Trivium have never sounded better. On the Orlando, Florida metalcore act’s newly released 9th album What The Dead Men Say, the band consisting of vocalist and guitarist Matt Heafy, guitarist Corey Beaulieu, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and drummer Alex Bent have created one of their best albums to date. Layered with great riffs and clean lyrical hooks, What The Dead Men Say is a terrific record from start to finish, and with that, here is a track-by-track review of Trivium’s What The Dead Men Say.
Track 1 – “IX”
“IX” is a beautiful starting point to this album. Acting as an instrumental intro track, the flowing guitar play eventually explodes into a glorious solo. “IX” serves two purposes of teasing the terrific riffs ahead on What The Dead Men Say while also advertising the sonic pummelling coming up on the next track. It’s a great way to prime the listener into what will soon become instrumental mayhem incarnate on the LP, and one that builds anticipation for the inevitable drop. “IX” definitely helps What The Dead Men Say get off to a good start.
Track 2 – “What The Dead Men Say”
Continuing where “IX” left off, “What The Dead Men Say” begins with some blistering guitar work before breaking away into Heafy’s wonderful clean singing vocals. Everything clicks here: the instrumentals here are downright epic, building up before Heafy blows everyone away with a catchy chorus line hook. Love it.
Track 3 – “Catastrophist”
“Catastrophist” was the lead single off of What The Dead Men Say, and it’s easy to understand why. In terms of vocals, “Catastrophist” is the most anthemic song on the album (afterall, who doesn’t love to yell: “You’re a catastrophe!”) and contains the best lyrical hook. However, don’t discount the rest of the band here. The guitar riffs hit incredibly hard, especially in the mid-song guitar solo, breakdowns, and transitional bridges which further elevate this terrific track. Heafy may be shouting about catastrophe, but “Catastrophist” is a belter through and through.
Track 4 – “Amongst The Shadows & The Stones”
“Amongst The Shadows & The Stones” finds Trivium back in their comfort zone, and that’s fine by me. After the wonderful “What The Dead Men Say” and “Catastrophist”, “Amongst The Shadows & The Stones” sees Trivium go heavy on screams and wailing guitars, and it’s awesome. One standout aspect of this track though is the bouncing guitar riff that comes in and out. I just can’t get enough of it.
Track 5 – “Bleed Into Me”
“Bleed Into Me” dials the intensity back a bit. Compared to all the previous tracks, “Bleed Into Me” is closer to a ballad than a rager. Heafy croons with clean vocals and the guitars and drums emphasize his every syllable. It’s overall a solid track though it’s not my favorite on What The Dead Men Say by a longshot. While I understand that a ballady track keeps the album from becoming repetitive, the previous tracks galloped whereas “Bleed Into Me” is content to briskly jog. It’s fine but not mind blowing.
Track 6 – “The Defiant”
Now here is the stuff I love! Right from the get go, “The Defiant” opens on a power metal riff reminiscent of a Blind Guardian or Judas Priest track before clearing way for Heafy to knock the house down with his vocals. Heafy is really good, but make no mistake, the instrumentals are the star here. The more fantastical power metal style offers a nice change of pace from what we’ve heard from this album prior, helping pace the album well while also maintaining high quality. I dare you to not get inspired by “The Defiant”.
Track 7 – “Sickness Unto You”
“Sickness Unto You” mixes up the tempo. While the song opens on a more melodic note, “Sickness Unto You” eventually gathers steam and ups the intensity. Admittedly it’s one of my least favorite tracks on What The Dead Man Say, but it still contains merit, especially considering how killer the guitar solo is.
Track 8 – “Scattering The Ashes”
“Scattering The Ashes” is the Matt Heafy show. Even though the instrumentals (especially a groovy bass line!) are exceptional, Heafy’s vocal delivery is on another level on “Scattering The Ashes”. Aboved layered fret work, Heafy’s harmonious vocals soar on this track, and it’s difficult to refrain from singing along. Good stuff here.
Track 9 – “Bending The Arc To Fear”
“Bending The Arc To Fear” is the very definition of heaviness. After some strong opening guitar riffs, the instrumentals quicken in pace and maintain speed throughout the whole song. While there are moments where the guitars and drums stop and let Heafy take center stage, the instrumentals always come roaring back. “Bending The Arc To Fear” is ferocious to its very core.
Track 10 – “The Ones We Leave Behind”
“The Ones We Leave Behind” takes everything I enjoyed about What The Dead Men Say and dials it up to 11. Fast sweeping guitar riffs? Check. Pounding drums? Check. Clear yet intense vocals? Definite check. Hell, even some of the power metal riffs that I enjoyed on “The Defiant” return here! With “The Ones We Leave Behind”, Trivium delivered a great culmination of what can be heard on What The Dead Men Say and do so with gusto. Simply put, it was a great way to end a pretty damn great metal album.
Trivium’s What The Dead Men Say is a terrific metalcore record. Despite how the sub genre is past its heyday, What The Dead Men Say feels fresh and vibrant. Even with a couple average songs, the highs on What The Dead Men Say are more than worth repeat listens. Overall, it’s a damn good record with terrific vocal delivery and great instrumentals. In other words: What The Dead Men Say speaks volumes.