There have been many supposed second comings in the metal universe throughout the years, the one that springs to mind with the biggest shoes to fill must be Trivium - The Next Metallica. An impossible title to live up to (and one Metallica themselves are struggling to live up to themselves). After treading water for a few years, Matt Heafy and co saw fit to take a step to progress themselves as individuals and as a band - the result of which is Silence In The Snow, the band's 7th album and the follow up to 2013's Vengeance Falls, another attempt to change their style and progress. That one fell flat on it's face like the Disturbed tribute album it was, but how does this effort hold up?
Now, fans of 2002 era Trivium that haven't yet musically matured may as well stop reading this right now, go lob Tears Don't Fall on and stare that their Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge poster. This isn't the Trivium you loved in high school and from the off you can tell that there's a shift in both direction and intention from their previous LP. Heafy is borderline unrecognisable immediately, his vocals are cleaner, sharper and pretty much just better all round. There's no Dave Draiman style noises as per Vengeance Falls and the angst from albums gone by seems to have dissipated somewhat. It almost feels like the weight of his own expectations has lifted and he's just making music the way he wants to now. The tag Trivium were lumbered with having been shaken maybe?
What for the rest of the band though? Well whilst they seem to be on decent form, there's nothing overly special going on for large parts of the album. The drumming is pretty standard and shouldn't be too hard for recently appointed sticksman Phil Wandtke to pick up. In terms of the guitar work, it feels like there isn't much on here that you couldn't get elsewhere. Some chuggy riffs, some neat hooks. It's all very nicely written and even though I personally prefer it to almost all of their previous output, it still feels a little lacking. I can't quite put my finger on it, it just feels like a bit of a metal-by-numbers album, it's like they're currently stuck part way through a transition from Trivium 1.0 to 2.0.
There are some standout tracks, the previously mentioned title track has a strong chorus and Beneath The Sun is an all round good track along with the closing track The Darkness Of My Mind, a nice little change from the rest of the album. But these standout moments are few and far between on Silence In The Snow, a disappointing turn of events after their well received sets at Download Festival and Bloodstock Open Air over the past couple of years. It's not all bad though, Heafy's vocals are strong throughout and the previously mentioned couple of tracks are strong enough to knock a couple of the more stale songs from their setlists.
The most impressive thing about Silence In The Snow is that after seven albums Trivium are still developing, growing and learning. Granted for the most part it isn't quite there, but there's potential throughout and if they can tap into that, there's a whole generation of metalheads for them to tap into.