Metal tyros steal great riffs; sadly make words audible


Linkin Park oughta shut up and take whatever deal their label wants to give ’em, because nü-metal’s deader than conscious hip-hop. The New Old Metal, almost atavistic in the traditionalism of its riffage, is what’s blowing out teenaged eardrums in ’05, and that’s a good thing. Innovation isn’t a goal, or a virtue, in itself. Craft—doing something well, the way it’s always been done—is more than enough. Trivium know this, and consequently steal their best riffs from European death metal. Unfortunately, they steal from other, poorer sources too. They’re a young band, after all, existing in the context of post-mathcore, post-emo metal, so it’s unsurprising, if disappointing, that their vocalist works a typical, Atreyu-like raw-throat bellow (backed by emotionally overwrought, though clean, choruses) instead of going for the much more effective post-hardcore howl of early-’90s Florida death metal bands. He’s gotta make himself understood, I guess; Trivium are on Roadrunner, after all, not Relapse. The absolute best thing about Ascendancy is the drums. They’re crisp and full at the same time, and through speakers they sound like avalanches in hell. Through iPod headphones, the effect dissipates somewhat. But this is an album for bedroom blasting, not sidewalk/subway isolation.