Having been together for more 20 years now, it’s easy to forget that when Trivium first started life, frontman Matt Heafy was just 13 years. Now 35, The liberation of tene The feature film In The Court Of The Dragon seems like the perfect opportunity for Matt to relive the history of Florida metal icons in ten songs – retracing their rise from schoolchildren spanning Metallica in a Battle Of The Bands competition to the metal titans they are today.
1. Trivium – Ma haine (Ember To Inferno, 2003)
Intense battle anthem and emotional upheaval, this song captures the essence of Trivium’s early days.
“It’s the oldest song on the record. I remember my history teacher telling me in college, when we were supposed to hand in the Battle Of The Bands setlist, ‘Do you think they’ll agree with you to play a song called My Hatred? In this climate? But it’s always this climate. Anyway, I joined Trivium at 13 through a test song: For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica. Our original singer wanted Trivium to be an industrial band like Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Rammstein, but we wanted to be a metal band. So he said, ‘Let’s split the songs in half, you keep the name of the band, ”and he’s gone. This song was the first time that I was able to truly show who I am as a songwriter.
2. Trivium – Like light to flies (Ascendancy, 2005)
Would Trivium still be here today without this song? Probably not…
“It’s basically the song that changed our lives. When we did the blue demo [2003’s Caeruleus], we had the same webmaster, to use the old term, as In Flames. He passed the Blue Demo in Jesper [Strömblad] In Flames – In Flames was basically one of the reasons we existed – who wielded the Blue Demo with the horns in a photo. This got us to sign Lifeforce Records. Then Roadrunner Records contacted us through my father, who was then the band’s manager. Monte Conner [Roadrunner’s former A&R/vice president] noted, ‘You are not there yet, but I am very curious to see where you are going in the future. And my dad, who is a very wise person, said, ‘It’s a sign. We’re not going to wait for that next record, we’re going to do it right away. ‘ So we went into the studio and I wrote Like Light To The Flies, The Deceived and Blinding Tears Will Break The Skies. We passed this three song demo to Roadrunner with a video for that song because we thought it was the best of the three, and Monte Conner said: ‘I want to sign you right away! So my dad was absolutely right to take this financial bet – I guess it was college fund money or something! But that’s the song that got us to sign on Roadrunner and we’re still on Roadrunner to this day.
3. Trivium – Becoming the Dragon (The Crusade, 2006)
Arguably the centerpiece of The Crusade was Trivium’s way of giving the middle finger to all their opponents.
“With the exception of the UK on the Ascendancy record, we weren’t really in the magazines, we didn’t get any awards, we were never really the hype band. But the UK was absolutely lover with us. I looked around the world and saw bands that were like, ‘Who the hell are these young kids who say they’re going to take over the world? Why do they think they can do this? ‘ and people say, ‘This is not a metal band! And there is me who thinks ‘I grew up in metal! I just like to do it differently. I like to dress differently. I don’t want to look what I’m supposed to look like. So I made the conscious decision to make sure the next album had none of the elements of Ascendency – no breakdowns, no screams, no double bass. It’s going to be a classic thrash record to show those people who don’t think we’re metal we’re metal. Whether they liked, liked or hated the rest of the record, everyone thought it was a good song. It’s also one of the most successful videos we’ve made – ironically against Anthem (We Are The Fire). Anthem was insanely expensive, we used one of the Offspring‘s videographers, it took as 36 straight hours to shoot and cost several hundred thousand dollars. And becoming the dragon was, I think, about $3,000 and filmed in a guy’s garage with blankets on the walls.
4. Trivium – Shogun (Shogun, 2008)
Five seconds before 12 minutes, this is one of the longest songs Trivium has ever made – and perfectly demonstrates how they put no constraints on their music.
“This track arrives at approximately 12 minutes and is both a fan favorite and one of my personal favorites. Although Trivium is a very collaborative effort these days, it’s the song I’m most proud of and basically wrote entirely. This is where I adopted that style of storytelling that I see today in In The Court Of The Dragon and A Crisis Of Revelation – stories that like Paolo [Gregoletto, bass/backing vocals] quoted to me, do we write our own mythologies.
5. Trivium – In the Waves (In the Waves, 2011)
An intensely dark version of the band, with a video inspired by… Deliverance?
