Hard rock band Trivium returned this week with its ninth full-length studio recording. The 10-song record is a strong new presentation from the band that will find a wide appeal among audiences through its musical arrangements and diverse lyrical themes. From the band’s familiar metalcore sounds to heavier sounds, the record’s musical arrangements offer their own share of interest for audiences. One of the most notable of the album’s featured songs that joins those elements comes late in the record’s run in the form of ‘Bending the Arc to Fear.’ It will be addressed shortly. ‘Catastrophist,’ the album’s lead single is another work that does well in joining those two elements, and will be addressed a little later. ‘Bleed Into Me’ is yet another example of the band’s ability to solidly join musical and lyrical content to keep listeners engaged again this time out. It is just one more way in which What The Dead Men Say shows its overall strength. When it is considered along with the other two songs noted here and the rest of the record’s works, the album in whole proves to be a viable choice for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.
Trivium’s latest full-length studio recording – its ninth overall and eighth consecutive record distributed through Roadrunner Records – is another strong new offering from the band. The album presents a wide range of musical arrangements and lyrical themes, offering listeners plenty to appreciate once again. ‘Bending the Arc to Fear’ is just one way in which those statements are supported. The song’s musical arrangement stands out because at points, its guitar riffs and time keeping couple with its vocals to create a powerful death metal style approach. Within the same song, audiences also get something of a more metalcore approach. The two genres are balanced well against one another, with the result being one of the album’s strongest arrangements. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. That heaviness couples with the song’s equally impacting lyrical content to make the song stand out even more.
While the title ‘Bending the Arc to Fear’ could easily be construed to reflect everything going on in the world right now (bending the curve, etc.) audiences will be glad to know that it has nothing to do with that topic. Rather, it has to do with the lack of personal privacy that humans have nowadays. Simply put, it is inferred to address the overreach of “big brother.” That is inferred right from the song’s outset as front man Matt Heafy sings, “A strain of vigilance/Deep roots that all connect/We wait so diligent/Watching you/An engine of suspicion/A web you can’t escape/Crossing all lines to listen/Breaking through/Prey upon you/The weak inherit all our scorn/Prey upon you/The fragile bones now ripped and torn/These eyes show you/Bending the arc to fear/This heart will prove/Bending the art to fear.” From there, the chorus repeats itself, so there is in fact only one verse here coupled with the chorus. Heafy’s screams throughout are skin to the sound of Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta’s vocals. Yes, it sounds odd, but it works, considering the work of Heafy’s band mates. The noted theme of loss of personal privacy is relatively clear as Heafy makes note of “Deep roots that connect” and “An engine of suspicion/A web you can’t escape/Crossing all lines to listen.” It all comes across as making mention of how we as a people are being monitored everywhere we go. Considering the issues of illegal wiretapping, facial recognition, smart phones being used to trace people’s travel and other related items that rose to attention in the early 2000s, this content holds water. It’s not some conspiracy theory. It is real life. The anger over this among the matter that is exhibited both lyrically and musically in a fashion that will connect well with listeners. Keeping that in mind, the song in whole leaves no doubt as to why it is one of the record’s most notable works. It is just one of the album’s most notable songs. ‘Catastrophist,’ the lead single from Trivium’s new album, is another of the LP’s most notable works.
‘Catastrophist’ is an interesting addition to Trivium’s new album. That is because of how closely similar it is to some of Slipknot’s more melodic hard rock opuses. From the guitars to the drums and right down to Heafy’s own vocals, it would be easy for listeners to mistake Trivium for Slipknot in this song because of the close similarity in the sound and style of each band’s work if they took in the song, not knowing it was by Trivium. As is the case in ‘Bending the Arc to Fear,’ the fiery energy in ‘Catastrophist’ does well in its illustration of the anger exhibited about the world’s ongoing crisis of humanity.
The noted theme is itself exhibited well here. Heafy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Who has the means to save us from ourselves/To pull us from the vicious cycles feeding back again/Consume and feed/Degenerate/We damage just to liberate/Bought and sold before we could even breathe/I feel like we’re falling/A lifeline just out of our reach/I feel our collapsing/The arrogant numb to our needs/You’re a catastrophe/The one who’s come to devastate/Catastrophist/You stole our innocence/You’re a catastrophe/The one who’s come to devastate/Catastrophist/We never had a chance.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “How far along before we fade away/So deeply out of focus/But it seems we never cared/Deflect/Deny what flows inside/The poison springs internalize/Bought and sold before we could even breathe.” Heafy returns to the song’s lead verse and chorus once more as the song progresses through its nearly six-and-a-half-minute run time, pushing home the message again of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. Given, it is a familiar message, but it is a message that regardless, never gets old. That reminder that we need to step back and check ourselves is always welcome, since we as a race are so quick to forget to do just that. Keeping that in mind, this song proves to be just as engaging and entertaining in the bigger picture of WTDMS as ‘Bending the Arc to Fear’ and the rest of the album’s works. Even with that in mind, it is just one more of the record’s most notable works. ‘Bleed Into Me,’ another of the album’s singles, is deserving of its own attention.
‘Bleed Into Me’ presents a musical arrangement that, again can be easily compared to more recent works from Slipknot. At the same time, it can also be compared to works from the likes of The Veer Union and Sevendust through its melodic hard rock approach. The song’s foundation is built through its bass line. That foundation is strengthened through the equally solid time keeping and old school-influenced guitar work. Heafy’s vocal delivery puts the finishing touch to the presentation. The tone of the song does well in illustrating the emotion in the song’s lyrical theme, which seems to hint at dealing with some very personal feelings.
The seeming message about addressing unresolved thoughts and feelings is inferred as Heafy sings in the song’s lead (and only) verse, “Bleed into me/An ounce of your empathy/Eyes lock/You can see/A ghost/An invisible city/Bleed into me/Those feelings you’re harboring/The silence says it all/Tragedy/The look before the fall/Struggles and dreams mix into one/The grim rituals have only begun/No use in leaving/I’ll drift off before you are gone/Before you are gone/As it bleeds into me/Let it sink in for you/tell them the story/Tell them the truth.” From here, Heafy repeats the song’s chorus multiple times over against the work of his band mates. It seems rather obvious that this song is addressing some unresolved concerns between the subject and another individual. It goes without saying that this is a topic to which many listeners will relate just as much as the topics in the other songs addressed here. Considering, again, the emotion generated through the song’s musical arrangement, the two sides work well together to make the song even more powerful. When the impact of this song is considered with that of the other two songs noted here and the rest of the record’s songs, the whole of What The Dead Men Say will leave listeners having plenty to say about the album.
Trivium’s latest full-length studio recording What The Dead Men Say is some of this band’s best work to date. It is a work whose musical arrangements and its lyrical themes ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end of the 46-minute presentation. As noted here, there is a song whose lyrical theme focuses on unresolved personal matters, a song about the current state of the world, and government overreach (for lack of better wording). The musical arrangements that accompany those themes do their part to heighten the songs’ interest. As if that is not enough, there is also a song that protests war, one that addresses people who are so willing to walk over all others just for the sake of their own personal success and even one about the matter of the R. Kelly case (supposedly). Considering all of this, and the lyrical and musical and lyrical content featured in the record’s other songs not addressed here, the end result is a record that is deserving of its own spot on this year’s list of the top new hard rock and metal albums. More information about What The Dead Men Say is available along with all of Trivium’s latest news and more at:
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