Any discussion of the top metal bands of the 2000s has to include Trivium. Since its formation in 1999 in Orlando, Florida, the band has released eight albums packed with songs ranging from brutally heavy to hook-filled and melodic, and containing everything in between. The recurring hiccup the band has experienced through the past several years has occurred behind the drums. Alex Bent, who joined in 2016 and made his recording debut on last year’s “The Sin and the Sentence,” is the fifth to man the throne for Trivium. Live Metal’s Greg Maki caught up with him for a quick chat at the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio.
LIVE METAL: So we’re here at Rock on the Range. Trivium has played here a few times. Have they played here since you’ve been in the band?
ALEX BENT: No, this is my first time playing this festival.
Have you been here at all before?
No, I have not. This is a first time for me.
I was at Carolina Rebellion a couple weeks ago, and the crowd was just going insane for you guys. How was that show for you?
Right when we had got off stage, I think (vocalist/guitarist) Matt (Heafy) had said it best. He said it was the craziest show they had ever played in the States. Yeah, it was just amazing seeing the reaction of these people. It kind of had sort of the European feel to it, where people are singing the melodies and moshing and going crazy. It was a good time.
He said on stage it was the best North American crowd (Trivium ever had). Guys in bands are always saying things like that to pump the crowd up, but I guess he really meant that.
Yeah. Last night, Matt said the same thing. Matt’s really honest, and he’ll say, “You guys need to step it up.” When we were in Europe, he would say every single night, “You want to beat Paris? Then you need to step it up.” And he’s saying the same thing about Carolina Rebellion still, just saying, “This was the best. It’s your guys’ job to try to top it.”
Overall, how does the growing festival scene here compare to Europe, where it’s been huge for a long time?
You can see that they’re getting bigger. For me, personally, it’s my first time experiencing all of this, but I know the guys have been doing these festivals for a while, and they’ve said that they just keep getting bigger and bigger.
The newest album, “The Sin and the Sentence,” came out last fall. I think one of the really cool things about Trivium is that they’ve never made the same album twice. Going into this, were there specific goals for how it was going to sound?
Well, basically, what it was, was just riffs and ideas, and a couple dudes getting together in a room and just writing music. There wasn’t really a plan like, “It has to sound like this,” or “It has to be like this.” This album was just, “Hey, let’s all get together and vibe, and see where it goes.” It was all very easy and very natural. We wrote the album fairly fast, just a constant flow and a good work ethic from everybody. And at the end of it, it seems like we have an album that kind of covers all the bases of every album that they’ve put out, because like you said, every album is sort of different. But with this, it ended up being heavy and melodic and catchy at the same time, which is cool. That gives you a broad base to work with.
Yeah. As you say, there’s such a broad base across the whole catalog. Do you change up the set lists depending on who you’re playing with? For a festival like this, you probably wouldn’t play all of the heaviest stuff.
Yeah. We’re the kind of guys that we want to push it as much as possible. We all like heavy and brutal stuff. The set list today is so different from the set that we were just playing in Europe a month ago. But it’s cool to, like you said, have all these different songs to choose from for different situations.
Do you have a favorite style? Do you prefer the heavier stuff or something else?
I’m always up for the fast, brutal stuff. I want to have that intensity. For festivals like this, it’s good to also have the songs that people can sing along to and vibe to. So I’m happy with anything, regardless. It’s always fun as a drummer to be challenged. I’m always the first one saying, “Hey, if you guys want to do this song, this brutal one, I’m down. You don’t have to ask me twice.”
Are there any songs from the catalog that you haven’t gotten a chance to play live that you really want to?
Um, not off the top of my head. I kind of just take it as I go. I look at the set, and whatever’s on there is on there. I’m happy with playing whatever.
And as you said, you change it up a lot.
Yeah, yeah. We can always change it up. The songs are always there. We’ll kind of go with what’s feeling right, where we are geographically—everything. It’s good with having Paolo (Gregoletto), the bass player, he’s really good with putting together set lists and strategizing a little bit, if that makes sense.
Are you going to hang out and watch some other bands today? Is there anyone you’re looking forward to seeing?
Not off the top of my head, to be honest. I don’t even really know who’s on this festival. We’ve been on the road for like 10 weeks straight, so I’m kind of fried. But I’m sure I’ll end up walking around and checking some stuff out. That’s always fun to do after you play—get some food, get a couple drinks and listen to some music. Whoever’s around, I’ll probably end up checking them out.
You said you like playing the fast stuff, but just in general as a fan, where do your tastes go?
I like everything from jazz fusion to country to hip hop to brutal death metal. When it comes to the metal stuff, I really like brutal stuff. I like underground death metal, everything from Cannibal Corpse to Deeds of Flesh, Severed Savior, Nile, Krisiun. That’s kind of more my ballpark. But I try to be open-minded and listen to everything. I think everyone has something to say, so I enjoy lots of stuff.
I’m sure you have a lot more press and other things to do, so I won’t take up any more of your time. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’m just happy to be here, and for those at the festival, I hope you have fun.