Since moving to the UK, Trivium are the band that I’ve seen more times than any other. A grand total of *drum roll* 3. However, each time I saw Trivium, they just kept getting better, as the band kept showing signs of stomping “The Crusade” (2006) back into the filthy hovel from whence it came and really stepping into their own as metal household name (even resurrecting tracks off of debut “Ember To Inferno” (2003). So, having said all of that, you can imagine my disappointment with latest single “Strife” (available with the pre-order of Vengeance Falls…which I didn’t do).
As a Trivium fanboy, I can say that I quite enjoyed initial single, “Brave This Storm“. I felt it missing something vocally, (Matt Heafy’s sandpaper shredding harsh vocals for one thing) but other than that I felt it was a solid track. Now that I’ve heard “Strife” I’m starting to get a little bit worried. Worried that “The Crusade” (2006) may be clawing its way out its dirt encrusted prison and sinking its claws in Vengeance Falls.
Heafy states that he “struggles to find his way” in the lyrics, and “Strife” sums up just that. The intro builds quite well into a great chugging central riff, kind of like if you took “Into The Mouth of Hell We March” (“Shogun”, 2008) and “Black” (“In Waves”, 2011) and blended them into some kind of tasty metal puree. Hells, the drums sound better than they’ve ever sounded, as Nick Augusto has toned down being a bucking bronco and become more of a..um….errr….”tranquil tortoise (?)” (don’t know the opposite of “bucking bronco”, come up with one and post it in the comments section). Of course, the “trademark Trivium super awesome shredding guitar battle/solo-section” is back, and is quite reminiscent of my favourite song “A Gunshot to the Head Of Trepidation” (“Ascendancy“, 2005).
Vocals are where my discrepancies start. The vox on the verse are just…well..weird. Heafy sounds like he’s trying to gain back his harshness whilst suffering from the world’s worst bunged up nose . Other than that, the pre-chorus and hook are actually pretty catchy (damn you catchiness!).
It’s the apparent influence from producer David Draiman that shits on my cereal. Mr. Draiman, you’re a great vocalist/songwriter, but please, stop trying to make other bands sound like Disturbed. Either end the hiatus or go solo like a smart vocalist (Bruce Dickinson, Blaze Bayley, Rob Halford etc.) But don’t go infecting bands with Disturbed’s elements that fit their style about as well as a cobra fits into a mongoose house party (there’s a kids film in there somewhere).
Side-note: Device; it’s essentially “Disturbed-lite.” Take the hint Draiman and take a frontman position back where you belong. I mean for fuck’s sake, it’s essentially “The Sickness” (2000) with a few tweeks.
Overall, I was quite disappointed with “Strife” (I don’t know if you can tell). Mainly because I want to like it, I really did. However, it was those weird verse vocals and the absence of the signature harsh ones that attracted me to Trivium, subsequently making the track flow like a dead-lobster in a tupperware case that wore me down. A shame, as there are moments of greatness. We’ll have to wait for the album before we fully slander David Drai…I mean make a final judgement.
I’m giving “Strife” a:
“Strife” – 2.5/5
Vengeance Falls is out October 15 via Roadrunner