Trivium @ Rock City, Nottingham – 25 August 2023

Critically acclaimed Floridian metallers Trivium are back in the UK on their ‘Goblins And Wizards’ summer tour, where they will play some of their smallest headline shows in over 15 years.

If truth be told, it wasn’t until I wrapped my ears around the tenth studio album: ‘In the Court of the Dragon’ in 2021, that I found myself really wanting to see Trivium. After missing January’s ‘Dead Men & Dragons’ headlining run, which saw the band perform their biggest UK shows to date, I’m out to break my duck at the more intimate, albeit rammed to the rafters, Rock City.

The explosive combination of ‘In the Court of the Dragon’ and ‘Down From the Sky’ is an electrifying introduction to Matt Heafy and Co. When not delivering his mix of screaming and melodic vocals, the connection between the guitarist/frontman and his fans is very clear. Darting around with uncontainable energy, he relishes the swell before him, enjoying numerous interactions, beaming with ecstatic enthusiasm, and sticking his tongue out at every opportunity.

Trivium produce high-speed, visceral music which can only command an equally intense reaction. Sure enough ‘Becoming the Dragon’ and ‘Strife’ has the entire crowd in motion, igniting a mosh pit in the heart of Rock City. Following on is the brutally sensational ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr’, from the 2005 album ‘Ascendancy’. This demonstrates – not for the first or last time – some seriously potent solo performances from both Heafy and Cory Beaulieu.

It turns out that the set opener is the only track to be played from the most recent album. I’m a little disappointed, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a band who have existed for nearly quarter of a century, and with such an extensive back catalogue. Honouring the 15th anniversary of ‘Shogun’, the setlist predominantly focuses on that album. Being a fan favourite, the beautifully titled ‘Kirisute Gomen’, ‘Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis’, ‘Like Callisto to a Star in Heaven’ and ‘Of Prometheus and the Crucifix’ all go down an absolute storm.

With his bass on a stand, Paolo Gregoletto has been looking almost statuesque, but that’s pretty understandable when you realise the guy underwent emergency hernia surgery only a few weeks ago. Still, his bass lines are badass, they are heavy and technically on point, as is the relentless drum work of Alex Bent. To finish a truly memorable night in Nottingham’s “Metal City” comes the exquisite pairing of ‘The Heart From Your Hate’ and ‘A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation’.

With mounting anticipation the instrumental interlude ‘Capsizing the Sea’ has the venue on the brink of eruption. Then the band are back to explode into a blistering version of ‘In Waves’, the title of their 2011 album. Or, to be precise: “IN WAAAVESSS!” which every capable voice in the house does its best to scream along with. Unfortunately, it is only a single track encore, and before we know it Trivium are on their way, leaving us exhilarated and heading for the door.

While I might have arrived late to the Trivium party, I’m aware of the indelible imprint they’ve left on contemporary metal. A journey that’s seen them evolve in songcraft and musical prowess across ten albums, they continue to push boundaries. With their live show, I got everything that I could ask for – four extraordinarily gifted musicians, pouring 100% of themselves into their performance. And what’s more, the house was left in awe.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston