When the fabulous Trivium finished their blockbusting world tour early last year, they announced that they were to retreat to the studio for the rest of 2010 to complete the writing and to record their fifth album. Now, almost a year later, the band have spoken about what we can expect.
In an interview with Guitarworld.com earlier this month, frontman and guitarist Matt Heafy revealed that the band will 'forego the complex epic compositions, tricked-out leads and seven-string guitars that characterized the last two albums and take an approach similar to that of second album, 2005's Ascendancy, by using uncluttered riffs, drop-D tuning and more straightforward solos.'
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Trivium began writing the as yet untitled new album in late 2008 and composed more than 30 songs whilst on the road in 2009. After the world tour founding drummer Travis Smith was replaced with Nick Augusto.
The band fine-tuned 17 of the new songs and demoed the album in late July and August. They started recording it on September 27 at Audio Hammer Studios in Sanford, Florida with producer Colin Richardson.
Matt spoke about the new album in the Guitarworld.com interview. "When we did Ascendancy, we were writing specifically for the songs, not to show how well we could play. That wasn't exactly the case with our next two records."
Official video for 'Shattering The Skies Above', from God Of War 3 soundtrack, February 2010.
It's now 18 months into the process and Matt is as excited as when he wrote the album's first riffs.
"The record will feature some of our most minimalistic and most brutal moments," he says. "It's gonna go way beyond what people think metal is or can be."
And Matt's co-guitarist Corey Beaulieu added; "We're making sure every part in every song needs to be there and is super-catchy and doesn't go over people's heads."
And Corey also commented on the band's new drummer.
"Nick likes extreme drumming and can do a lot of double bass," Corey said. "Combining our style of riffs with his playing gives the songs a new energy and heaviness."
And in another interview with MusicReview, Matt said that "this next album will definitely be its own thing" and that "it won't be carrying the mythological feel of Shogun."
"It's tricky to describe. We want it to be that this next album just sounds like Trivium. We may have – probably have – said that every record's goal is that, and it has been, but this time it's without question. There have always been experimental songs, since Ascendancy, on our albums, and this time the CD will only have what it is meant to have.
"Unfortunately, as of right now, there doesn't seem to be an instrumental song that will be on the album. However, there will be songs that do things we have never had as a song formula before."
Corey also revealed to MetalTalk.net that the album "will be out sometime this summer" and that the band's 2011 touring plans would not include any UK summer festivals this time around;
"Hopefully the record is out sometime this summer... We are doing an Australian tour in April then start touring for the album in July. Summer festivals - we are only doing Wacken."
Matt was earlier asked, in the MusicReview interview, "which places you haven't toured, which you'd love to visit in 2011?"
Matt replied: "There are so many places in the world that we've never been to, and a goal of our band is to be able to hang with Trivium friends everywhere in the world at anytime, so we will bust our butts to make that happen as soon as we can.
The new Trivium albuim is my personal tip to be 2011's blockbusting Metal album and I really cannot wait to see the band back on stage again.
Joining Trivium on the Wacken bill will be, amongst many others, Iced Earth. Iced Earth are a band that have impressed me for many years now and it's been a long, slow climb to the top for them but with true Metal spirit, they never wavered and eventually got their just rewards.
So I was pretty surprised when Jon Schaffer announced a self-fronted offshoot project called The Sons Of Liberty last year and even more surprised when I got to hear it. It's definitely got shades of Iced Earth in it but it stands up on it's own as a real classic.
It is very politically motivated and thought provoking and deserves a listen and the great news is that you can do so right now at the band's official site by clicking here.
Jon believes in this project and its message so much that he is giving the album away for free. Have a watch of this video to learn more.
Jon announced the new project/solo album, Sons of Liberty, on the Alex Jones show.
Iced Earth are a truly iconic Metal band and I have a big respect for Jon Schaffer and the way he has achieved what he has done with Iced Earth and Sons Of Liberty adds to his repertoire. Whether it overtakes Iced Earth as his main project remains to be seen.
Another band on the bill at Wacken this year is the mighty Judas Priest who are heading out on the highway for the very last time in their astonishing career.
The Priest have decided to call it quits after almost 40 years defending the faith and they will be badly missed. The last album 'Nostradamus' was a true classic, very different to everything they have ever done before but still containing the Priest hallmarks that made them a mainstay of British Metal for so very long.
So as the rumours that Iron Maiden's 2011 UK Tour will be their last ever grow stronger, I am backing Tank to take over the mantle as the UK's leading Metal band from the established crop.
You should know all about the magnificent 'War Machine' album by now and I maintain that this was the best album of 2010. And the band will be carrying this success into 2011 and beyond...
So there's my picks for this year, one that should prove to be another astronomical year for Metal.