Produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, A Day To Remember) the whole thing is thick while streamlined, making for state-of-the-art metal, but for all the brutishness on display there's definitely no lack of arena-ready choruses. That on Like A Sword Over Damocles – one of the most energetic tracks – plays perfectly off against the violence, and the soaring No Way Back Just Through, which is notably melodic throughout, is particularly powerful.
Three tracks break the seven-minute mark, and it is hard to say which is the best. The Shadow Of The Abattoir features some almost folky noodling during its verses and a towering refrain, while Fall Into Your Hands is perhaps the most poignant, though also featuring some killer riffs and immediately memorable soloing. Closer The Phalanx, however, covers the most sonic ground, starting out in a richly melodic vein, the track makes room for some edgy riffing, scathing twin leads, savage death metal-derived violence and features an epic climax that is riveting, making for the perfect ending to the record.
Taken together, this makes for one of 2021’s most compelling pure metal releases, and gives its makers reason to feel proud of their craft. Ably demonstrating that they have only grown stronger over the course of their 22-year career, it really would not be a surprise if they finally make the transition into arena-headlining status with In The Court Of The Dragon. These are songs that are built to be played from the largest stages, and deserve to be.
For fans of:
Machine Head, In Flames, Bullet For My Valentine
In The Court Of The Dragon is released on October 8 via Roadrunner.
READ THIS: The 20 greatest Trivium songs – ranked