Trivium are about to take a break from touring, but their live show still proves they’re one of the greatest metal bands of their generation

As they start their “last tour for a long time”, modern metal heroes Trivium honour classics and deep cuts alike with an impassioned performance

Matt Heafy of Trivium performing live
(Image: © Elsie Roymans/Getty Images)

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“This is going to be our last tour for a long time,” Trivium singer/guitarist Matt Heafy tells Cambridge on the first date of the band’s Wizards And Goblins UK shows. It’s not an announcement that’ll stun you if you’ve been paying attention to the heavy metal gossip sites recently. And you know what: this band bloody well deserve some time off.

Since the pandemic, Trivium have been operating at hyperspeed. Their 2020 album, What The Dead Men Say, came out a month after the world was forced into lockdown, and the Floridians responded by immediately re-entering creative mode, releasing follow-up In The Court Of The Dragon the very next year. When restrictions eased, they suddenly had two years of cancelled tours to make up for and two records to promote, with tonight marking show 196 since Dragon came out just 22 months ago.

The toll of that intense schedule is visible this evening. Bassist Paolo Gregoletto has his instrument on a stand towards stage-left: a result of him needing emergency hernia surgery when he landed in Europe three weeks ago. Despite the nonstop wear and tear, though, Trivium still have an armada of powerhouse songs.

Dragon’s title track proves it: it’s an abrupt, bludgeoning opener, blasting out Matt’s screams, his and Corey Beaulieu’s hellfire riffing and Alex Bent’s frenzied drumming with no build-up. “In the court of the dragon! Death of gods and worlds!” the frontman roars instantly, before later hitting a more melodic chorus that, as it’s backed by torrents of blast beats, feels no less intense.

Becoming The Dragon and Entrance Of The Conflagration follow back-to-back, marking the first time two songs from the controversial The Crusade have shared a setlist since 2007. The pair’s dive from bass-soloing progressive metal to knucklehead thrash signposts Trivium’s status as a subgenre-straddling all-caps METAL band: a reputation recently reaffirmed by the acclaimed and all-considering Dead Men and Dragon albums.

Further surprises come mid-set, when the band acknowledge the 15th anniversary of their Shogun album with a sprint through five of its songs. Kirisute Gomen, Torn Between Scylla And Charybdis, Down From The Sky, Of Prometheus And The Crucifix and bonus track Poison, The Knife Or The Noose get aired in sequence, casting anthems against deep cuts without any dips in quality. Prometheus…, making its UK debut, is a concise counterpoint to the avant-garde Scylla…, while Kirisute Gomen and Down From The Sky prove ever-reliable in making audiences go apeshit.

The closing run is your more expected fare: radio rocker The Heart From Your Hate feels overly saccharine when cast against the monstrous metal of the rest of the evening. Nonetheless, it still gets Cambridge jumping, warmed up for climactic classics A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation and In Waves. And, to its credit, it’s yet another demonstration of this band’s passion for every type of heavy music there is.

Afflicted by injury, Trivium may not be playing at 100% tonight, but this show proves that, even 196 gigs deep into a sub-two-year touring cycle, they have ambition and precision. And, as the gig nears its end, Matt teases that 2025 marks 20 years of their breakthrough album, Ascendancy: “We should probably do something about that,” he grins. Trivium haven’t even gone away yet, but they’re already planting the seeds for a glorious return.

Trivium setlist – Corn Exchange, Cambridge, August 23

In The Court Of The Dragon
Becoming The Dragon
Entrance Of The Conflagration
Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr
Kirisute Gomen
Torn Between Scylla And Charybdis
Down From The Sky
Of Prometheus And The Crucifix
Poison, The Knife Or The Noose
The Heart From Your Hate
A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation
In Waves

Matt Mills

Louder’s resident Cult Of Luna obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.