TRIVIUM – “Deadmen and Dragons” Livestream Event (December 18th, 2021)

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Nothing jump-starts the evolutionary process quite like pure, unabashed necessity, and it would be the understatement of the century to suggest that the events over the past 2 years have altered the way bands reach their audiences. Case and point, metal upstarts turned icons Trivium, whom managed to field a duo of highly impressive studio LPs in the midst of the ongoing Covid lock-downs, and have shown zero signs of slowing down regardless of the highly tentative state of the touring scene. In fact, this quartet’s extensive work in the live streaming medium over the past decade or so has made them quite capable in translating the high energy performances that their concert events have been known to feature into the virtual setting, as their rather impressive rendition of their highly acclaimed 2011 album “In Waves” demonstrated the previous week. That very same combination of explosive impact and militaristic precision would be reprised with a de facto “Part 2” event in “Deadmen And Dragons,” albeit in a format that is a tad closer to a typical one hour set.

True to its predecessor, this event had all of the attributes of a typical live show (save the crowd noise), including the brief and necessarily laconic opening set, courtesy of deathcore trustees and fellow travelers Fit For An Autopsy. By no means slouches at their craft given their extensive discography going back to the beginning of the previous decade, their showing would prove a bit more by-the-numbers compared to their prior sub-20 minute showcase. Much of this lay in the straightforward character of the slower grooving title anthem off of 2015’s “Absolute Hope Absolute Hell” and the djent-happy crusher “Heads Will Hang”, which are nevertheless performed flawlessly and with a particularly avid zeal by helmsman and inhuman shouter Joe Badolato. Then again, another never before played entry off the upcoming “Oh, What The Future Holds” album in “In Shadows” serves to liven things up with a more thrashing and animated approach, allowing guitarists Pat Sheridan and Tim Howley to unload some impressive riff work while Josean Orta makes a formidable ruckus behind the drums.

Photo by Maria Jazel

The main event would naturally prove a less rustic affair, though still possessing that up close and personal setting that one attending a moderate size venue would expect. The nostalgia factor would prove noticeably thick during the documentary-style interview segments that would kick the performance off and function as breaks throughout the set, with Matt Heafy and his three compatriots reminiscing upon the cloud of uncertainty that hung over the entire music world during the opening days of Covid 19, which coincided with the release of 2020’s “What The Dead Men Say.” What would be recounted by each member of the band would prove both informative and heartening, most particularly when the subject of Trivium’s “hangar” practice and performance space was covered and how it would provide the means for the band to continue bringing their hybrid style of thrash and metalcore to the masses absent touring. Indeed, one wouldn’t be far off in inferring that the very theme of this concert was the triumph of artistic ingenuity over adversity, as both of the albums being showcased were released in the midst of a world all but bereft of the traditional means of promotion.

If 2011’s In Waves marked the beginning of Trivium’s current era of greater stylistic nuance and refinement, the dual works of “What The Dead Men Say” and “In The Court Of The Dragon” present it taken to its logical conclusion, and that would be reflected even in the somewhat unconventional manner in which both albums were presented. Though in many ways this hour long foray into recent material would feel a bit closer to a traditional live set list than the previous live stream, the heavy focus upon deep tracks and never-before-heard selections would throw a massive yet welcome curveball into things. There is a notable focus upon frenetic thrashers such as “A Crisis Of Revelation”, “Fall Into Your Hands” and “Like A Sword Over Damocles” off the latest album, which serves to blend well with the similarly fast and flashy character of “What The Dead Men Say” as an entire album, to speak nothing for the incredible display of virtuosic skill put on by each member of the fold, as even bassist Paolo Gregoletto can’t help but get his Cliff Burton on during the opener and first of the three aforementioned songs.

Photo by Maria Jazel

To say that this performance was impressive would be to put it lightly, as one could scarcely believe that four individuals could fill an arrangement so completely. At times it could be argued that Matt Heafy was a part-time front man, as both guitarist Corey Beaulieu and Gregoletto provided almost as much vocal input into the mix. Likewise, the insanely fast and precise drumming of Alex Bent barely registered as the handiwork of a mortal man, though one might expect as much from the guy who handled the kit for such wildly technical and frenzied outfits as Brain Drill and Battlecross. Yet at the end of the day, what truly sells these songs and makes them so conducive to the stage is the delicate balancing act between melodic saccharine and sheer brutality that typifies Trivium’s post-2010 sound, though the elaborate dance of shred going on between Beaulieu and Heafy is far from a non-factor. Whether one fancies the triumphant splendor at warp speed that is “The Ones We Leave Behind” or the nuanced journey through epic semi-balladry “The Shadow Of The Abattoir”, this is a band that practically does it all, and even when doing so for an hour barely manages to break a sweat.

TRIVIUM Set-list:

A Crisis of Revelation (Live Debut) / Fall Into Your Hands (Live Debut) / Amongst the Shadows & the Stones / The Defiant / Sickness Unto You / Bending the Arc to Fear / Like a Sword Over Damocles / The Ones We Leave Behind / No Way Back Just Through (Live Debut) /
The Shadow of the Abattoir (Live Debut)

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