Hailing from central Florida, Trivium formed in 2000 and quickly built a buzz around Orlando’s metal community with a blend of metalcore, thrash, and progressive metal flourish. Having secured a contract with the German imprint Lifeforce, the band issued its debut album, Ember to Inferno, in October 2003 with a lineup that included vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy, drummer Travis Smith, and bassist Brent Young. The debut was well received, and Trivium signed with Roadrunner Records for their next effort. Ascendancy appeared in March 2005, at which point the band’s roster had shifted to include Heafy, Smith, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and guitarist Corey Beaulieu. The album was reissued in May of the following year with four additional tracks and a bonus DVD. Trivium then visited the U.K. in June for the 2006 Download Festival, followed by multiple European headlining gigs and a stint with America’s traveling metal/hardcore fest Sounds of the Underground. The tour saw them playing alongside other heavy-hitting bands like As I Lay Dying, GWAR, Cannibal Corpse, and Terror.
The CrusadeCrusade appeared that fall, featuring a newfound emphasis on singing (previously, vocalist Matt Heafy had relied on screams and throaty growls). Despite the band’s active defense of Heafy’s vocal approach, Trivium received much criticism for their shift in sound; accordingly, they wasted no time in returning to a scream-filled thrash style with 2008’s Shogun. In 2010 the band announced drummer Nick Augusto would be replacing the departing Smith. Later that year the band went into the studio to begin work on their fifth studio album, In Waves, which was released in the summer of 2011 and saw the band bring a bold new approach and maturity in their songwriting. However, feeling that the album’s gestation process had been overlong and that they had produced too much material, they decided to focus on quality rather than quantity in the on-the-road writing sessions for their next record. The band tapped Disturbed’s David Draiman to produce, and the metal veteran took a real hands-on approach, bringing a new-found sense of melody to Trivium’s sound. The finished album, entitled Vengeance Falls, was slated for an October 2013 release.
Following the dissolution of Marilyn Manson/Korn-aping, nu-metal also-rans Coal Chamber, vocalist Dez Fafara hooked up with guitarists Evans Pitts and Jeffrey Kendrick, bassist Jon Miller, and drummer John Boecklin to form DevilDriver — a rather more extreme band dedicated to the subsequent hardcore-meets-death metal trends. Signed to Roadrunner like Fafara’s previous group, DevilDriver released their eponymous debut to mixed reviews in 2003, and then its even less appreciated follow-up, The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand (where Pitts was replaced by Mike Spreitzer), a couple of years later. Last Kind Words was released in 2007, again on Roadrunner. Regardless of public opinion, the band toured relentlessly across the U.S. and Europe behind all three releases. They got their day in the sun when their 2009 album, Pray for Villains, debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200. After touring with groups like Behemoth and Slipknot, DevilDriver went back into the studio to begin work on their fifth album. Beast, produced by Mark Lewis, was released in 2011. The band would team up with Lewis again for their next album, Winter Kills, which arrived in the summer of 2013.