Trivium's arguably most appealing factor has always lied in their ability to create modern metalcore/thrash metal that appeals to both traditional metalheads and younger audiences alike, and with In Waves that still holds just as true. Expect plenty of tasty riffs, aggressive vocals, and fierce solos contained within this rather lengthy album, and even a few (surprisingly impressive) breakdowns added for good measure. The overall level of polish - both in the production and the music alike - may immediately turn off more conservative thrashers, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Trivium know how to create music that is always professional and well-composed, even if a tad overdone. Fans of Trivium will definitely want to check this out, and people who have a moderate interest in metalcore should also further investigate - In Waves is one of the year's most impressive metalcore albums for sure.
People familiar with Trivium shouldn't be in for much of a surprise with In Waves - expect a mix of metalcore and neo-thrash metal in a polished concoction that seldom deviates from conventional songwriting standards. The songs are enjoyable as ever, and some of these riffs are among the best Trivium has ever crafted, but certainly don't expect anything too experimental or original on In Waves. The vocals alternate between Matt Heafy's metalcore-styled shouts and his gruff clean vocal singing. I'm not a fan of all his styles, but there's no doubt that he's a very skillful vocalist. Heafy's vocals are usually the focal point of the compositions, yet the other musicians do all manage to incorporate their own impressive quirks into all of the tracks. The musicianship is simply excellent across the board; it's very rare to come across bands this well-rounded and professional in the metalcore world. The melodic leads, complex drumming, and rock-solid riffs are all a sentiment to Trivium's versatility and craftsmanship as fine-tuned musicians.
The production from famed heavy metal producer Colin Richardson (Fear Factory, Cannibal Corpse, Bullet For My Valentine, Napalm Death, Carcass, etc.) is obviously excellent and well-done. I do find it a bit too over-produced for my liking, but there's no denying the objective quality of the sound. Everything is carefully mixed to a point of perfection, and this sleek sound suits Trivium's modern style like a glove.
If you're going to purchase In Waves, I think it's worth mentioning the differences between the "standard" version and the "special edition". The special edition includes five bonus tracks, including a cover of Sepultura's "Slave New World", and clocks in at over 67 minutes. Without these additional fifteen minutes or so, you're really missing out on the full album that Trivium intended the listener to experience - it is rather disappointing to see a growing trend of albums with two distinct versions, but I would definitely be sure to pick up the special edition given the options.
Even though In Waves does feel a bit generic and "safe" by the genre's standards, there's no doubt that this is a well-made and impressive product from some of the most competent musicians in the biz. 3.5 stars seems very fair in this case. Trivium may not bring anything new to the table here, but I don't think anybody really expected them to. If you're in search of some high-quality, technically outstanding, and just plain fun thrash metal/metalcore, it's difficult to go wrong with In Waves.
1. Capsizing the Sea
2. In Waves
3. Inception of the End
4. Watch the World Burn
5. Dusk Dismantled
7. Built to Fall
8. Caustic are the Ties that Bind
9. A Skyline's Severance
10. Forsake Not the Dream
11. Of All These Yesterdays
12. Chaos Reigns
13. Leaving this World Behind