Trivium dropped their tenth studio album, In The Court Of The Dragon via Roadrunner Records last Friday.
Produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur, In The Court Of The Dragon is Trivium in full-scale modern metal god mode. In The Court Of The Dragon was preceded by the singles In The Court Of The Dragon, Feast Of Fire and The Phalanx and the seamless integration of classic metal with Trivium's trademark sound featured on each provides a good overview of the sonic territory covered over In The Court Of The Dragon's ten tracks of pure metal.
Following an opening week of universal acclaim from fans and critics alike, Trivium's bass player Paulo Gregoletto was kind enough to spend some time with Maniacs, giving us the inside word on the creation of In The Court Of The Dragon and granting us some fascinating insights into life inside the camp of one of the biggest metal bands in the world.
Trivium’s new album In The Court Of The Dragon has been out for about a week and so far the response has been super positive from your fans. How has the positive response to the album made you feel?
"It feels good. When you make a record, you never know how people are going to respond, but I felt like the last two, were an indicator that we were on the right path. The response has been really, really positive, across the board. I feel like even outside of our normal fan base, this album seems to have caught a lot of people's attention. It looks like we might end up having our highest charting record in the UK ever with this one, which I was pleasantly surprised to hear. We’re still taking it all in right now, but we’re so thankful and grateful that we were able to make the record and that we’ve been able to do at least one tour so far, hopefully, we’ll have more to come"
It's really interesting that you’re on the verge of your highest chart position in the UK because I feel like that quantifies the general feeling of renewed interest in Trivium right now, all across the metal world. Why do you think people are so into your band right now?
I think that The Sin And The Sentence was a bit of a turnaround for us, that plus obviously getting Alex Bent into the band kind of gave us a bit of new energy in the writing department. From that moment, we just really kind of started to find a good groove again and we were able to channel some of that enthusiasm and energy and ideas from earlier album’s like Ascendancy and Shogun, and we were able to mix those things in with our additional experience and abilities.
Alex is such a phenomenal drummer, and I truly think that has been a big part of it. Drumming is such a big part of metal, and Alex has such an incredible amount of skill that it allows us to do things we’ve not been able to before. So it is a combination of all that stuff, plus we’ve done some great touring over the last few years has made us such a tighter live band than we’ve even been before, so we’ve been able to channel that into the records as well.
Also doing the records back to back has been a big thing for us as well, I think it added to the consistency between the records. Being able to just move on making the next one has allowed us to in my opinion anyway surpass what we achieved on What The Dead Men Say. I think all of that has added up to people getting more interested in our band again. Whether it is old fans coming back to the fold, or new ones hearing about us for the first time it seems that everyone has just been really stoked on what they’re hearing."
Did having your own HQ, in the form of an aeroplane hanger, make it easier for you to continue to be productive during the pandemic. It does seem to an outsider like that gave you a bit of a unique advantage?
"We didn't actually have it for the last record, we were actually using our old spot, which was not nearly as spacious or accommodating as the hangar, but you know, it was a place that we could rehearse and write music in, so luckily, we were able to use that space.
Then we recorded at Full Sail, which is a big music University here, and we were trying to be as safe as possible, so we booked the whole studio for ourselves. Which meant we were able to put time into rehearsing and into writing in a way that we haven’t been able to before. I think that really helped us a lot on this one.
We also knew that making back-to-back records isn’t all that typical anymore. Back in the day, Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin would put out a record twice in a year and that was considered normal. Now there’s definitely a cycle that fans expect to last about three years, so we definitely accelerated that by releasing the record so soon after the last one, but we did that because we had a lot of material that we felt very comfortable and confident in and once we got into the studio with our producer Josh we knew we had the songs that we needed to have to put out a record like this."
That must be an awesome feeling, being able to capture musical lightning in a bottle like that. It must also be an awesome feeling to work with Ihsahn, which you did on a number of tracks on this album. Is teenage you still amazed that you get to work with a member of Emperor?
"To be able to ask such a legendary guy to help us and to have him say yes is definitely pretty cool. He’s helped us out before by doing the intro to The Silence In The Snow, but this was a little bit more involved because we essentially asked him to go through every song that we had for the record and just chuck cool ideas that he had into the mix. And so many of those ideas worked with the space available on this record. There was a lot of room for big orchestrations, cool synth parts and textures, that we normally don’t have. It’s definitely a new thing for us, but it felt like the right time to add it, as the last two records had been organically building up to a moment like this.
So this is the grand third entry in what we are internally considering our trilogy of Alex records. This is the big grand one that ends this phase of our creativity. So I don't know where we go from here. But I don't even want to think about that. At this point. I just want to enjoy playing the songs and kind of like figuring out what's next down the line once we get some tours under our belt."
Let’s talk a little bit about the spectacular artwork for In The Court Of The Dragon by renowned french artist Mathieu Nozieres. First of all, how cool is it? And secondly, was it wild seeing your band’s album artwork displayed in a major art gallery?
"We felt like the music needed that level of artwork. We wanted it to be an elaborate, epic painting and we could’ve chosen something in the public domain, but we decided we wanted to get something done that way ours, forever. We plan on hanging it up at the hangar one day. Getting the opportunity to work with someone that is so good at their craft, who works in a medium that is so far outside of your wheelhouse, was amazing. We gave him the title of the record and let him roll and three months later we had this masterpiece to call our own. To me, it is everything that I love about metal and about album covers in one piece. every time I look at In The Court Of The Dragon I find myself impressed by a new level of detail that I haven’t noticed before. I love it."
Trivium has always been a band that kind of incorporates a lot of newer technology in what you're doing in terms of your marketing and fan outreach. This has been particularly true since Matt became a massive Twitch star. You continued this trend by making a collaborative video for The Phalanx with Elder Scrolls Online. What inspired that collaboration and is that the type of thing we can expect more of from Trivium in the future?
"We’d talked about doing these types of things in the past, and then with Roadrunner getting more involved in the eSports and gaming overall, there was an opportunity to expand on these natural connections that had been developing over the last few years.
When we started talking to them, they were curious if we’d be willing to do a song for them and of course, we had a new album coming out, so we handed them a few of the songs and they picked 'The Phalanx'. They gave us the game footage and said they’d use some performance footage if we had any, so we shot three performance videos in our hangar space and they took the footage from 'The Phalanx' and edited it together with the gameplay footage and it turned out to be a really seamless collaboration.
We’re all big into games and always have been, so there’s always been a natural connection to it and we’ve never felt like we had to force our way into it just for the sake of marketing. We game as a band all of the time. Even on this last tour we did, we were all backstage with our PC rigs set up side-by-side as Megadeth was playing, and we’re just hunched over with our laptop in the corner."
That’s amazing! As you’re looking back over your career with Trivium, is there a song or a part that you’ve personally written that you wish got more love from your fans?
"Well, I mean, I'm in a weird spot because my job is to play bass, so while I do play the guitar as well, I don’t necessarily expect that people will be aware of that or know what songs I’ve written for the band, because there’s not a lot of bass players out there that are primary songwriters. If I had to pick one song that I’ve written though, then hands down it would be 'In Waves' and then probably 'Down From The Sky'.
The thing with us though is that we jam so much, that everything becomes collaborative. Take a song off of this record Like A Sword Over Domocles for instance, Corey brought in a lot of the main riffs for that song, but we jammed on it so much that a lot of the middle section that ended up on the record was written on the spot. That’s how it has been since Shogun, it’s so much more mixed. It is very collaborative."
That’s good to hear that it is still a collaborative experience at Trivium because I know a lot of bands in this genre space are very much driven by one guy’s ideas!
"I don’t think we’d have bought a hangar to base ourselves in for jamming and recording if it was just one guy calling all of the shots, that wouldn’t make a lot of sense. That time rehearsing and jamming together has always been a big thing for us, it is so integral to everything. I think the magic of what makes a record good comes from that."
Paulo, changing things up a bit, outside of music what’s something that you consider yourself to be a bit of a Maniac for?
Definitely food. I don’t want to say we are food snobs, but we do really enjoy food on tour. I grew up in a household with a Dad that was a really good cook and I was always exposed to a lot of different stuff and that has definitely carried over into my adult years. The opportunities that we get to explore that interest on tour is amazing. You said you’re in Melbourne, right? That’s such a great city. We love eating in that city. We’re lucky enough to be friends with the chef of that restaurant Chin Chin, and I think about eating in that place all of the time.
So on tour, we’ll always try to go and explore different restaurants and go out of our way to try and meet the people behind the food. It’s cool because I feel like a lot of the people involved in that scene are really heavily into music and the different cultural things we’re all into, so there’s a natural crossover there. Plus we also just really appreciate good food, so we’re always open to hooking up servers and chefs with tickets when we can to show appreciation for what they do."
As a Floridian, I’ll assume you’ve seen some pro-wrestling in your time. So I feel like you’ll have no trouble answering this one. If you were able to have any song play whenever you enter a room, just like the pro-wrestlers do, what song would you like it to be?
Probably 'Roots Bloody Roots' by Sepultura. It has such a good groove that would be perfect for an entrance song. Our assistant tour manager was an MMA fighter and he and Matt train together in jujitsu a lot on tour, he actually walked out to a few Bellator fights to our song 'In Waves', so that’s another good one, if I wanted to be egotistical about it, I know that 'In Waves' works!"
In The Court Of The Dragon is out now via Roadrunner Records.