WORDS: Alison Pitcairn
TRIVIUM are a household name in the manor of metal and mixed feelings about the release of Silence in the Snow were prevalent with fans. One of the main reasons was the unveiling of the fact that the album would be home to only clean vocals. Fans are always reluctant to accept changes like this and many used the world of internet to voice these concerns, sometimes even provoking replies from the band members themselves. Silence in the Snow is the first album with new drummer Mat Madira onboard, though it seems the harsh to clean vocals has overshadowed this. This is TRIVIUM‘s 7th release and Michael Baskette was hired to produce it having worked with bands like ALTER BRIDGE and FALLING IN REVERSE. Were fans right to be wary of Silence in the Snow or does the band prove that sometimes change is good?
Opening with Snøfall, an instrumental piece lasting almost a minute and a half that wouldn’t be out of place guiding ballet dancers around the stage somewhere in the West End is both classical and somewhat beautiful. Written by IHSAHN, Snøfall seems completely out of place as although it is clearly a toned down, instrumental version of Silence in the Snow, the next track, it doesn’t lead into it and instead ends abruptly. Before you can sit and ponder why TRIVIUM included this intro that could’ve been part of a musical, Silence in the Snow leaps out from the speakers and truly begins the record.
One of the greatest things about the title track is Matt Heafy‘s toned down, clean vocals. It’s already been made clear that Silence in the Snow would begin a new era for TRIVIUM and would be the end of any harsh vocals from the frontman which many fans were not open to the idea of. At the end of the day, Matt Heafy has an incredible voice and although blowing it out in 2014, he has been working with a vocal coach and it has been certainly a success. Silence in the Snow highlights this better than any other song on the record. Coupled with unusual tonal changes throughout the song, Silence in the Snow is a very strong track and retrospectively a perfect choice for their first single. It’s almost impossible not to sing a long.
Blind Leading the Blind is up next. Released as their second single and debuted before during their live set at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air Festival , it holds the same upbeat tempo as Silence in the Snow and although Heafy‘s voice is strong throughout this track as well, it’s Corey Beaulieu‘s piercing guitar riffs that make the song. They come out at you in a way that just lightly tickles the eardrums. Dead and Gone comes up next and the vocals throughout the verses are rough, almost cringeworthy. The drums are the triumph here as new drummer Mat Madiro shows his strengths which must have been difficult as the vocals are the focal point of the entire album and are the loudest part of all the songs.
Silence in the Snow loses its momentum after the first 3 tracks (bar the intro) which is somewhat disappointing as this strong start leads you to believe it will be a strong album throughout. The next few tracks, The Ghost That’s Haunting You and Pull Me From the Void lack energy. Imagine being in a restaurant and after devouring incredibly tasty starters that make you hungrier and even more excited for the food to come, you have to wait what seems like an eternity for the main course and start to lose your appetite which almost puts you off the main. Until the World Goes Cold is the main course in this scenario, the 3rd single and last single released. It is a heavy track and it is nice to hear a song where the instruments are on par with the vocals. Another strong point of the album is the harmony of Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu‘s guitar playing as it is masterful throughout the whole album.
Overall, Silence in the Snow is a step in the right direction, though most diehard TRIVIUM fans may be disappointed as some of their earlier work, Ascendancy for example, and even In Waves are home to stronger songwriting, it is nice to hear a band supply a fresh sound to their discography all the while maintaining the identity of TRIVIUM. This album may not please all fans but it will definitely gain them some new ones.
Silence in the Snow is out now via Roadrunner Records