Orlando, Florida’s Trivium are among the most provocative, restless, and influential bands to emerge from the American South’s heavy metal explosion in the early 21st century. Beginning as a metalcore outfit, they have relentlessly combined and crossed styles including thrash, prog, technical, and melodic death metal, as well as alternative and groove metal. Trivium came by their global success the old-fashioned way: touring. Since issuing their first demo in 2000, they have been road warriors. They established themselves first in the South, and then across North America before conquering festival stages in Europe and Asia supporting their sophomore long-player Ascendancy in 2005. 2008′s Shogun showcased epic storytelling abilities as well as a love for innovative riffs. Its compositional tenets and love for narrative storytelling influenced each subsequent release, beginning with 2011′s In Waves. 2017′s The Sin and the Sentence used them inside an extreme metal setting and became one of their most acclaimed albums, selling better in Europe than it did in the States. 2020′s What the Dead Men Say fully integrated all their musical tenets. 2021′s In the Court of the Dragon was written and recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hailing from central Florida, Trivium formed in 1999 and quickly built a buzz around Orlando’s metal community with their blend of metalcore, thrash, and progressive metal. Having secured a contract with the German Lifeforce imprint, the band issued its debut album, Ember to Inferno, in October 2003 with a lineup that included vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy, drummer Travis Smith, and bassist Brent Young. The debut was well-received and Trivium signed with Roadrunner Records for their next effort. Ascendancy appeared in March 2005, at which point the band’s roster had shifted to include Heafy, Smith, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and guitarist Corey Beaulieu. The album was reissued in May of the following year with four additional tracks and a bonus DVD. Trivium then visited the U.K. in June for the 2006 Download Festival, followed by multiple European headlining gigs and a stint with America’s traveling metal/hardcore fest Sounds of the Underground. The tour saw them playing alongside other heavy-hitting bands like As I Lay Dying, GWAR, Cannibal Corpse, and Terror.
Crusade appeared that fall, featuring a newfound emphasis on singing (previously, vocalist Heafy had relied on screams and throaty growls). Despite the band’s active defense of Heafy’s vocal approach, Trivium received much criticism for their shift in sound; accordingly, they wasted no time in returning to a scream-filled thrash style with 2008′s Shogun. In 2010, Trivium announced drummer Nick Augusto would be replacing the departing Smith. Later that year, the band went into the studio to begin work on their fifth studio album, In Waves, which was released in the summer of 2011 and saw the group bring a bold new approach and maturity to its songwriting. However, feeling that the album’s gestation process had been overlong and that they had produced too much material, they decided to focus on quality rather than quantity in the on-the-road writing sessions for their next record. The band tapped Disturbed’s David Draiman to produce, and the metal veteran took a real hands-on approach, bringing a newfound sense of melody to Trivium’s sound. The finished album, Vengeance Falls, was released in October of 2013; it received enthusiastic reviews from critics and charted well in the United States, the U.K., Japan, and Europe.
Trivium underwent yet another personnel change when they parted company with drummer Augusto in May of 2014. He was replaced by drum tech Matt Madiro. Late in the year, Trivium entered the studio with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette and mixing engineer Josh Wilbur to begin work on the band’s seventh album. The title track, “Silence in the Snow,” was issued as a video single in July of 2015, and the album followed on Roadrunner in early October. Silence in the Snow was their first full-length to land on the Active Rock Top Ten and secured them headliner status for the European festivals Summerbreeze and Bloodstock. After the release of the album, Madiro left the band and was succeeded by Paul Wandtke, who lasted less than a year before being replaced by Alex Bent. In late 2016, Trivium partnered with Cooking Vinyl to re-release Ember to Inferno in several variations. The two deluxe editions contained the band’s earliest demos, including “Ruber” (aka the Red Demo), “Caeruleus” (aka the Blue Demo), and “Flavus” (aka the Yellow Demo), all recorded when Heafy was between 16 and 17 years old. Late 2017 saw the release of the band’s eighth studio long-player, The Sin and the Sentence, which was produced by Josh Wilbur and released on Roadrunner. The set peaked at number 23 on the Top 200, and landed in the top spot on the Hard Rock Albums chart. After extensive touring and a well-deserved break, the band re-entered the studio with Wilbur in late 2019. In February of the following year, Trivium’s members began adding cryptic messages to their social media accounts to attract interest for their upcoming album. They further teased its release with two songs — “IX” and “Scattering the Ashes” — added to the “Spawn” trailer for the Mortal Kombat video game in March.
Trivium delivered their ninth full-length, What the Dead Men Say, in April. Original bassist Brent Young died on September 25, 2020; he was 37 years old. Sidelined by the global quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Trivium wrote and recorded the Wilbur-produced In the Court of the Dragon while in isolation; it was released in October 2021. ~ Johnny Loftus