium album is the perceived ease with which the group presents the material. It doesn't sound like they're really trying to do anything —they're just doing what they do.
The album's top half has the single-worthy songs; "Catastrophist" is one of the strongest cuts, and practically begs to be played live, while the equal-parts heavy and melodic title track and the furiously hyper "Amongst the Shadows and the Stones" also stand out as some of the safest tracks to have been released ahead of the record. "Bleed Into Me" would have also fared well as a single, and "The Defiant" is an unexpected album highlight, its chorus boasting one of the biggest hooks of Trivium's career.
The second half is where the more flashy, technical bits can be found. The semi-experimental instrumental work on songs like "Sickness Unto You" and "Bending the Arc to Fear" is really pulled together by Alex Bent's powerful drumming. Corey Beaulieu's guitar solos are as incredible as ever and Paolo Gregoletto's driving bass lines do a lot of heavy lifting throughout the album. Matt Heafy's vocals also sound healthier than on some previous releases where they felt kind of strained, much to the benefit of these new songs.
This is a continuation in a great direction for Trivium. With Bent firmly fitting in his place as the band's drummer, the chemistry between the band members is better than ever. What the Dead Men Say is the second of two great albums, and confirms that The Sin and the Sentence wasn't a fluke. Let's hope the band can keep this streak going. (Roadrunner)