Latest release: Ember to InfernoWebsite: www.trivium.org
“It was a mission statement,” says Trivium’s Matt Heafy of the title of his band’s debut album Ember to Inferno. “Every album title we have, we want to make it a statement of where we were then and where we are now. Ember to Inferno represents the band starting off as a tiny idea growing into something bigger.”
Trivium has indeed grown into something bigger since the 17-year old Heafy and his then bandmates Brent Young and Travis Smith recorded that album in 2003. Six subsequent albums, five consecutive Billboard Top 30 placings and a million-plus worldwide sales, Trivium aren’t exactly the small fry they were then. Looking back on the Ab Initio edition of the album’s re-release, which features a collection of early demos, the guitarist is able to see the evolutionary curve of his band. He’s particularly proud of the fact that even back then, Trivium was a metal band.
“What is great about looking back is that we weren’t a drastically different band from what we are now. We weren’t a pop metal band or a pop punk band that rapidly changed direction into something that we weren’t,” he says. “What I can see is a clear blueprint for where we were going. Songs like ‘The Storm’ show me how we got to Shogun. Which is great. It’s great to see that the blueprints for the band have been around for so long.”
While he got the rights to the album back in 2014, it’s taken the gears until now to align for the proper release. Now, thirteen years after its first appearance, Ember to Inferno has just been given a make-over and re-issued by Heafy himself through the auspices of his management and Cooking Vinyl.
“Since Ember was first released it’s seemed a little bit cursed. When the record first came out, the distribution was in such a way that you couldn’t even buy it in our home city. That was kind of crushing,” Heafy explains. “And when the distribution got set up properly was about the same time as when Ascendancy came out, and that kind of eclipsed the release of Ember, so Ember never really had its spot in the sun.”
Heafy’s making sure that it gets noticed this time. Ember to Inferno’s re-issue is probably the most special Trivium release of their career so far, crammed with early tracks that pre-date Corey Beaulieu’s membership of the band.
“I knew that I wanted to have it the original way that it was, and then bundled with a bunch of stuff that made sense with the timing of the record that showed the very beginning of what Trivium was.”
Ember is now been available in five formats including the Ab Initio deluxe CD version featuring 13 bonus tracks and a whopping five-LP vinyl edition. It’s enough to make even the most casual fan drool, and there may have even been more if it weren’t for Heafy’s quality control.
“We had a lot more demos than what we included in the reissue release, but we wanted stuff that sounded good,” says the singer. “There are probably seven or so original songs that probably no one will ever hear because they weren’t recorded well enough.”
Looking back on it now, Heafy says he, “was surprised by how good the recording quality is, how good the songs are, how tight and how catchy it is but also how intense the record is.” The other big surprise for him is how different is it to the direct follow-up, their breakthrough release Ascendancy. It’s a discovery that is particularly pleasing for an artist who has always striven for variation and development across the catalogue.
“The biggest thing I’ve taken from looking back at this record is how uniquely different Ember to Inferno is as a record. I used to think of it as something similar to Ascendancy, whereas it’s very different to Ascendancy, and what I like about it is that it’s a very angry record. You can hear it vocally, and that’s something that I do like. It’s not something that I would want to rehash, but it is inspiring. It’s its own thing. It shows that we have seven records that are all very different to each other.”
When he’s asked if there’s any ideas from back then that he’s thought about re-working for future Trivium albums, Matt Heafy answers with a definite ‘No’ but “we do like to go back and look at how we were, or where we were”. Similarly, he’s reticent to predict what his band’s eighth album might be like.
“There’s no indication of where we’ll go with the next record. I think that’s something we’ll discover as we get closer to making it. Any time I’ve ever predicted (what it would be like) it’s always been different.”