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When it comes to things like gear, from chatting with Matt and Corey I can tell you they're real sticklers for the details. Matt has gone through a lot of guitars looking for what's perfect for him but has ended up back with the Gibson family where he started, now having a very unique signature Epiphone Les Paul (in 6 and 7-string versions) based loosely on his old Gibson guitar but with tweaks like improved upper fret access and hardware.
Spurred by reader requests, we'd been tracking US metallers Trivium for some time. Finally Levi Clay met up with singer/guitarist Matt Heafy and lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu for our exclusive interview.
Few bands ever manage to live up to the hype put on them by the music press, and the title of “the next Metallica” is a tough one to live up to, but Trivium have stepped up to the plate time and time again.
Formed in Florida back in 2000, things got serious quickly due to the popularity of the young Matt Heafy on guitar and vocals. Their sound was a refreshing blend of metalcore, thrash and melodic death (hence the name Trivium, meaning three key subjects), and after the release of their first album, Ember to Inferno, the group were quickly picked up by Roadrunner.
Their Roadrunner debut, 2005's Ascendancy, blew up in a way most bands can only ever dream of. You couldn't go anywhere in '05 without hearing someone talk about Trivium, and every time you turned on metal radio you were slammed with Like Light to the Flies, Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr, A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation and Dying in Your Arms.
The group had everything fans of Metal and guitar could ask for, from crushing thrash metal riffs, a tight mix (by the legendary Andy Sneap) good hooks and lead guitar skills to die for as Matt and his right hand man, Corey Beaulieu, traded crazy shred solos and ran through outrageous melodic harmony solos. If anything their popularity was what stopped them being the biggest Metal band on the planet: the moment Trivium became popular it became very cool to slate them, not that this had any major effect on their overall popularity.
For 2006's The Crusade, the group embraced a more traditional thrash sound, holding off on a lot of the screaming. Songs like Anthem (We are the Fire) really polarized fans, but tickets to shows were still selling strong as they toured the world as headliners and supporting the biggest bands of the genre.
For their next album Trivium took a much heavier sound, writing and recording a lot of the material on 7-string guitars. The resulting album, Shogun, was another hit and features some of the group's best work. This would be the final outing of the Ascendancy line-up as drummer Travis Smith would soon depart, leaving Matt, Corey, and bassist Paolo Gregoletto to bring in Nick Augusto on drums during support of the album. Regardless of the inner workings of the group, songs like Down From The Sky, Insurrection and Throes Of Perdition are absolute anthems for fans of metal.
When it comes to things like gear, from chatting with Matt and Corey I can tell you they're real sticklers for the details. Matt has gone through a lot of guitars looking for what's perfect for him but has ended up back with the Gibson family where he started, now having a very unique signature Epiphone Les Paul (in 6 and 7-string versions) based loosely on his old Gibson guitar but with tweaks like improved upper fret access and hardware. Corey has played a few guitars but also ended back up at Jackson, where he has two signature models (a 6 and 7-string) based on the King V model. When it comes to amplification the band are now using the Kemper profiling gear which they told me they had been blown away with in blind testing.
The next Trivium album, In Waves, was released in late 2011 and took an even heavier sound but was also a little more in line with their melodic roots. The album charted well and received good reviews from critics. The title track alone should be enough to tell you that the group are far from out of ideas at this point, and if anything, having Nick Augusto behind the kit, brought a fresh sound and power to the group.
Which brings us to Trivium's latest record, Vengeance Falls. This has a very different sound from as the group hired Disturbed frontman David Draiman as the producer and his hands on approach crafted the sound in a more percussive and hook based direction. Interestingly, while the album was universally praised by critics, it wasn't as easy a sell to diehard fans due to the Disturbed-esque edge that's easy to hear when you know it's there. With that being said though, the concert where we caught up with them was packed, so it's safe to say their popularity isn't tailing off any time soon!
Despite having just announced the departure of Nick Augusto, Trivium look set to take it in their stride and seem likely keep touring the world for a year or so before they hit the studio again. What comes next is anyone's guess!