Following up on the divisive collaboration with Disturbed’s David Draiman and the departure of their drummer, Nick Augusto, Trivium have obviously put some thought into establishing a sound that combines their varied back-catalogue into something holistic and recognisable. Silence In The Snow showcases this by being the Trivium record with the most definite identity since Shogun. Replete with memorable riffs, Matt Heafy’s strongest vocals since Ascendancy, and their signature melodic leads and harmonies, this new effort looks to be setting the band back on track after a few years of uncertainty.
The first thing to note is that the seven-string guitars are back, bringing with them hints of Shogun and The Crusade, as well as influence from other branches of heavy metal. “Dead And Gone” features a very low-register riff which echoes the groove and power of Meshuggah first and foremost, but contains ample melody and a scorching solo section. “The Ghost That’s Haunting You” contains vocal phrasing and backing harmonies telling of some Dream Theater influence, while “Blind Leading The Blind” is so deliberately The Crusade-era Trivium that it carries all the resultant Metallica nostalgia. “The Thing That’s Killing Me” even contains a little punk nod in the chorus drums and guitars. The album’s closer, “Breathe In The Flames”, sports a blackened opening riff and one of the most compelling choruses Trivium have ever written. Long may these trends continue.
The other notable element is new drummer Mat Madiro, who subtly but deliberately makes his mark on his debut album with the band. Gone is Smith’s rigidity and Augusto’s freneticism, replaced by a solid presence with ample flair for the position. In fact, the only element of Silence In The Snow that should give us pause is the terribly overblown accompanying visual art style that the band began tinkering with on In Waves. Despite Heafy’s claims of inspiration from the likes of Lars von Trier and other accomplished filmmakers, this album’s horned skull-mask motif, featuring prominently in the album’s music videos and its sleeve artwork, lends very little to the effort other than puzzling pretension.
The result of this coming-together of all of Trivium’s influences, classic and contemporary, is a sound that has finally coalesced into something vital and confident. Add to this the band’s signature modern production and unerring ability to record some of the best rhythm guitar tones in the business, and we have a Trivium album that should be remembered as a career landmark.