Classic Album Review: Ascendancy by Trivium

Hello! And welcome to the first edition of this Classic Album review series. On top of new releases, I would also like to look back at some albums over the years that I have listened to that I think would make a great addition to your already fine collections.

Today we are going to be looking back at Trivium’s 2nd album, and one of my all time favourites, Ascendancy!

Ascendancy is the follow up to Trivium’s debut album “Ember to Inferno” which received a generally positive response from the metal community, but it was a debut that didn’t really thrust them into the limelight. However this all changed with Ascendancy, this was the album that really took the world by storm and gave them the platform to be the band that they are today.

The main themes around Ascendancy focus on overcoming adversity and coming to the realisation that the world we live in is corrupted, and these are echoed profoundly in the music itself. The title track “Ascendancy” depicts this very well, with the opening verse setting the scene of the corrupted world

“All this life shrouded in a veil, of deception in association”

This leads into a chorus that really pushes the message of instilling an ambition to make the world a better place

“Ascend above the ashes, of the world I once knew. Ascendancy is the only thing this will prove”.

A lot of songs on Ascendancy follow along the same concept of the title track, elaborating on global corruption and rising above it in a general sense, but there are more specific examples of struggles against adversity and corruption in a few tracks that relate more personally to the lead singer, Matt Heafy.

In “Suffocating Sight” Heafy describes his struggles with social anxiety and other insecurities. As an example the lyrics from the second verse seem to be specifically describing his social anxiety

“My hands shake in apprehension, for every action I’m guilty of playing the victim”

It’s a great line that is described in a way that can be easily related to by listeners who have struggled with social anxiety.

With “A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation” the theme of corruption is most prominent here. The story of the song features heavily around a tyrannical father who abuses his children.

“You starve your children on neglect, then feed their bellies with fear”

This is the opening line of the song, which then leads onto a vengeful narrative in the chorus

“Your abuse will end right here, no longer will your family fear.”

These lyrics obviously paint a gloomy and twisted picture of these kind of events, but also there is a sense of defiance in the wake of extreme adversity that is incredibly inspiring and uplifting. It gives the song a great contrast between good and evil.

Musically this album is very intense, powerful and aggressive, characteristics that fit very well with the lyrical themes. The guitar riffs are heavy and epic, accompanied by beautiful melodic leads and thunderous, heart-pumping drum beats. Throaty screams are featured heavily throughout the album, so if you only like clean vocals this album may be a bit too much for you, however I’d recommend trying this one out anyway! Ascendancy was one of the first metal albums I ever listened to and before doing so I hated harsh vocals, but they grew on me and now I listen to plenty of bands with that vocal style!

 

I hope you enjoyed this review, if you read this and listened to the album and liked it, let me know what you enjoyed about it and what are your favourites!

For now here is my top 3 from Ascendancy

  1. A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation
  2. Suffocating Sight
  3. The Deceived

Thanks for reading, see you next time!

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