Fighting talk: How Trivium got their voice back
After injuring his voice, Matt Heafy thought he’d lost his scream for good. Now, with The Sin And The Sentence, Trivium are a band ready to roar again
May 2014. Columbus, Ohio. Trivium are playing to a packed Rock On The Range festival when Matt Heafy, worryingly, notices his voice is failing. After the set, he heads home to Orlando to seek medical help, and the band cancel their remaining tour dates. Things don’t look good.
“It was a weird, scary moment,” remembers bassist Paolo Gregoletto today. “Matt had to get his voice checked first to make sure nothing was wrong, and then talk to the voice coach, and then it was like… ‘Screaming might not be a thing anymore.’”
It was the second time Matt had blown his voice out, throwing the future of the band into doubt. Adding to their feeling of instability, they also had to recruit a new drummer, Mat Madiro, right before recording their seventh record. Camp Trivium wasn’t the best place to be.
“It felt like everything was stacking up to create a vibe that wasn’t going to be exactly the right headspace you wanna go into with recording,” says Paolo diplomatically.
But schedules are schedules, and the band headed into the studio with producer Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette. Matt, known for agonising over every detail of the band, sometimes to the detriment of his wellbeing, was incredibly tense. He was unable to scream, only to sing, and was relying on the new techniques he’d learned from M. Shadows-approved coach Ron Anderson to carry his performance.
“I wasn’t able to expand my wings to their full extreme capabilities, and it was the same with our drumming – Mat was not able to go to the extreme level,” explains Matt. “He’s great at his style, but he wasn’t able to go to 10; nor was I. So that’s definitely a handicap on two ends.”
The result, born of these constraints, was Silence In The Snow: a traditional metal album with no unclean singing that harked back to classic artists such as Ronnie James Dio and Judas Priest. While it was a commercial success, hitting the US and the UK top 20 on its release in October 2015, it fractured Trivium’s hardcore fanbase, some of whom struggled to love its slowed-down pace and old-school feel.
“It just didn’t all click the way we were hoping for,” says Paolo bluntly.