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Trivium steadily raised its metal flag through the old-fashioned method—relentless touring. The band took any and all opening slots, priming crowds for Metallica, Iron Maiden, Killswitch Engage, Machine Head, DragonForce, Korn, and Megadeth before graduating to headliner status. That constant grind was fueled by 10 full-length releases that incorporate varying tints and tinges of their three core musical tenets: metalcore, melodic death metal, and thrash. (The band derives their name from a Latin word that means “three-way intersection,” describing their combination of these aggressive subgenres.)
And while tone dictates many decisions made by a guitarist, touring comes with a cost and might be the one thing that could trump a player’s desired setup or sound. Now, with elevated gas prices, venues fleecing bands for merch cuts, and overall hiked inflation, many artists are having to compromise and condense their live arsenal. Thankfully, digital modelers like the Fractal Axe-Fx and Kemper Profiler have made that decision easier (or harder, depending where one sits on the digital-versus-analog debate). Trivium embraced the future in the early 2010s, when they shifted towards the Axe-Fx II and then pivoted to the Kemper Profiler.
“We were one of the first bands to use Axe-Fx and Kemper, and both those things rule,” says Matt Heafy. So, it’s rare to see a hard-charging, globetrotting force like Trivium—who were rocking Kempers during our 2014 Rig Rundown—return to their roots, blasting through furious 5150-style heads after nearly a decade on the digital dial.
“In 2019, when we were in the studio recording What the Dead Men Say, we didn’t have any amps and it was a bummer. We had to scramble to find somebody who had tube amps that we could use to track, so after we finished that album, I never wanted to be stuck in that situation again. I scoured Reverb and bought all my favorite amps and everything we used for all our past albums. Through that process, I really got back into messing with gear,” explains Corey Beaulieu.
Onstage, the return of the stacks enhanced their performance. “The modelers had a slight latency—I don’t think the crowd noticed the difference—and I felt that if we could shave off a little bit of that by bringing back the amps, reducing the response even closer to zero, we’d be better for it. We’ve just really loved returning to live tube heads.”
The afternoon ahead of Trivium’s headlining performance at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works on October 14, guitarists Beaulieu and Heafy joined PG’s Chris Kies to cover the pair’s smorgasbord of signature gear—they know what they like, and brands are eager to hit their high standards—and why they transitioned back to traditional tube-drenched tone.