Never a band to rest on their laurels, Trivium have continued to tinker with their formula, from thrashy beginnings to recent explorations of a more traditional heavy metal sound. Now seven albums deep into a career filled with some incredible highs and jarring lows, the Floridian metal stalwarts have decided to take a turn for the retrospective, with a rerelease of their overlooked debut, ‘Ember To Inferno’.
While in 2016 many of the elements that make up this record now feel somewhat antiquated and hackneyed, in parts it is quite clear that this very young band were laying the foundations for something great. This is particularly apparent on penultimate epic ‘When All Light Dies’ and the album’s title track: strong hooks are fairly sparse on ‘Ember To Inferno’, but on both accounts Matt Heafy manages to deliver melodies more akin to the band’s magnum opus, Ascendancy.
However, despite these occasional glimmers of excellence, the album often suffers from sticking too rigidly to a formula of fast thrashy riffs and monotonous screaming, while elsewhere the three acoustic/orchestral tracks have aged terribly.
‘Ab Initio’ also contains the band’s pre-‘Ember To Inferno’ demo material, making this what must surely be the record’s definitive edition. However, while it will likely interest diehards, this material is unlikely to be worth shelling out for alone, especially since the remaster of the album itself has been available for over ten years.
‘Ember to Inferno’ itself does at times paint Trivium as a slightly immature and unrefined proposition, but it can’t be denied that for such a young band this was a sterling effort. For those initiated post-‘Ascendancy’, this might be too much of a step down in terms of quality, but for those who want to know every facet of the band’s history, ‘Ab Initio’ is the best way to do so.
‘Ember To Inferno: Ab Initio’ by Trivium is released on December 2nd on Cooking Vinyl.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh_)