First of all, this album should NOT be compared to The Crusade in such ways as saying its a step up or step down from it. Its really a hybrid album. Too many people are basing their opinions of Shogun by saying that its too intense compared to The Crusade and they miss the melody and singing on that album. Then still others are saying that The Crusade was a mistake of Trivium’s and this is a return to original form that Ascendancy introduced us to. I say both sides are wrong. This album is Ascendancy and The Crusade all in one, but even more in your face. As I said, hybrid album.
With Shogun, Trivium has mixed the melodic singing, lightning fast guitar work, and blistering drumming of The Crusade with the screaming, up in your business, heavy metal of Ascendancy. The combination is undeniably brutal. You get the best of both. Fans of The Crusade, which I admit I loved, will easily cling to the parts of songs where Matt Heafy is melodically chanting over speedy drum work and machine gun guitar riffs, but then its over as fast as it started and the vocals turn up a notch and the music becomes chunky and heavy while Heafy takes on demonic screams like those that riddled the Ascendancy album.
Highlights of the album:
— Great lyrics! Check out the lyrics to “Into The Mouth Of Hell We March” (Epic story in this song with lines like: “Spires of lightning thrown down from the gods! Skin melting even in the deluge!) and “Throes of Perdition”, another great story with great music accompanying it.
— The guitar solos are insane! Fast, original, and ear piercing. LOTS of harmonizing here.
— The drumming is top-notch. Travis Smith is easily my favorite metal drummer right now. BLAZING fast double bass work, and very original and masterfully built drum fills. Travis is really coming into his own.
— Long intricate songs. Tempo and feel changes throughout. Its sick! Most songs clock in at over 5 minutes, several are just shy of 5 minutes by mere seconds. The title track itself is nearly 12 mins long.
— The production is excellent. Amazing clarity. If you have a good set of headphones, listen with those. Smith’s tom fills seems to wrap around your head and the solo’s seem to start on one side of your head and travel through your skull sonically bouncing around inside until connecting with the other ear. Its wicked.
As a side note, even if you don’t like the album, you’ve got to at least admit the cover art is awesome. Ha Ha.
But seriously…SHOGUN HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE:
1) If you’re into speedy licks, its here.
2) If you’re into in your face screaming, like many of you Ascendancy fans are, well, you’re gonna get it.
3) If you loved the melody of The Crusade but wished the intensity had been turned up a few notches, Shogun won’t disappoint.
4) If you’re a guitar solo junky, welcome home, this album delivers.
5) Even a few “epic” storylines to get lost in. You can practically envision the events unfolding in your mind as you listen.
Pick this album up, its hella cool.