Recorded with acclaimed producer Jason Suecof, Trivium’s sophomore album Ascendancy, which is over a decade old, remains a modern metal triumph even after all this time. Selling over 500,000 copies worldwide is not an easy task, to be sure. The album essentially bridged the gap between thrash metal and the modern metalcore that dominated Headbanger’s Ball in the mid-2000’s, and Ascendancy is generally the band’s most revered record.
There are plenty of reasons for this. With bands like Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Chimaira, and God Forbid all blazing their own unique trails musically (not to mention the commercial dominance bands like KSE eventually had), Trivium surely felt they needed to do the same. Their debut record Ember To Inferno provided a solid foundation to build off of, and that record was all the more impressive considering vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy wasn’t even 18 at the time it was recorded.
Ascendancy, however, was a fully formed beast that catapulted the band to immediate success. The entire album contains a very strong body of work, with the more metalcore-oriented songs containing plenty of mosh-worthy sections – think “Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr”. The album is a modern thrash metal fan’s dream, though. Taking into account how young the band was when recording it, Ascendancy is even more impressive, especially when you consider the band’s musical and songwriting chops on choice cuts like “Like Light To The Flies” (a strong contender for the band’s best song overall) and album closer “Declaration”, a 7-minute song that is as melodic as it is ambitious. If you’re not moshing during the last minute of that song, you might not be human.
Long-time Trivium fans may consider the band to have fallen off the metaphorical wagon after this album, and while I’d disagree (seriously, last year’s The Sin And The Sentence was fantastic), Ascendancy still remains a fantastic album 13 years after its release. The non-singles (especially “Rain” and “The Deceived”) are some of the most impressive modern thrash cuts out there, and it sounds fresh in today. Highly recommended.