When Trivium released their title-track, “The Sin And The Sentence,” heads turned and most assuredly banged uncontrollably. But what about the full album, and does it live up to its unbelievable first impression? As a major fan of Trivium, I am happy to report that it most assuredly does. Instrumentally, they’ve let their influences and interests–most notably death metal–shine, and while their October 20th release very easily could have been deemed as an identity crisis, Trivium, in the process, have instead found who they are as a band even more than ever before. Most importantly, this record screams out loud that Trivium aren’t just one thing, they are many. From Ember to Inferno to Silence In The Snow, this record blends it all together to become not necessarily their best album ever made, but the best representation of their evolution as a band, and the most self-actualized release they’ve ever created.
Opening up with the previously released, “The Sin And The Sentence,” Trivium’s 8th studio record explodes out of the gate with a ravenous and insatiable hunger. What began with an ominous, building intro, unleashes into a fiery madness that’s fueled further by blasting drums, ardent vocals, and feverish riffs. Though it shows a variance from their previous discography, their title-track’s not necessarily an all-encompassing representation of the record. There are many more surprises to be discovered throughout as they continue to explore different avenues of their sound. Immediately displaying Trivium’s uncanny ability to beautifully construct songs as well as lyrically and instrumentally impress, The Sin And The Sentence, from the get go, grips you by the throat.
Following is “Beyond Oblivion,” and though it’s not as fast and in your face as its predecessor, its differing pace doesn’t mean its any less successful in its approach. Apart from having a great song structure, it features some of the fastest double bass Trivium has ever put out thanks to new drummer, Alex Bent. Side note: It’s apparent throughout that this one’s a keeper. Creating this aura of dystopia around the track are the lyrics, which are supplemented by gang vocals that ask us the harrowing question, “What have we done?” amidst Matt Heafy‘s powerful growls that speak of “Creation’s demise.” Ripping and roaring into your existence up until this point, Trivium offer you a brief chance to recover as they transition into a bouncy, half-time tempo. A classic Trivium dueling guitar solo comes in around 3:33, causing you to grimace in the best way imaginable. Ending not too far after, “Beyond Oblivion” closes with one final and triumphant chorus.
Trivium – “The Sin And The Sentence” (Official Video)
Perking your ears up after is “Other Worlds,” which begins with Heafy screaming off in the distance, like echoes in the background. What begins atmospherically, switches gears as he passionately calls out, “Is there hope to break through all the walls built around you.” Chorus-wise, it features one of the catchiest moments on the record, paralleled only by their single, “The Heart From Your Hate.” As a vocally-driven track, the instrumental elements take on a more steady drive throughout. With that said, it is here that we really get to hear Heafy shine as he pushes his vocals to the very limit. The best moment of “Other Worlds,” however, comes in a stripped down section, featuring at first only Heafy and Bent. As the moment builds, the instruments slowly come in like a symphony, one by one layering upon the other until it breaks flawlessly back into the chorus. Closing the curtain on the track are the two harmonizing guitars of Corey Beaulieu and Heafy, that rise over the softly dimming, yet bright, instrumentals. Leaving those who listen with this uplifting feeling after playing what I can only describe as the audible depiction of the sun peaking out over the dark clouds.
The vengeful “Betrayer” continues to raise the momentum, but falls short, especially given the song writing capabilities they’ve showcased thus far. It’s not a bad song by any means, but with an album this strong, songs that don’t reach a certain caliber stick out like a sore thumb. Per usual, phenomenal drum and guitar work, but repetitiveness is its downfall. “The Wretchedness Inside,” a song Matt originally ghost wrote for another band, made its way onto The Sin And The Sentence as a reworked version. This is the most groove-oriented we’ve heard Trivium, and the guitars even drop out, allowing Paolo Gregoletto and his bass to become the star. The In Waves era is present here with the key the song’s in and the delivery of the vocals, making it equal parts heavy and catchy. Also highlighted here are crash cymbals and at one point, a surprising, Slipknot-esque delivery from Heafy. And finally, you have to tip your hat off to that glorious tapping solo. I always hate using the word epic, but that’s the only way to accurately describe how this song makes you feel.
Trivium – “The Heart From Your Hate” (Official Video)
Slowing things down is another reworked track, “Endless Night,” which has an intro that sounds like an ode to Ember to Inferno. It’s a purely clean singing track, but I don’t see that as a negative. I know it’s polarizing, but personally, I loved Silence In The Snow, and I’m pleased to hear its influence on the record with songs like these, particularly heard within the choruses. Also, there’s a blazing guitar solo that appears out of nowhere, sort of like something Zakk Wylde would do. It’s not as crazy or lengthy, but it’s similar in its random, yet fitting, appearance in the track. As a much more restrained outing, that little touch makes it an essential, and also thrilling, listen. It provides the calm before the storm that is “Sever The Hand,” which falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. Predominately featuring unclean vocals, it’s something many fans will be relieved to hear on The Sin And The Sentence. Their thrash influence comes through here, but the drums are nothing other than pure death metal. It sounds like a possibly odd combination, but it just works. You’ll also be surprised to hear a hardcore punk-like gang vocal towards its end.
Rounding out the bunch is “Beauty In The Sorrow,” that begins with a grungy, almost QOTSA effect, “The Revanchist,” an absolute decent into madness featuring lengthy instrumental interludes, and “Thrown Into The Fire,” which wows with a machine gun double bass. The final track does exactly what it says by throwing you into the fire, and though its not my favorite on the record, it sends things off like an erupting volcano. If you’ve been a fan of Trivium since the beginning, you’ll hear their entire career, but you’ll also hear things you’ve never heard before. With the most screaming we’ve heard in recent records and Trivium at their most self-aware, The Sin And The Sentence is not just a celebration, but also the evolution, of a band that has risen to become one of the very best in today’s metal elite.
Trivium’s The Sin And The Sentence releases this Friday, October 20th, via Roadrunner Records. If you have yet to pick up a copy, you can do so here! If your looking to hear their new songs live, you can catch them this Fall on their co-headline tour with Arch Enemy.
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