Trivium, Heaven Shall Burn, Malevolence Live Review From London’s Hammersmith Apollo, 15th January 2023

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Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu of Trivium, Birmingham, January 2023

Trivium had been waiting to get their UK and European tour off the ground for over two years. Rescheduled twice thanks to a certain global pandemic, with the start of 2023 Florida’s finest metal export were finally able to get back to their second home.

Before Trivium get to lay waste to the Hammersmith Apollo, there’s the small matter of an almost full venue greeting Malevolence (9) like they were headliners, not the openers. The whole band has grown in confidence hugely in recent times, with Josh now one of the UK metal scenes best frontmen. A venue spanning circle pit came to life on only their second song – and the reaction continued on this level for the rest of the set.

A mighty, mighty circle pit. On the second song. Malevolence. The hype is real.

When they can Crank out classics-in-waiting like Still Waters Run Deep, tug the heartstrings with Higher Place and utterly rip it to pieces with the set closing On Broken Glass in the space of 15 minutes, it’s very easy to see why Malevolence can and should be the next band from the UK metal scene to break big. They’re well on their way.

Heaven Shall Burn (7) were in something of a predicament, having to follow that performance from Malevolence. They were well received from the off, but it felt like polite enjoyment for the bulk of their set, compared to the rabid adoration Malevolence received and what was to come for Trivium. HSB’s hour long set provided ample time for those less familiar to get an enjoyable crash course across their catalogue, and Marcus Bischoff did a perfectly fine job of pulling the crowd in and along with them. Black Tears (their Edge of Sanity cover) and big single Endzeit providing two of the highlights. A very solid showing from the band who will be greeted far more rapturously once the tour hits mainland Europe.

When a show has been delayed over two years, hopes are it’ll be a special one. And how it was. Trivium (10) are on utterly fabulous form, putting on a 90 minute clinic that felt like it lasted about 10, such were the levels of enjoyment in the room.

No matter how many times it’s been done over the years, opening a show with The End Of Everything into Rain is guaranteed to kick things off in the best way. It was like Matt Heafy and Co had thrown a stick of Dynamite into the Apollo. With setlists rotating heavily from night to night on this tour, even the die hards attending multiple shows didn’t know what they were going to get. Following Rain with a run of A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation (with Alex Bent absolutely thundering away on the drums), The Sin And The Sentence and Down From The Sky, Trivium had everyone in attendance in London lapping up each and every note.

With this being The Deadmen and Dragons tour, Trivium had two full new albums to call upon since the last time they graced UK shores pre-pandemic. It was slightly surprising therefore that we were only treated to two songs from What The Dead Men Say and the title track from In The Court Of The Dragon. All three sounded monstrous, with Amongst The Shadows And The Stones the pick of the bunch. Elsewhere it was classics and singalong central. Alex and Josh from Malevolence made a highly impressive guest appearance on The Deceived – Josh sounding like Ascendancy era Heafy. The entire room sang the main Riff from Strife as well as all the words. And even The Crusades thrashiest number To The Rats ripped out for an airing.

Trivium main man Matt Heafy enjoying himself on stage – photo by Cait Maxwell.

Trivium have a number of lengthy epics to their name, but none as long and as full of bombast as Shogun, brought out in full for the first time on UK shores since 2014 in all its glory. The obligatory thunderous In Waves followed, looking like the conclusion to this evening’s fun (as it often is, and a fitting conclusion it would have been). But no, there was time for a quick sprint through Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr to bring the evening full circle, finishing as it began with an Ascendancy classic.

For a certain generation of metal fans in the UK, Trivium are our Metallica. Bursting onto the scene in a blaze of hype, glory and riffs, they have given us many, many highs (and the odd low) over the last 18 years. The connection between Trivium and their UK fans is palpable, especially on special nights like tonight. May they “always return”, as they promise at the end of each show, for many, many more years to come.

Review by Jamie Giberti. Malevolence photo by Jamie Giberti from Hammersmith. Matt Heafy photo by Cait Maxwell from Manchester. Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu photo by Cait Maxwell from Birmingham.

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