“When Paolo first wrote the demo for this song, he really wrote it as a joke, because this weird song about Colonel Sanders from KFC. But he played me that thing and I was like, ‘It’s incredible!’ We took this trip to Bell, Florida which looks like Deliverance / The Walking Dead. People don’t know how scary Florida is. You think of the Slipknot Iowa record and it’s like, ‘Okay, it’s scary, Iowa is a scary place ”, but Florida is really scary too. So we went to Bell, Florida, and I was the most ethnic thing they had ever seen. We’re in this little canoe and the engine broke, so we had to get to this weird boat service station, and the surroundings were just this really scary forest. In Waves delves into the woods, and when you think of a lot of the horror movies we love, or those cool mythologies, a lot of them are in the woods. The black metal logos still look like wood, and we started digging into the visuals and thinking about them as much as the music.
6. Trivium – Conflict (Vengeance Falls, 2013)
The group’s first major success in the United States, Strife was the product of an organic writing process.
“This album was where America finally started paying attention – because of this song. We took a bold, daring decision that scared people off when we worked with Disturbed’s David Draiman. We lived in his house for about six weeks in Austin, Texas, and it was an amazing time. We ate a lot, we worked a lot, we hung out a lot, we watched a lot UFC in his theater and we recorded a record. Corey [Beaulieu, guitar] in fact, he wrote the very catchy chorus vocal melody as a guitar part, and David was like, ‘This is the vocal part! ‘ and that’s how this song was made.
7. Trivium – Until the World Cools Down (Silence In The Snow, 2015)
Weird and disturbing, this track saw Trivium reinvent itself because Matt couldn’t scream.
“I feel like we imposed constraints on ourselves with Shogun, In Waves and Vengeance Falls, but with Silence In The Snow, there was a natural constraint built in because I had just breathed my voice into 2014. I thought I would never sing or scream again. We determined that I had sung and screamed badly my entire career, so I had to relearn everything. I had a few months to relearn it when it was time to make another record. This song was our first Top ten single in the United States and I remember the producer who made that record said it would never be a single. We said we wanted to shoot for this and we were right. Sometimes it’s just right to go with your instincts against the experts.
8. Trivium – Sin and the sentence (Sin and the sentence, 2017)
A return to the carefree attitude that defined their first songs, this is Trivium in its most unbridled and unfiltered form.
“For a long time, I have been riding this wave and I didn’t think about it as much as doing it. And I backed up and looked and wondered, ‘What have we done different on Ascendency? And we were in a room together and I was singing and screaming and writing this stuff off the cuff and I did exactly what we wanted to hear as music fans. We didn’t care what people thought. Because on Crusade, I cared – these people said I didn’t look or sound like metal, so I was like, ‘I’ll show them that I know metal better than they do. So with this album we came back to the free space to make the music we wanted to hear, bringing the innocence of this local band back into our mindset where we weren’t doing it for anyone other than ourselves. It’s Trivium on All Cylinders – the record that really sums up albums one through seven all in one. These are the best ingredients of all.
9. Trivium – What the Dead Men Say (What the Dead Men Say, 2020)
With Matt able to scream again, the title track of their ninth album mixed crisp riffs and harsh vocals, but with an underlying stream of vulnerability.
“The world seemed about to stop and we were told, ‘We don’t think you should publish it because you’re not going to sell anything. We said it, ‘We don’t care, we want to give this out to people, let’s make this record, let’s release this stuff for free – we don’t care! ‘ It’s a song that I can really see ingredients from Ember to Shogun on – I can see where black metal can finally rear its ugly head in our band and make a little more sense.
10. Trivium – In the Dragon’s Court (In the Dragon’s Court, 2021)
Bold and vicious at the same time, this song shows how Trivium has lost none of its bite over the years.
“It’s me speaking very constructively and critically – it’s me as Matt outside of Matt from Trivium – but it’s rare that on the tenth record in a band’s catalog, people say: ‘They just did their best song. Usually their best thing is the third, second disc, ten Where 20 years ago, but this song was advertised like this. This album, we went into the same process where we wanted to make the kind of music that we want to hear, that we feel the world is missing. We introduced ourselves to the incredibly prepared jams, but it was not carefully calculated. The chorus of this song is the very first word I ever sang out loud out of nowhere without preparation. He just went out.
In The Court Of The Dragon is out now via Roadrunner.
Posted on October 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.