Just over a year after the release of their last album, Silence In The Snow, Trivium are returning with their latest album Ember To Inferno: Ab Initio. Trivium’s debut album, released in 2003, was also called Ember To Inferno, however the line up and labels have changed over the years, and now their latest piece, translated from Latin as “from the beginning”, is a re-released version of their no longer available debut album.
“The purpose of this release is to show the very early beginnings of Trivium–perhaps an era unbeknownst to most listeners of the band. To look back at Ember as the starting point of Trivium becoming recognized worldwide is a staggering thought for me, considering I was 16/17 years old during the writing and recording of the record…As a kid, I always said the ‘goal’ was to be in a massive metal band. I don’t think I actually knew what it would mean to have fans in different parts of the world, and I still can’t believe people care so much that they actually want to hear the music that pre-dates our Roadrunner-years. To this day, I am still completely blown away that people are singing words to songs I wrote when I was 16 years old. It’s an amazing feeling.” – Vocalist Matt Heafy.
Ember To Inferno: Ab Initio begins with a 35 second instrumental performed on strings with added effects called Inception: The Bleeding Skies. This track helps to prepare the listener’s mind to be blown. Immediately leading into the next track, Pillars Of Serpents, takes the listener right back to Trivium’s roots. However Pillar Of Serpents seems to jump between sections and it is clear that Trivium were not quite as refined and well honed as they are now.
If I Could Collapse The Masses is one of the “lighter” tracks on the album, with singing and melodic guitars in the chorus, but back to chugging and double kick drums for the verses. It is a good example of Trivium’s diversity, even in their early days. However in parts of the track it feels like the drums and guitars are working against each other and are not playing in time.
Once again Trivium launch immediately into the second half of Ember To Inferno much like the first half. To Burn The Eye, following the instrumental Ashes, like Pillars Of Serpents, begins with heavy drums. However To Burn The Eye has a much more memorable riff, and switches between sections of the song more fluently. My Hatred also follows in this vein.
Towards the end of Ember To Inferno, the tracks get longer. To Burn The Eye is around 7 minutes long, and the song that immediately follows it, Falling To Grey, is just over 5 and a half minutes long. Although typical of the melodic metal genre, the listener may feel tired and burned out by the same artist by this point. Many of the tracks also start to sound the same at this point. Unless going for a massive listening session, it would be wise to split the album into chunks.
The penultimate track, When All Light Dies, blends really nicely into the final track, A View Of Burning Empires, which is the final instrumental of Ember To Inferno. A View Of Burning Empires ties the album together really well.
After Ember To Inferno finishes, the bonus tracks from Trivium’s Red, Blue and Yellow demos begin, starting with Ruber (The Red Demo). Pain is the first track to Ruber, and the entirety of the first two minutes are purely guitar solo. Then the vocals kick in, and all of a sudden Trivium transform from this well polished and rehearsed artist to a band just starting out in a garage of a house in the suburbs somewhere. However, the different sections flow well from one to another and it’s clear that Trivium have spent a lot of time over their career rehearsing to get everything just right.
Immediately following Pain is Thrust. Another longer track, it becomes clear why Ruber only contains three songs. However, Thrust is a track that could easily be performed live and so the listener pictures that.
The final track to Ruber is Lake Of Fire, which begins with slow melodies that sound like Metallica’s Unforgiven III. However the riff soon kicks in, and another enjoyable tune is available.
Heafy’s vocals on Ruber are more raw than Ember To Inferno, and it is clear that over the years his voice has adapted to heated vocals and have improved over time.
The second demo, Caeruleus (The Blue Demo) contains some of the same tracks as Ember To Inferno. Skipping past the tracks that are the same, the listener comes to The Storm, another 6 minute track. This is much the same as the tracks on Ruber, heavy drums and guitar solos and no real development of Trivium as an artist, although the listener has now built a clear picture of the group’s musical history.
Sworn sounds more like it belongs on Ember To Inferno. At 4 and a half minutes, it is shorter than quite a few of the tracks on the original album. It would be interesting to find out why particular tracks were chosen to make up Ember To Inferno, as Sworn is one of the catchier tunes.
Demon, the final track of Caeruleus, is another short track at 3 and a half minutes, yet the first minute is almost entirely instrumental. Demon sounds more like the heavier tracks that Trivium are known for.
The final demo, Flavus (The Yellow Demo), contains the final three tracks that make up the deluxe edition of Ember To Inferno. Here we can start to see how Trivium developed over their formative years, as the first track, Like Light To The Flies, sounds much like the first half of Ember To Inferno, with heavier verses and lighter choruses. This is also the first demo track in which Heafy sings instead of just screaming.
In contrast, Blinding Tears Will Break The Skies, is a typical heavy Trivium track, at least until the chorus. It’s a track that fans will recognise as the Trivium they know and love.
The Deceived is the final track on Flavus and Ember To Inferno: Ab Initio, and is the heaviest track on Flavus. In fact, it would not be out of place on Ruber, however it has that more developed and polished Trivium sound.
Overall rating: 7/10
Ember To Inferno: 6.5/10
Trivium are performing at the following UK venues next year:
Sat 11th Feb – DUBLIN Academy
Sun 12th Feb – BELFAST Limelight
Tue 14th Feb – BIRMINGHAM Institute
Wed 15th Feb – MANCHESTER Academy
Thu 16th Feb – GLASGOW Barrowlands
Fri 17th Feb – LONDON Roundhouse
Sat 18th Feb – NOTTINGHAM Rock City