A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation

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"A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation"
A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation.jpg
Promo CD single cover
Promotional single by Trivium from the album Ascendancy
Released May 2005 (2005-05)
Genre Metalcore
Length 5:55 (album version)
4:31 (edited version)
Label Roadrunner
Ascendancy track listing
"A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation"
"Like Light to the Flies"

"A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation", often referred to as "Gunshot", is a song by American heavy metal band Trivium. Written by Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu, both of whom perform vocals and guitars on the track, it was featured on the band's second studio album Ascendancy in 2005. The song was also released as a promotional single in May 2005, with an accompanying music video following in September. "Gunshot" is often cited as one of the band's most popular songs, and has been performed at live shows consistently since its release.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

According to Trivium frontman Matt Heafy, who wrote the lyrics for the song and co-wrote the music with guitarist and backing vocalist Corey Beaulieu,[1] "A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation" is written from the point of view of a child who is either a victim of child abuse or a witness to domestic violence, and is described by the vocalist and guitarist as "the punching bag for the underdog".[2] Speaking in a track-by-track commentary of the album released on Spotify in 2015, Heafy explained that "the outcome of the story of this song was that someone was able to create something out of [being abused]", and that it means "putting that terror away ... by allowing yourself to grow from it and learn from it and not harm yourself or anyone around you negatively from it".[2]

Heafy began writing the song in Las Vegas, Nevada during the band's second concert tour, noting that he played the riff for drummer Travis Smith while the two were "drunk and fucked up", who then added the preliminary drum parts by "playing something on the floor".[3] The gang vocals during the later stages of the song were recorded while the album was being mixed at Andy Sneap's Backstage Studios in Ripley, Derbyshire.[3] They were performed by Heafy, Smith, Sneap, Chad Sunderland and Gizz Butt.[1]

Promotion and release[edit]

Following its inclusion on Ascendancy in March 2005,[4] "A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation" was released as a promotional single in May 2005 featuring an edited version of the track.[5] The song was included on the 2005 Ozzfest Summer Sampler CD,[6] before the band's performance of the track at the festival was included on the Ozzfest 10th Anniversary live video album released later in the year.[7] According to set list aggregation website setlist.fm, "Gunshot" is the band's third most frequently performed song at live shows, behind "Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr" and "Down from the Sky".[8]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation" was filmed in Orlando, Florida on June 21, 2005.[9] Directed by Shane Drake,[10] the video featured a crowd made up of 300 of the band's fans, who were recruited the previous week.[9] It was premiered in September 2005.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Vik Bansal of musicOMH praised the song for featuring a "burst of melodic backing vocals", as well as "the unexpected but effective" gang vocal section near the end of the track.[12] PopMatters writer Cosmo Lee likened the song's use of guitar harmonies to those performed by James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett on Metallica's 1988 fourth studio album ...And Justice for All,[13] while AllMusic's Johnny Loftus highlighted bassist Paolo Gregoletto's performance on the track.[4]




  1. ^ a b Ascendancy (Media notes). Trivium. Roadrunner Records. 2005. 
  2. ^ a b Heafy, Matt (Narrator) (March 17, 2015). Ascendancy (Commentary Version) by Trivium. Spotify. 
  3. ^ a b "Hall Of Fame: Trivium - Ascendancy". Rock Sound. Freeway Press Inc. July 15, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Loftus, Johnny. "Ascendancy - Trivium: Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Trivium - A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation". Encyclopaedia Metallum. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ozzfest 2005 Summer Sampler Track Listing Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. June 22, 2005. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  7. ^ "'Ozzfest 10th Anniversary' DVD/CD Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. October 26, 2005. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Trivium Tour Statistics". setlist.fm. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Trivium Seek 'Biggest Fans' For Upcoming Video Shoot". Blabbermouth.net. June 16, 2005. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  10. ^ ""A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation" by Trivium: Music Video". VH1. MTV. September 20, 2005. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Trivium - "A gunshot to the head of trepidation"". mvdbase.com. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  12. ^ Bansal, Vik (March 14, 2005). "Trivium – Ascendancy". musicOMH. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  13. ^ Lee, Cosmo (June 5, 2005). "Trivium: Ascendancy". PopMatters. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  14. ^ http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/19863-trivium-vengeance-is-fine

External links[edit]