How do you expand on perfection? It sounds like a strange question to ask in an album review, but in a way, it was a problem that Trivium had to face when they first started working on their latest album. Their last album, The Sin And The Sentence was released to rave reviews with some outlets saying the album neared perfection. So where to for Trivium with their new album, What The Dead Men Say? The answer is somehow these guys have found a way to top perfection with perfection.
What Trivium has managed to do here is nothing short of amazing. Somehow they have captured that amazing old school thrash sound of the 1980s but put a modern slant on it. When you listen to this album and hear tracks like “What The Dead Men Say” and “The Ones We Leave Behind” you would swear that you were listening to tracks that Iron Maiden created in their heyday. Yet, somehow here it is – Trivium bringing back the sounds of the past in an amazing way.
The other thing that really hits you with What The Dead Men Say is the vocal work of Matt Heafy. Somehow here he goes above and beyond anything we have ever heard him do before. On tracks like “Catastrophis” we hear him mix gruffness with melody in a way most vocalists can only dream about while “Sickness Unto You” should almost be a how-to guide for any young vocalists out there. Sure the instrumental side of the track helps to keep building but it is also the work of Heafy that helps it reach its epic heights.
As you listen to this album you realise that this is a band that has worked together for so long that they now work in perfect unison with each other. Take “The Defiant” for example. The guitar work of Corey Beaulieu is at times sheer craziness while his brutal vocals also mix well with Heafy to create something magical.
Likewise, the mood and tone of this album changes throughout without jarring. “Amongst The Shadows And The Stones” feels like an in-your-face war anthem while there seems to be a gentle beauty to tracks like “Bending The Arc To Fear” and “Scattering The Ashes.” These tracks show a new-found maturity to Trivium that prove that they are a band that are completely at the top of their game.
There are some that scorn when people talk about Trivium being one of the biggest bands in the world but What The Dead Man Say shows that not only are they one biggest bands in the world, but also one of the most creative. This album takes the old school thrash sound of the past and brings into the present with a band that has the maturity to mix songs about fantasy with deep lyrics about everyday life. A stunning album that once again reminds us just how good these guys can be.