Veteran metal act Trivium is a band whose members clearly do not let a lot of grass grow under their feet. A little more than a year after the band released its then most recent album, What The Dead Men Say, the band released another album, this time in the form of In The Court of the Dragon. Its release Oct. 8 came on the heels of an extensive tour with Lamb of God, Megadeth, and Hatebreed, and leading into upcoming shows on Slipknot’s annual Knotfest. One would think that with that tour and everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, the band would not have turned out this impressive record so soon, but somehow it managed to do just that. The album is a strong new return from the band, too. That is evidenced through its musical arrangements and lyrical themes alike. ‘Like a Sword Over Damocles,’ one of the album’s early entries, does well to prove that true. It will be discussed shortly. ‘The Shadow of the Abattior’ is another example of how this record’s musical and lyrical content make the album so interesting. It will be examined a little later. ‘The Phalanx,’ the album’s latest single and its finale, is one more way in which the album’s overall content shows the record’s strength. It will also be examined later. When this song and all of the others featured in this 52-minute record are considered together, they make In The Court of the Dragon one of the best of Trivium’s albums to date.
Trivium’s recently released album, In The Court of the Dragon, is among the best of the band’s records to date. The band’s 10th album, it offers much for audiences to appreciate through its musical and lyrical content alike. ‘Like A Sword Over Damocles,’ one of the album’s early entries, does well in itself to support the noted statement. The five-and-a-half minute song’s musical arrangement is a full-on modern metal opus that will appeal to even the most diehard metal purists. The opening riff and chants conjure thoughts of doom metal before things change and the arrangement turns more decidedly in a radio friendly direction. That is due in part to the melodic hard rock choruses, which are comparable to the choruses from so many Sevendust songs. Yes that’s quite a range, but it is definitely there, at least in the ears and mind of this critic. The whole is a fully immersive composition, complete with raging guitar solo, that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement makes for its own interest.
According to comments from guitarist Corey Beaulieu, the theme here is lifted from the original story of the Sword of Damocles, who traded places with King Donysius II of Syracuse. Damocles learned a valuable lesson about virtue in the end. Beaulieu said of his thought that stemmed from his research into the story, “What happens when the person who’s questioning you has your job and responsibility?” He added that bassist Paolo Gregoletto built on that concept and the pair came up with the final lyrical presentation. The influence of that story is evident throughout the song’s lyrical presentation. Just as interesting is that it is a story that even in this format, will resonate with any listener because such situation rises in the real world daily. Keeping that in mind, the lyrical theme and musical arrangement together make clear why ‘Like A Sword Over Damocles’ is a strong example of the power of this album’s overall content. It is just one of the ways in which the album’s strength is displayed. ‘The Shadow of the Abattoir’ does its own share to show why this album shines.
‘The Shadow of the Abattoir’ is, while not the album’s longest song, one of its longest. It clocks in at seven minutes, 12 seconds. Over the course of that time, the song takes listeners in a range of directions, opening with a classic metal style sound in its contemplative approach. Front man Matt Heafy’s vocal delivery is one of the most interesting points of the song’s musical arrangement. That is because the richness and bass in his voice sits somewhere between Metallica front man James Hetfield and Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. Again, yes, it sounds like quite the range, but it is there, and it makes for reason enough to hear this song, too. When this is all considered against the song’s more fiery verses, the contrast between verse and chorus makes the song even more interesting in its musical side. It is just part of what makes the song stand out. The song’s lyrical content adds to the song’s interest, too.
It should be noted at this point that the band openly stated that the album’s lyrical content is based on mythologies that its members developed due to their own interest in literary mythology. That aside, the songs still manage to relate to audiences. This song’s lyrical content continues to prove that in its chorus as Heafy sings, “Don’t go searching for the battle/You won’t find any beasts to slay/You’ll rip yourself to pieces/You’ll drive yourself insane/In the shadow of the abattoir.” An abattoir being a slaughterhouse, one cannot help but wonder which myth led to this kind of content. That aside, the very message still connects with listeners. In this case, the message comes across as being that of not going to look for trouble, because when you go looking for it, you will find it, just not in the way you might think. You might find your own trouble in yourself. The verses seem to build on that message as each finds the subjects in bad situations because they apparently went looking for those situations so to speak. From the snow covering a path in the song’s lead verse, to people apparently succumbing to the sun and its heat in the song’s second verse, to a ship singing after going through dark waters in the third verse, these are all situations in which people found themselves in trouble because they put themselves in such situations. This is all just this critic’s interpretation. Hopefully it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark. If so, then it further shows why the album’s overall content makes the record so worth hearing. It is hardly the last of the record’s most notable songs, too. ‘The Phalanx,’ which closes out the album, is one more way in which the record’s musical and lyrical content combines to show the LP’s strength.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘The Phalanx’ opens in a decidedly almost orchestral metal fashion before soon transitioning into a more pure metal approach. The seven minute, 16 second’s opening movement lends itself to comparisons to works from Megadeth and Avenged Sevenfold what with the guitars and vocal delivery style and sound. As the song progresses, it eventually returns to the more symphonic metal style approach and sound used in the arrangement’s opening bars, leading to something of an ABA pattern here. The whole of the composition is a powerful presentation that will engage and entertain audiences easily in its own right. When it is considered along with the song’s lyrical content, the whole becomes even more powerful.
In the case of this song’s lyrical theme, it comes across as a story of a man who sees the fallacy of war. It would be interesting to know what myth the band came up with for this story and from what myth the band got its inspiration for the song. Regardless, the way in which the song’s subject makes his revelation clear is moving. Considering the mood that the song’s arrangement sets, that revelation gains even more power. The combination makes the song stand out that much more as a key example of how much this album has to offer audiences. When this song and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole shows that much more why In The Court of the Dragon successful. All in all the album proves to be, again, one of the band’s best records to date.
Trivium’s recently released 10th album, In The Court of the Dragon is among the best of the band’s albums to date. Its strength comes through its musical and lyrical content alike. That is proven through all three of the songs examined here, one of which is among the album’s current singles. When it is considered along with the album’s other singles, the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes the album one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.
In The Court of the Dragon is available now through Roadrunner Records. More information about Trivium’s new single, video and tour schedule is available along with all of Trivium’s latest news and more at: