Trivium launches a crusade.
By Austin Powell,
5:48PM, Thu. Feb. 22, 2007
Trivium wears its influences like a badge of honor. After the infamous Bruce Dickinson/Sharon Osbourne altercation at Ozzfest 2005, the Florida-based quartet clothed itself in Iron Maiden uniforms and marched with “The Trooper” on the second stage. Two years later, the metal band is now launching a Crusade of its own.
Into the Void: I like to think of you as the Lebron James of metal. What did you try to do to up your game for The Crusade?
Matt Heafy: We just wanted to make the type of music that we wanted to listen to, regardless of whether or not it’s metal. We just did it the way we wanted to.
ITV: I spoke to Corey Beaulieu last year, and he told me that he was listening to a ton of hair metal, and I could really hear that influence creeping into the album in terms of the texture of the sound and the stadium feel.
MH: I never really got into the hair metal myself, but everybody in the band has such eclectic tastes that the record doesn’t really make sense in terms of influences. When we were writing The Crusade I was listening to Kelly Clarkson mostly and some jazz, Elton John, the Beach Boys, and Elvis Costello. Now that I’m writing again, I’m coming up with all of this really weird, technical shit on one end and heavy metal rock on the other. Our favorite bands are still Maiden, Metallica, and Pantera. It’s just kind of bizarre.
ITV: It’s obvious that you feel a lot more comfortable vocally on the new record.
MH: I joined the band when I was 13. At that time, the only thing I could do was scream. By the time we recorded Ascendancy, it was about 50/50 with the singing, but through practice and vocal training, I was really able to get to a place where I was comfortable at doing more of that.
ITV: Trivium has already accomplished so much and earned the respect of all of those metal influences you listed. Have you had a favorite moment?
MH: There’s too much. Iron Maiden took us out on a six-week, sold-out European tour. We’ve jammed with all of the guys from the Pantera camp. We did a couple of shows with Metallica last summer, and they really like what we were doing. At least for us, that’s all the gratification we really need.
ITV: How did being one of the four captains for the Roadrunner United project influence your writing techniques?
MH: It pushed me to write for different styles of metal, and it forced me to write while being out on the road, which is something I hadn’t really done before, and it’s helped enormously since. We only had a week to come up with those songs.
ITV: Were you surprised at how well that album actually came together?
MH: I was really happy with all of the songs. My favorite song on there is “Dawn of the Golden Age.” When I was younger I listened to black metal quite a bit, so I was happy that I could pull that off.
ITV: It was interesting to hear you penned a song with King Diamond to say the least.
MH: At the time, I had only heard a couple of King Diamond or Mercyful Fate songs, so that experience was a little different. It worked out pretty well.
ITV: There’s the song “Anthem (We Are the Fire)” on The Crusade. Did you feel pressure to turn out that one song that everyone could latch on to since there hasn’t really been one thus far?
MH: That one just kind of wrote itself. It happened about a year before I really even thought about sitting down for the new record.
ITV: The Crusade tackles a lot of themes that metal bands don’t usually touch on: racism, sexism, homophobia, and the negative effects of violence. What can you tell me about “And Sadness Will Sear?”
MH: That song was written about Matthew Shepherd. A few years ago, he was attacked and beaten badly for his sexuality. Our band has always been about acceptance of every kind of life. His story has been largely forgotten, and a lot of our younger fans probably aren’t even aware of it, so that was our way of introducing this issue to the general public.
ITV: Why is the issue of homophobia, which is a large part of “Ignition” as well, so important for the band?
MH: I’ve always been supportive of people’s individual lifestyle preferences. Either everything should be okay, or nothing should. But I definitely don’t support any lifestyles that infringe upon or hurt others; that is where you have to draw the line. The Crusade is my attempt to really express everything that I’ve seen going wrong in society. Those songs need to exist so that people that are listening, that are reading the lyrics, can possibly have something they can identify with and something that pushes them to make a change in their own lives or in the world.