In The Court Of The Dragon

In The Court Of The Dragon

After releasing their ninth album in April 2020, Floridian metal veterans Trivium were faced with the same touring prospects as everyone else at the dawn of the COVID era: none to speak of. So, they hunkered down and began work on In the Court of the Dragon. “Knowing that it was going to be album 10, we all realized it was very significant,” bassist Paolo Gregoletto tells Apple Music. “We knew it was a milestone, so it had to live up to that.” As such, Gregoletto and his bandmates—guitarist/vocalist Matt Heafy, guitarist Corey Beaulieu, and drummer Alex Bent—settled on a sufficiently epic lyrical theme: creating their own myths. “We took inspiration from existing mythology and made our own thing,” he says. “We wanted the whole album to feel as though the themes and characters are all part of one story.” Below, he details each track. “X” “We opened the last record with ‘IX’ because it was our ninth album, and I feel like this record and our last one are connected in some way—almost like a double album—because that one was released at the beginning of the pandemic and this one was made during it. We had worked with Ihsahn before on the intro for Silence in the Snow, and he created the incredible intro for this record too. He also helped us with orchestration and synths to give the other songs some textures as well.” “In the Court of the Dragon” “We had this melody from a live soundcheck we did in Tokyo in 2008 or 2009, and Corey really wanted to use it on a new song. That melody led to the main riff, the one that kicks in right away. Then we wrote the rest of the song and realized that we didn’t need that melody anymore, because it didn’t fit. So, it inspired the song and then went away. Once the song came together in the jam room, it became very apparent that it would probably be the opening track and the title track.” “Like a Sword Over Damocles” “This was how we got into the whole mythmaking theme. Corey had a demo called ‘Sword Over Damocles,’ and I remembered reading the story of Damocles when I was in school. Once we realized we were going to be creating our own myths for the lyrics, we wrote about a character dealing with the weight and anxiety of power—having those things hanging over you and always having your life in the balance of the actions you take. So, it’s not a retelling of the story of Damocles, but we used those themes.” “Feast of Fire” “The song that you hear as ‘Feast of Fire’ on the album came out of the middle section of the demo, which was much faster. We started changing it in the studio, which is way late in the process for us and not something we would normally do. But I’m glad we did because it became something a little different for us—we took this trashy riff and slowed it down, so it feels like something new. Then that melody singing part just kind of came out of nowhere and it started feeling like a definite single.” “A Crisis of Revelation” “This is a song that Matt brought in. The first time we jammed it, it was a little more [2003’s] Ember to Inferno style. If you know our band, you probably know what I’m talking about. We recorded a demo that way, but when we came back a month later, I felt like the song was calling out to be really fast—more of a thrashy Ascendancy style mixed with the newer style that Alex really brings to our band. So, we scrapped the demo and started playing it more intense, which really made it come together. There’s also a cool key change at the end, which makes the part feel bigger.” “The Shadow of the Abattoir” “I had the middle-section riffs for this when I was still living in Chicago in April of last year. We were stuck at home like everyone else, not touring, so I was writing a lot. Then I moved back to Florida, and I was on my Twitch stream, and I started playing these bass chords that I really liked. This song was calling out to be a big epic, so we got Ihsahn to add some layers in the first half.” “No Way Back Just Through” “This came from a demo I did for the last record that we never jammed, because we pretty much had all the songs we needed at that point. It’s got a real driving double-bass part that reminds me of ‘Painkiller’ by Judas Priest. Lyrically, nothing on this record deals with any of the things that have been happening in the real world because I think we wanted to steer clear of that stuff. But I did see an article about the pandemic that said there’s no way to turn back through this. We just have to get through it and continue forward. It just felt right for this song.” “Fall Into Your Hands” “This is the first song we worked on together, so it really set the pace for this record. I think the reason we have so many epic proggy parts on this record is because we realized how much fun that stuff is to write when we put together this song. At the time, we didn’t have any touring set up, nothing on the horizon except making this record, so maybe this song reflects that. And the drum part on the intro is just crazy. I watched Alex record it, and I still don’t know how he plays it because it sounds like there’s more hands hitting things than he has.” “From Dawn to Decadence” “Matt brought in some of the riffs for this one, and I got the title from a history book. It was a later song in the process, and those are always the toughest songs to figure out, because you’ve got so much material already and you’re trying not to step on any of the other songs. You’re trying to be creative and dynamic, so we did a lot of experimenting with this one as far as the tempo and the vocals. Even up to the last minute, we were experimenting with production tricks for the vocal sound on the verses. It was a very tough song to finalize.” “The Phalanx” “Anyone who thinks this song reminds them of something from the [2008] Shogun album, well, you are correct. It comes from a demo from that album, and it was almost on the record. The original middle section, however, was taken out and put onto the song ‘Torn Between’ on that album. So, we were left with a really cool Part A and Part C. When we decided to write a new middle section, it became a total riff-fest—Corey, Matt, and I all came up with riffs that flowed together. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, it’s a good metaphor for where our sound has settled in for the last few records—a good link between the old and the new.”

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