INTERVIEW! "I hope it can give people some joy when things aren’t looking too great out there" - Trivium talk upcoming new album 'What The Dead Men Say'

April 21, 2020

The music world somewhat continues to push forward in these strange times. Whilst we may be waking up continuously to more news of our favourite metal festivals and tours being cancelled, one thing remains a constant. A world changing virus may be putting a halt on things in the live music space, new records however continue to flood in from all directions. 


Many, many years and nine studio albums later, Trivium are once again waving the flag for modern metal as they get set to release their latest,  ‘What The Dead Men Say’ which is set to hit the shelves on the 24th April.  One man in particular, the bands long time bassist Paolo Gregoletto, having spent much time in lockdown just like the rest of us, is relaxing in his home before the big release day. “Thankfully I have a ton of music gear here so I can record riffs and idea’s so we are going to make the most of the time. Who knows, maybe we will have another album by the time this is over” he tells us early on into our conversation.


After multiple spins of ‘What The Dead Men Say’, the thought of another new record so soon is something many will welcome with arms wide open, however ‘pie in the sky’ the idea may be. But the truth is, the ten slabs of metal coming our way on the new record are overwhelming. Riffs, melodies and sheer heaviness. It’s hard not to feel the evolution of the band whilst listening to the new tracks. It didn't take long for us at all to get into the thick of the conversation however easy it may have been to continue discussing latest world events. You guys have evolved so much with every album, there’s always been an element that you’ve leant towards or have incorporated, what’s new and fresh with this one?


Paolo: I would say the real new thing with this is that a true stylistic follow up to the last record. That was the kind of curveball that threw everyone this time. We decided to stick with what was working with the last record and to just keep pushing that and developing it and I guess you could say that was a big departure because sometimes record to record can feel a little different. When I look at our whole album collection, especially with the records I like the most, there is a through line with them… …there’s a consistency…


Paolo: Yeah, its more consistent. I think that when you go into a new record that’s a little different you think ‘wow this is a drastic change’, then when you start to look back at the whole record catalogue, you can see the band that started this fifteen years ago even though there’s been some changes, different producers, different mixers and of course we have had a few different drummers so that always changes the chemistry a little but I would say our writing style with the riffs and stuff has never really been super different. I guess with this record we tried to take ‘The Sin & The Sentence’ and make it heavier and a bit more progressive in a lot of ways. after having listened to it multiple times, I am hearing a lot of ‘Ascendancy’ in there…


Paolo: Yeah, we didn’t have any sort of intentional thing where we said the record is going to sound like this record or that record. I would say Alex (Bent) being in the band now has really brought our energy back into our sound especially into our writing now and ‘Ascendancy’ has a lot of energy to it and I think that when Trivium writes intense stuff its going to sound a certain way. We play heavy music our way and so I think ‘Ascendancy’ would shine through on this one. Even Shogun with some of the progressive stuff. I think we have learned a lot of stuff since then. Its like, playing heavy and playing progressive, we have learned how to tailor that into really good songs and all of the things we have learned along the way from people has been applied to what we do now. There is definite evolution in the sound, it’s like a defining release because it does seem to culminate everything you’ve done up to this point, taking all of the best bits, all of the things that stand out to you and to us the listener and then really working that into another record. 


Paolo: I think so. When I look at my favourite bands and go through their catalogues to try and view the progression, you know, you take an Iron Maiden and you can hear that through line, but comparing Powerslave to their first album, the fundamentals are there, its still the same band and once you start to get something that works for your band you just stick with it and improve upon it. You can still experiment within that but there are some boundaries with what makes Trivium, Trivium. Like the singing and the screaming and the riffs we play, the intensity, I guess we are a lot more self-aware of what those things are. There are certain expectations we have, that the fans have and we write within those boundaries. We want to write something that’s new and exciting but at the same time it’s something that is expected, so you’re working with all of these contradictions and you have to find a way to balance all of that stuff. Of course, It’s got to be a great song, but it’s got to be your song. Definitely, and you guys seem to have really hit it on the mark with this one. I am thinking through the track list now, the songs are so varied on it but you can point out where they come from and why they fit together. I was listening to ‘Bleed Into Me’ and the grindy bass on that, to me, its like early Tool, it has that element of early Tool, enema era and with Matts vocals on top, that’s where it takes me, your take on Tool and when I think of it like that, its really far out from a Trivium song…But its still a Trivium song…


Paolo: Yeah, when I am coming up with something like that, to me once we have knocked out a lot of the heavier stuff, usually in the beginning, we experiment a little bit and I am always willing to go out there and try some different stuff and with that song, I started writing it on bass before I even picked up a guitar. And I will usually pick up the guitar first because, we are really a riff orientated band and that’s usually the best place to start but sometimes I will just pick up the bass and I will start from there and so that one lended itself to being different and the bass is sort of the driving force of a lot of that song because it just kind of loops for a good amount of it before it even opens up into the chorus and the timing is like, 6/8 and this is obviously, like when you mentioned Tool, but also A Perfect Circle. It’s weird because I didn’t do this on purpose but I went back and wondered why those bands have a certain feel an vibe to them and then I realised the time signature which is really different and the fact that the song is flowing with this different feel to it. It’s like a very light swing. is there anything else about the new album you’d like to mention before we tie this up? 


Paolo: Well, we have a new song coming out tomorrow, the last one before the record drops. If people like what they’ve heard on these three songs they’re definitely going to dig the record. I hope it can give people some joy when things aren’t looking too great out there, I think some new music is definitely what the doctor ordered!


There’s certainly a sense of excitement as we draw closer to the release of ‘What The Dead Men Say’, an album that to us, hits all the marks with flavours of Trivium old and new. As we wrap up our conversation with Paolo, its clear that whilst the band haven’t changed the ways in which they create, there appears to be plenty of ideas still in the tank to keep things new and exciting. The sheer energy injected into the band with the help of sticksmans Alex Bent is plain as day with this release, throw in some interesting time signatures and a sprinkle of all those things that make Trivium one of the hottest commodities in modern metal, We may just very well be witnessing the release of the bands magnum opus. 


What The Dead Men Say is out everywhere, April 24th Through Roadrunner Records

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