Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with Trivium

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew Heafy of Trivium over Zoom video! 

Hailing from central Florida, Trivium formed in 1999 and quickly built a buzz around Orlando’s metal community with their blend of metalcore, thrash, and progressive metal. Having secured a contract with the German Lifeforce imprint, the band issued its debut album, Ember to Inferno, in October 2003 with a lineup that included vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy, drummer Travis Smith, and bassist Brent Young. The debut was well received, and Trivium signed with Roadrunner Records for their next effort. Ascendancy appeared in March 2005, at which point the band’s roster had shifted to include Heafy, Smith, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and guitarist Corey Beaulieu.

Crusade appeared that fall, featuring a newfound emphasis on singing (previously, vocalist Heafy had relied on screams and throaty growls). Despite the band’s active defense of Heafy’s vocal approach, Trivium received much criticism for their shift in sound; accordingly, they wasted no time in returning to a scream-filled thrash style with 2008’s Shogun. In 2010, Trivium announced drummer Nick Augusto would be replacing the departing Smith. Later that year, the band went into the studio to begin work on its fifth studio album, In Waves, which was released in the summer of 2011 and saw the group bring a bold new approach and maturity to its songwriting. The finished album, entitled Vengeance Falls, was released in October of 2013.

Trivium underwent yet another personnel change when they parted company with drummer Augusto in May of 2014. He was replaced by drum tech Matt Madiro. Late in the year, Trivium entered the studio with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette and mixing engineer Josh Wilbur to begin work on the band’s seventh album. The album was their first to land on the Active Rock Top Ten and secured them headliner status for the European festivals Summerbreeze and Bloodstock. After the release of the album, Madiro left the band and was succeeded by Paul Wandtke, who lasted less than a year before being replaced by Alex Bent.

Late 2017 saw the release of the band’s eighth studio long-player, The Sin and the Sentence, which was produced by Josh Wilbur and released on Roadrunner. The set peaked at number 23 on the Top 200, and landed in the top spot at Hard Rock Albums. After extensive touring and a well-deserved break, the band re-entered the studio with Wilbur in late 2019. In February of the following year, Trivium’s members began adding cryptic messages to their social media accounts to advance interest for the upcoming album. They further teased its release with two songs — “IX” and “Scattering the Ashes”– added to the “Spawn” trailer for the Mortal Kombat video game in March. Trivium delivered their ninth full-length, What the Dead Men Say, in April. Original bassist Brent Young died on September 25, 2020; he was 37 years old. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi

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