Written by Alex Stojanovic
The Sin & The Sentence
The Heart From Your Hate
The Wretchedness Inside
Sever The Hand
Beauty In The Sorrow
Thrown Into The Fire
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Label: Roadrunner Records
Matt Heafy - Lead vocals & guitars Corey Beaulieu - Lead guitars & backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto - Bass & backing vocals Alex Bent - Drums & percussion
Over the last couple of years, Trivium had more mystique going on when it came to making albums by staying silent on social media and spontaneously releasing the first taste and details of the record when it's completed, which is a good idea because that's old-school, and I wouldn't be surprised if they continue down this path with future albums. After the more melodic direction on Silence In The Snow, the band have returned with a vengeance on their eighth album The Sin & The Sentence. I'm always excited for a new Trivium record, but I can honestly say that I haven't been this excited for a new record since Shogun when I was 16.
Upon its release, the record's opening title track got us all salivating excessively with its complex composition and the summation of all the Trivium elements we've come to love. The screams and insane drumming from Ascendancy, the amazing clean vocals from Silence In The Snow, the technical and dark riffs and epic feel from Shogun, the melodic metalcore vibe of In Waves, and the thrash from The Crusade, they're all there. New drummer, Alex Bent's technical skills seemed to have had a big impact on the album's direction. He seems like the perfect hybrid of Travis Smith with the creativity and precision, and Nick Augusto with the intensity and blast beats. He's the perfect fit.
As we start our descent down the album, we arrive at another high point, which is "Beyond Oblivion". The main riff can be heard played over top of different rhythms. I can see this song becoming a fan favourite and one that guitar players will have fun learning and playing. I would have to say the chorus is one of the highlights of this track. The dark touch in the vocals makes this one of the best choruses on the record. Other areas where Heafy's impressive clean vocals are put into the spotlight are "Other Worlds", "The Heart From Your Hate" and "Endless Night". The latter two might be the more radio-friendly tracks here, but they're what give the album variety instead of remaining brutal all the way through. If you were to ask me if "Endless Night" is better than "The Heart From Your Hate", my answer is "yes". It's slightly heavier and more epic, but still really melodic. The end of "Other Worlds" contains one of the biggest guitar moments on the album, with a huge majestic harmonized lead between Heafy and Corey Beaulieu, which will be perfect in a live setting with the crowd singing the guitar melody. It gives me goosebumps.
As far as the heavier and more aggressive tracks go, there's plenty of those to be found here like "Betrayer", which is paralleled with the title track in terms of heaviness and melody. The melodic tremolo-picked riffs, especially the ones after the solo bring Amon Amarth to mind, and the harmonized section at the end will get audiences singing along in a live setting. The middle section of "Sever The Hand" gives me flashbacks of The Crusade with the straightforward thrash attack in the vein of Testament and Exodus. The pre-chorus also gives a nod to Ember To Inferno, which is quite nice and the section before the last chorus sounds exactly like something Hatebreed would do with the gang vocals. When it comes to the guitar work, Heafy and Beaulieu continue to provide gigantic crushing and soaring riffs, harmonies of huge proportions and sizzling solos.
"Beauty In The Sorrow" kind of threw me for a loop because the intro sounds very Nirvana-ish, but it quickly explodes into a heavy and pummeling groove and Heafy's crooning vocals work particularly well. "The Revanchist", the album's longest track, reaching over 7 minutes, takes us into more progressive territory with its odd time signatures and it's packed with chunky riffs and great vocal hooks. As I was listening to this track, it felt like 4 minutes. When a 7-minute track feels short, you know it's good. When we arrive at the end of the album, we get another 5.5 minutes of pure aggression with "Thrown Into The Fire". There's a pretty big black metal vibe going on in the chorus and Paolo Gregoletto gets to shine with another bass solo at the beginning.
Djent was never my cup of tea. That's why "Dead & Gone" from Silence In The Snow was the weakest track on that record, whereas on The Sin & The Sentence, the weak link, for me at least, is "The Wretchedness Inside". Anyone that knows the back story of this track knows that Heafy originally ghostwrote the song for another band, but it was never used by that band, so it was re-worked from its original form into the form it appears as on the record. The pre-chorus riff is decent and has a good groove, the solo is rather excellent and Heafy's screams are great, but the djent-y flavour turns me off from this track. If that's more your thing, then you'll enjoy this track, without a doubt. This track is also 80% screaming and I'm not calling that a flaw.
The Sin & The Sentence is honestly Trivium's best record since Shogun. That album remains unbeatable, but this album is right on parallel with Shogun in terms of brilliance. There's the perfect amount of screaming and singing to balance things out in the vocal department, instead of there being too much of one and less of the other. There's a lot to absorb on this new album, and it contains a multitude of great ideas and songs guaranteed to satisfy both the old-school fans from the Ascendancy, The Crusade and Shogun days like myself, and the newer fans coming in on Vengeance Falls and Silence In The Snow. The last two albums were great in their own way, but this is the album that should've followed In Waves. As a die-hard fan, I'm really proud of Trivium and the record they've made. All you doubters, prepare to be proven wrong! Thank you and good night!
Highs: The return to the heavier direction, combined with all the best ingredients from the past albums in one package makes for an incredible album.
Lows: "The Wretchedness Inside"
Final Rating: 9.5/10
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