Its now seven and a half years since Trivium first set foot on UK soil, “the country that made Trivium” by the words of the band’s own Matt Heafy. Whenever Trivium are back in the UK they are treated like returning members of the family, and anticipation for their latest tour with As I Lay Dying, Caliban and Upon A Burning Body was particularly high. With Rocksins attending the last show of the tour at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire, reports on Twitter of how good they’d been all around the country in other venues and cities raised expectations further, so we were hoping they’d be able to live up to the hype.
Unfortunately things did not go completely according to plan. On the way from the previous evening’s show in Norwich, the trailer carrying Caliban & Upon A Burning Body’s equipment (and merch) managed to detach itself from the tour bus (or something along those lines). As a result, neither Caliban or Upon A Burning Body had any gear to play with. The guys from Trivium & As I Lay Dying were kindly able to lend equipment to Upon A Burning Body but there wasn’t time to sort out equipment for Caliban as well. Around 7:30 Matt Heafy made an unscheduled, early appearance on stage to explain the situation before introducing a visibly pissed off and upset Andreas Dörner who apologised to the crowd and said how he was “really pissed” to miss “the most important show on the tour” (understandably).
Keen to change the mood of disappointment in the Shepherds Bush Empire, Upon A Burning Body then took the stage in their rather dapper attire and launched a full frontal metal assault on all those in attendance. The pit instantly exploded within a few seconds of the opening song, letting off steam at the lack of Caliban and the fact some of them had been waiting for some metal to sink their teeth into for a good hour. Frontman Danny Leal continuously demanded more and more from the audience, and got it with some of the craziest moshpits the Shepherds Bush Empire will have seen for a long time. With songs like Texas Blood Money and the finale of Insurrection, Upon A Burning Body announced themselves to London in a big way. It is inevitable the metal world will be hearing a lot more from them in the near future.
After that, As I Lay Dying had quite a tough act to follow. The Christian metalcore five piece take some stick from certain quarters of the metal community so it was going to be interesting to see what they were made of. They had a considerable number of hardcore fans in attendance, who immediately resumed the crazy moshpits from where Upon A Burning Body left off half an hour previously. Despite the actions of the hardcore, it seems to take a little while for As I Lay Dying to get going (perhaps due to trying to follow the very impressive Upon A Burning Body’s performance), but the awesome breakdown in Anodyne Sea was definitely the turning point.
From that point onwards, things definitely picked up. The band, led powerfully by Tim Lambesis (the metal frontman mostly likely to appear in a WWE ring near you soon) found their groove alternating between new songs such as Greater Foundation with old fan favourites like the set closing The Sound Of Truth. The hardcore fans loved every second of it, while those more impartial got more involved as the set progressed. A satisfactory evening for As I Lay Dying, who were very good in patches but were not quite able to match the sheer intensity of UABB.
And so, we come to Trivium. The atmosphere in the venue up until this point had already been impressive, but by the time Capsizing The Sea had finished its intro and the last notes were hanging in the air you could, to shamelessly borrow a phrase from Good Ol’ J.R. Jim Ross, cut the atmosphere with a knife. The initial crowd participation (summed up by thunderous gutteral screams of “IIINNNNNN WWWAAAVVVEEEESS“) is one of the loudest reactions I’ve ever heard at any show and this continued for the rest of what has become one of the best set opening songs around from the last few years.
The opening half hour was something out of a long time Trivium fans’ dreams with the band’s first breakthrough song Like Light To The Flies following In Waves in true chaotic style and a sprint through Rain with its gargantuan breakdown at the end sending bodies flying everywhere that had just about recovered from As I Lay Dying.
With five albums now under their belt Trivum have the option to mix things up in their live shows and they did so excellently on this occasion, even pulling out this reviewers personal favourite song Entrance Of The Conflagration from The Crusade, complete with one of the finest solos in recent years. New songs such as Black merged seamlessly with old favourites like The Deceived as Shepherds Bush yelled itself hoarse to every single track while Matt, Corey and Paolo looked on from stage, alternating between looking like they were having a great time to wrenching every last drop of energy out of the crowd.
Not they they needed to but things were taken up another level with the announcement that a music video was being filmed this evening for Watch The World Burn, which resulted in increased pitting and general mayhem (anything for the cameras right?) but the probable highlight of the night award was reserved for A Gunshot To The Head of Trepidation. I do not think there was a single person in the main part of the standing section who was not bouncing around like a lunatic and it must have looked amazing from the balcony. This was audience participation of the highest order.
As the evening drew towards a close there were several more highlights; Dying In Your Arms, complete with a dedication and reference that the UK is the only place Ascendancy went Gold. Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr, which needs no description other than to say its a modern metal masterpiece and was received in the fashion befitting such a song. Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis, getting its first ever UK airing on this tour and the traditional set closing Throes Of Perdition. Trivium don’t do encores, but they know how to send their fans home happy.
The full Trivium setlist was:
Capsizing The Sea (intro)
Like Light To The Flies
Into The Mouth Of Hell We March
Down From The Sky
Entrance Of The Conflagration
Watch The World Burn
A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation
Ember To Inferno
Built To Fall
Dying In Your Arms
Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr
Torn Between Scylla & Charybdis
Throes Of Perdition
This was a magnificent performance from Florida’s finest metal export of the last decade in their home away from home. It is easy to see why the band blew up in such spectacular fashion when the world discovered them the first time back in 2005, and the only question remains is whether they will one day break the metal equivalent of the glass ceiling to sit at the top table. If they keep putting on shows like this, don’t bet against it happening one day.