Another year passes and another packed schedule of concerts is about to commence. First trip of the year is to see Trivium. The Florida metal act have steadily been on the rise with plenty of credit given for their mixing of genres plus an ear for melody and sheer brutality.
Two critically-acclaimed albums have been released over the last few years in What The Dead Men Say and In The Court Of The Dragon which the band are here at the O2 Victoria Warehouse to promote after having to reschedule due to COVID-19.
Unfortunately due to train/tram delays, first band Malevolence was missed for the most part but they must be recommended as albums Malicious Intent and Self Supremacy are awesome and feature regularly on rotated playlists.
Heaven Shall Burn are next up on the stage and the German act get the crowd warmed up. An act that have been round since 1995 and considered an influence by the headline act, it’s a setlist that encompasses a little bit of everything while showcasing their latest release Of Truth And Sacrifice from 2020.
From the get-go the pace never lets up with crushing riff after riff hitting the audience. The band are very animated on stage with the guitarists covering every inch while the vocalist screams and howls to every corner of the listening audience.
It is a tough crowd to play to and while calls for circle pits and carnage don’t quite hit with the anticipated reaction, the masses eventually warm to the group and give into the madness.
While the performance is to be enjoyed, it was very one-speed and extreme metal can appeal to acquired tastes for those not in the know. Sound issues and what seemed like a visibility issue stemming from the lights persisted through the performance.
Above all else though, this was an enjoyable performance that brought the room to fever pitch ready for the main show.
When the lights go out and ‘Run To The Hills’ starts blaring out over the PA, you know it’s about to hit the fan as the Iron Maiden anthem primes everyone for chaos. Under the watch of two bronze, red eyed snakes: The opening salvo of ‘Rain’ and ‘Like Light to the Flies’ set the tone for the evening with bodies flying everywhere and circle pits opening up all over.
This is a serious rowdy crowd who are happy enough to throw their arms around as much as they are to sing as loud as the PA cranking the band.
‘Betrayer’, ‘Throes of Perdition’ and ‘Like a Sword Over Damocles’ continue the pace and it’s in these moments you have to appreciate the collective talent on stage. Drummer Alex Bent produces such complex drum rhythms on songs like ‘Betrayer’ that you have to wonder where his hidden limbs exist in order to manage it.
Guitarist Cory Beaulieu not only has the job of trading virtuoso lead guitar parts with Vocalist Matt Heafy but also holds his own with plenty of unclean vocals alongside the main parts.
The band revel in all that goes on around them. With a stage presence that’s equal parts tough guy dojo master, equal parts goof, the shared collective energy in the room is infectious and vast in its scope. There’s no greater joy than watching bodies go over the barrier and then getting swallowed up in walls of death.
I should also note that I’ve never seen a concert get stopped so many times like I did on that night. At least three occasions the show was stopped mid-song to attend to medical emergencies that had happened. Fortunately everyone taken out had made full recoveries so props to the band for being on top of it and looking out for their fans (it was later announced by Matty Heafy that was the best UK crowd they had ever played to ever, I’m sure it was because of the rowdiness).
One of the biggest merits of Trivium’s career is how they have been able to shit through so many stylistic changes through the years and yet still not feel like they’ve lost their identity. Whether it’s the thrash metal ‘To The Rats’, the metalcore/radio-straddling ‘Strife’ or the Gojira-baiting ‘What The Dead Men Say’, this is a good capsule of everything the band have recorded so far.
‘Shogun’ is the emotional climax of the evening with a progressively twisted journey of 11 minutes puts the audience through the ringer. ‘In Waves’ sends everybody flying through the roof with the audience treating the floor like a bouncy castle while propelled by the anthemic screams. ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr’ brings one last push before the lights go out and it’s time to go.
With a career-spanning set in the bag, a sold out UK tour and a fearlessness not common, Trivium will only continue to get bigger. It won’t be long until they have their place in arena alongside the Iron Maidens of this world.