Trivium – In The Court Of The Dragon: Album Review

Trivium are back. In The Court Of The Dragon sees the Florida metallers hit album number ten. Expect heaviness, epicness and Ihsahn.

Released: 8th October 2021

Label: Roadrunner Records

Formats: CD / Digital

Trivium are stalwarts of the metal scene. They have been ever present for nearly two decades, and are one of the hardest working bands on the circuit. Relentless touring, a slew of top tier albums and a devout fanbase that always show whichever town or city they are in are testament to Trivium’s work ethic.

Trivium: (L-R) Alex Bent, Paolo Gregoletto, Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu

In The Court Of The Dragon King is the band’s tenth full length album, and the follow up to 2020’s What The Dead Men Say (our review here). With any new album from a band of Trivium’s vintage, there is always immediate comparisons drawn with previous work. From the off, In The Court Of The Dragon King will hit the spot with any discerning Trivium fan.

Fittingly, the epic introduction to the album is entitled X. Written by black metal legend Ihsahn, it is an obvious Roman reference to the band’s tenth LP. With such an epic sounding album, and cover, X sets the scene for the title track which blows in with bluster showcasing all that is great about Trivium. Ferocity, highly skilled musicianship, supreme heaviness, impassioned vocals and tight production (from Josh Wilbur) make for superb listening.

Throughout the title track, there are breakdowns, tempo changes, evil riffs, blast beat drums, swirling solos and Matt Heafy’s unique snarl and growl; all tropes that Trivium have perfected over the years to mould into their distinct sound. This distinction is a credit to Trivium. In The Court Of The Dragon is unmistakably Trivium.

Like A Sword Over Damocles is going to be a mainstay of Trivium’s live set. Lyrical phrasing reminiscent of bands like Carcass, and fist pumping, chest beating chorus hooks will definitely resonate with the masses. Again, Heafy’s versatility on vocals shine as he shifts between snarls, shouts, growls and clean singing. Feast Of Fire opens up with a guitar line and riff reminiscent of Locust era Machine Head.

Another huge chorus that is going to be so satisfying on the live circuit adorns the track. The chunky guitars throughout add to a modernistic metal sound that has an insatiable groove as the song hits its solo. A mention must be made of Paolo Gregoletto’s bass work as it snakes through the bed of the track.

Guitar solos take the limelight on A Crisis Of Revelation as well as more superlative work from Gregoletto on bass and Alex Bent on drums. The Shadow Of The Abattoir has an opening that feels like a departure. Deep, surly vocals along with mellow tones, lush orchestration and beautiful guitar work make for interesting listening. There is still a heaviness to the piece but not many bands would be able to pull this off the way that Trivium do. As the song progresses it morphs into another fast paced, heads down rocker. It’s almost a part 1, part 2 affair, with a return to the opening motif to bookend the track and it’s hefty length.

The album cover in all its glory; an original oil painting by French artist Mathieu Nozieres

Any notions that Trivium are mellowing are blown away by No Way Back Just Through. Fast paced, furious and an aura of anger propel the song. No Way Back Just Through feels like a mantra for the last year and a half that we have lived through as a human race. Fall Into Your Hands is the second of three songs on the album that clocks in at over the seven minute mark. An extended drum led opening makes way for more fervent fury from Heafy. Orchestration again adds to the grandeur of the song, but also acts to elevate the epic nature of In The Court Of The Dragon as a whole. ‘GO’ shouts Matt Heafy before he and Corey Beaulieu blast through more impressive guitar work before returning for more shredding on the six string.

From Dawn To Decadence is the penultimate track and takes the shades darker. Not for the first time, the twin guitar work shines and the band as a whole are mightily impressive. Album closer is The Phalanx. Named after a Greek military formation, it is another epic and a fitting end to In The Court Of The Dragon. The scale of the song is befitting of Trivium; they are still carving their own path whilst paying their dues to their fanbase. In The Court Of The Dragon is another success of an album from a band that always seem to deliver.

There are so many levels to this album, and those listeners that sit and listen to albums mindfully will enjoy unravelling the layers. You can throw yourself and your head around to the album, but there is a real maturity to this album when you dissect it. I for one can’t wait to see Trivium on the road again with this album.

Check out Trivium’s tour dates here. They will be on tour with Heaven Shall Burn, TesseracT and Fit For An Autopsy.

Watch the video for The Phalanx below. The video is a collaboration with Bethesda Games and Elder Scrolls Online.

Trivium: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

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