Only a year and a half ago were Trivium riding the critical acclaim of What The Dead Men Say and they’ve already returned for more. Composed at home with touring out of the question, Trivium are back with In The Court Of The Dragon, a record inspired by mythology and that by the band’s account amounts to nothing less than an aggravated assault on the eardrums. Certainly having your freedom restricted and your future thrown in the balance will awaken another level of fury in you, but for a band like Trivium to put out a record with the technical precision and quality of Dead Men then one-up it in such a short span of time speaks volumes to their sonic stature in comparison to their peers in contemporary metal.
General chatter aside, how good is it really on a track-by-track basis? Riding in off the suspenseful intro “X”, the title track kicks things into gear in a blaze of double bass and quintessential Trivium riffery. “Like A Sword Over Damocles” takes these fiery dynamics into even heavier territory and “Feast Of Fire” throws a melodic, commercial element into the mix to keep things accessible. “A Crisis Of Revelation” provides us with a potpourri of harmonic Corey Beaulieu goodness while the medieval odyssey of “The Shadow Of The Abattoir” gives a few subtle tips of the hat to old school metal; conversely “No Way Back Just Through” keeps it all the way current and puts Trivium’s “core” side on full display.
“Fall Into Your Hands” starts in a very Gojira-esque fashion largely thanks to Alex Bent’s intricate drum patterns and opens the floor for Beaulieu to shine once again. “From Dawn To Decadence” is an even fiercer hybrid than “No Way” or “Shadow”, getting fast and thrashy for the pit in the verses and huge and heavy for the rest on the crowd in the choruses. Not shirking away from a strong ending, Trivium pull out all the stops on “The Phalanx”, showing the band in peak creative and technical form and leaving a mighty impression on the way out.
From start to finish, In The Court Of The Dragon is a marathon of skill and ferocity, a shining example of a band striving to constantly better themselves. It’s easy to get lazy when everything’s on the backburner, but making the most of an excess of free time, let alone excelling at whatever it is that you’re doing is a much harder task. That’s what separates Trivium from many of their contemporaries as evidenced by the quality of this record and how quickly it was put together after their last album came out. We probably won’t get their next album in the same amount of time as this one, but we can be assured that whatever we get, whenever we get it will be worth the wait and then some.