Live gig review by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Despite it being the hottest day of the year so far, and World cup hosts Brazil facing off against Mexico, a sold-out crowd turn their backs on sun and soccer to welcome Floridian quartet Trivium back to Dublin after a six year absence. Still touring on the back of their 2013 release Vengeance Falls, and in the middle of the summer festival circuit, Trivium have brought their arena-sized show to the relative confines of the Academy for a mid-summer mosh.
The supporting act are local thrash metal band Psykosis who are making their debut Academy appearance tonight and are keen to take their music to the next level after recently winning a slot at the Bloodstock Open Air festival this August. Obviously influenced by the early works of “the big four” of thrash metal, their blistering riffs and frantic rhythms are delivered with a dose of mighty craic and upbeat shenanigans. Think “Kill ‘Em All”; but with beach balls. Their thirty minute set goes down well with the large contingent of fans who have arrived early enough to catch their beer-fuelled tales of serial killers and zombies.
A quick redecoration of the stage sees two props in the shape of the Trivium “T” logo erected at either side of the stage; each standing some ten to fifteen feet tall. A rocky façade across the edge of the stage and around the drumkit is in keeping with the oversizedVengeance Falls album cover which hangs partially obscured in the background. With the scene set, the eager crowd wait in anticipation until the house lights dim and Iron Maiden’s ‘Run to the Hills’ blares from the speaker stacks, heralding the imminent aural assault.
The headliners are welcomed onstage with cheers and hollers as they launch head-first into ‘Brave This Storm’; the opening track fromVengeance Falls. Frontman Matt Heafy revels in the adoration, pulling his usual contorted facial expressions with tongue touching chin when it is not needed to deliver an impressive mix of melodic and growled vocals. His voice is strong and consistent tonight, perhaps partly thanks to a recent doctor-prescribed break from vocal duties which unfortunately resulted in the cancellation of some US dates just weeks ago. But thankfully, the rest appears to have done him the world of good, and he doesn’t restrain his singing, screaming or shouting here in Dublin; a city close to his heart and Irish heritage.
The audience are enthusiastic and show their appreciation with applause and chants between songs, although at times the crowd is surprisingly stagnant and lethargic during the tracks themselves, particularly towards the middle of the performance.
Heafy tells us that about a month ago, they told their drum technician Mat Madiro that he had 24 hours to learn the entire Trivium live set after the curious firing of former drummer Nick Augusto mid-tour. Giving credit where it is due, Madiro plays a flawless set and doesn’t miss a beat, prompting speculation that Madiro may become the new permanent stickman. It wouldn’t be the first time a Trivium drum tech has taken the throne from his master; after all, that is exactly how Augusto came to replace founding member Travis Smith. A case of history repeating itself?
After a scorching performance of ‘Throes of Perdition’, one die-hard fan throws an Irish flag bearing a hand-painted Trivium logo onstage and succeeds in hitting Heafy “right in the kisser”. This prompts a succession of similar flags to be flung and yet another one lands right on target, much to the amusement of the jovial vocalist. The band proudly drape the souvenirs over their stage props, before breaking into a thunderous rendition of ‘A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation’ from their career-launching sophomore album Ascendancy. Surprisingly, we only hear three tracks from their latest offering, but instead are treated to a generous serving of classic Trivium gems from Ascendancy and the 2011 favourite In Waves. Heafy dedicates ‘Dying in your Arms’ to all the ladies in the venue, of which there are plenty, and he suggests that ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr’ is a song well suited to circle pits and screaming.
Returning for a two-song encore, Heafy promises that if the Irish fans spread the word, then Trivium shall return sooner than before, somehow making it seem as though we deserved the wait due to our apathy. Closing the show with ‘Down from the Sky’ and ‘In Waves’, Trivium ensure that their fans leave with some of their more infectious breakdowns echoing in their minds. An appropriate wave of crowd surfers celebrate the final moments of metal before the band take a group bow and pose for a photograph in front of the fanatic front rows of the audience.
Brazil: 0, Mexico: 0, Trivium: 1