Trivium // Malevolence // Live Review // The Ulster Hall // Belfast
We are Kicking in the New Year or more like kicking the shit out of the new year with two heavyweights of modern metal with Floridian heavy, progressive, thrash maestros Trivium and in tow Sheffields own, Malevolence! The latter not long after their first-ever headline appearance in the city return triumphant in a supporting role tonight and what a way to start 2023 with such a savage lineup.
We caughtMalevolence headlining the Sophie Lancaster Stage at Bloodstock 2022 and it was one of the stand-out performances of that weekend, followed up as mentioned by their first-ever headline tour coming through Ireland we were once treated again to the crushing brutality of this majestic musical collective. Malevolence never fails to deliver live, they are merciless in their attack on the senses and every time I see them I just love them a little bit more. Tight as a drum they relentlessly barrage the audience with as hefty a set as you’ll get anywhere, tossed out with such ease it’s hard to believe it’s live as they slay it from one side of the stage to the other, future greats no doubt Malevolence are now reaping the rewards for their hard work, tirelessly pushing the boundaries of the genre never afraid to test the water or dive right in. If do any reason you haven’t experienced a Malevolence set just yet, You need to see these guys live!
Malevolence’s set was short and sweet but hit the spot, as the guys exit the stage a curtain is dropped to block the view of the stage as the changeover takes place, in a quick turnaround Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” blares through the PA as the lights drop signalling shizzle is about to get very real – Trivium is in the building. I can see the guys enter the stage from stage right and take their places, the curtain hasn’t even dropped and Matt Heafy is already pulling his rockstar faces even though nobody can see him but the guys in the pit. Then it drops and the Ulster Hall is set alight through a barrage of colour and thrashing guitars.
Trivium have no shortage of material and seem to be mixing it up every night as they entertain a new crowd, having played two dates back to back in Dublin with the first night being sold out the Ulster Hall is near capacity tonight and you can feel it, the heat as the guys year their way through a blistering set is addictive! Cost of living crisis? Heating crisis? Not here good old Northern Ireland “Taps Aff” as the saying goes! The energy in the room is frantic, so much so after Malevolences set security have taken up posts in the middle of the floor to separate the circle of death as it takes song after song, keeping the over-excited kids and middle age ragers from ruining anyone’s night who doesn’t quite feel up to the challenge!
This in no way is taking away from the party atmosphere here at the ulster hall, as Matt Himself orchestrated the audience about Trivium etiquette in between songs, it’s “Ole Ole Ole Trivium! Trivium” as Belfast gloriously obliges … No shortage of material and nowhere to go Trivium have a captive audience here in Belfast lapping up everything they have to throw at them. 2006 was the last time the guys played this venue and as Matt recalls it was a savage night as many in the crowd here recall that night fourteen years later they are being treated to an altogether more polished experience.
Twenty years on the go Trivium are a force to be reckoned with, their latest offering In The Court OF The Dragon shows us the progression of this band and the journey they have been on, their set is a blistering collection of hard-hitting tracks that were born for the live stage, the thrashing guitars, pummelling double bass and Heafy’s melodic vocals intertwined with his guttural explosions make for a crazy musical tapestry that has the ulster hall in a frenzy.
I’ve seen Matt Heafy many a time on youtube doing his gear demos and live streams but live in the flesh is a real joy, the onstage relationships with the other guys and especially Corey Beaulieu is a beautiful thing to see live, and the ability to switch from the most violent riff to blistering finger melting solo work is a treat for a gearhead like myself and of course, Heafy’s lead tone is just glorious. The sound tonight is seriously tight, the guy’s guitars just slice through the mix and every gallop and scale is as clear as a whistle, mighty impressive. As the guys rip their way through an impressive collection of Trivium’s finest tracks there is no let up at all, no call for an encore and just as it started they end it on a dime! The lights go on and as I turn to one of our local legend of the heavy metal scene here in Northern Ireland Mr James Loveday, aka Mr Distortion Project he says “You cant beat a big production rock show” no you cant James, no you cant!
Photography: Mark McGrogan
#flashartmark @flashartmark for @rocknload
Dates line up as follows for the forthcoming UK & Ireland headline Dead Men & Dragons tour:
With support from Heaven Shall Burn and Malevolence:
Thu 12th Jan 2023 – GLASGOW O2 Academy
Fri 13th Jan 2023 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy *sold out
Sat 14th Jan 2023 – MANCHESTER O2 Victoria Warehouse *sold out
On release in October 2021, TRIVIUM’s tenth album, In The Court Of The Dragon crashed in at #1 in the UK’s Official Rock & Metal Albums chart (#20 in the UK Top 100 Albums chart). A vinyl edition followed in January 2022. The record was produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur and recorded at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.
Press hailed In The Court Of The Dragon yet another colossal triumph for the band, with Upset awarding it a full 5* rating, declaring “This is Trivium at the very top of their game. Pure unadulterated metal, this is gargantuan music for the biggest of all stages.” Powerplay (9/10) called it, “A truly fearless album…. stylish, inventive, and brutal as hell.” Metal Hammer (9/10) stated, “It’s hard to see who can compete with Trivium right now. In terms of a band playing contemporary, modern heavy metal, Trivium have been the best for some time. They still are, and In The Court Of The Dragon is a f*cking awesome heavy metal album.” “One of 2021’s most compelling pure metal releases,” raved Kerrang! concluding, “These are songs that are built to be played from the largest stages, and deserve to be.”