Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon Review

I can already smell the death metal purists, like Ferrous, shitting their pants reading this review. At the same time, I can feel the metalcore chin-strappers cringing, knowing that yours truly is gonna shit all over this new album. The worst part is that if I didn’t have even an inkling of respect for Heafy and co., no one would get a review. But, even after I ran the yellowed Silence in the Snow through my snowblower, Roadrunner Records still sent me the In the Court of the Dragon promo personally.1 I was harsh but I won’t take back what I said. Silence in the Snow sucked. But the band has redeemed themselves since (to an extent). I would have loved to share my opinions of 2017’s The Sin and the Sentence and 2020’s What the Dead Men Say, but no promos came my way. Now, finally, six years later, I get to pen another Trivium review.

One thing I can say sincerely is that Trivium continually tries to grow and improve. For years, I’ve hated Heafy’s growls. Even on the great Shogun they are cringeworthy. So, they brought in some guest heft for In Waves. It didn’t work but it did make Heafy work harder. Silence in the Snow also saw the band break from their mold and try to incorporate more heavy metal into their sound. It didn’t work either. But, to my surprise, the band’s making it work. Heafy’s growls are far better than they’ve ever been and the songwriting makes many-a Trivium chorus shine. And they must feel they are on a roll because it’s only been a year since What the Dead Men Say.

In the Court of the Dragon uses atmospheric “X”2 to introduce the album. Then it explodes into the mighty title track. It’s a thrashy piece with a growing, melodic character and a mid-section transition straight from Pantera. And, like most Trivium songs, the chorus is massive—Heafy replacing the growls and yells with smooth cleans. “Like a Sword over Damocles” and “From Dawn to Decadence” are other hard-hitters with melodic overtones. And, their choruses are why Trivium fans love Trivium. The riffs and verses serve only to build to the climax, and Heafy delivers mighty choruses in the vein of Shogun’s “Kirisute Gomen.” Without a doubt, these are my favorite songs on the album.

But it’s not all about vocals and big choruses. “A Crisis of Revelation” is a melodic headbanger that sees some lightning fast guitar and bass work succeeding a crushing mid-paced breakdown. The drums also slay on this track, exploring everything from thrashy offbeats to calculated blasts, and a whirlwind of hands and feet that swing you back into the chorus. The album also includes three songs over seven minutes in length. These are everything-and-the-kitchen-sink types of songs. “The Shadow of the Abattoir” is odd only because it’s somewhat proggy. “Fall Into Your Hands,” on the other hand, is far more epic—mixing thrashy licks with the orchestral character of “X.” Closer “Phalanx” combines Metallica in the verses with a peacefully emotional chorus. And the build in the back half of “Phalanx” is wonderfully addictive.

While some of the lengthier songs drag on a bit longer than they should,3 In the Court of the Dragon delivers some of the band’s best material in a decade. Sure, Trivium haters are still gonna hate. But, In the Court of the Dragon is more consistent and has less filler than its two predecessors. And, in comparison to Silence of the Snow, this new disc is like Slip ‘n’ Sliding in the Sun. Metal cred be damned. Those of you that are Trivium fans, enjoy yourself.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: Steamy Stream | Format Reviewed: Streamy Steam
Label: Roadrunner Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: October 8th, 2021

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Fine… They sent it to the boss man. But I asked for it. Which led to an unpleasant, hour-long back-and-forth exchange before he forwarded the stream.
  2. Can you believe Trivium has ten fucking full-lengths??
  3. “The Shadow of the Abattoir.”
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