Review Summary: A revitalized Trivium, which means a (once again) promising future for the band.
I don't know how exactly Trivium went from being hailed as "the next Metallica" to being widely ridiculed for marking themselves as David Draiman's pet project, but what I do know is that this band have gone through a lot of phases
, if you will. They've gone through faltering footsteps with Embers to Inferno
, been hailed as metal's saving grace at the infamous Download festival appearance over a decade ago, embarked on voyages into more progressive musical territory (Shogun
) and garnered attention-for better or worse-from the wide-eyed elitist basement-dwellers as they were announced as Bloodstock's headliner a few years ago. Since then, it seems Trivium have only been known for offering monotony where there should have been motivation to release something truly outstanding.
So, as new album The Sin and the Sentence
has just been released, it would be fair to ask whether or not Trivium have finally arrived at the point in their career where the words "make or break" come to mind before anything else. Vocalist Matt Heafy himself recently revealed that a sheer lack of his harsh vocals (no thanks to almost losing his voice three years ago at Rock on the Range festivalin Columbus, Ohio) was the reason why the last few Trivium records felt so uninspired. Thankfully, listening to the title track of The Sin and the Sentence
will quash thoughts that the band have merely given up. With its steady, groove-inflected delivery and Heafy's versatile vocal delivery, the song not only gives the impression of a band refreshed and ready to take on the world (again), but it also provides comfort for those who were frightened that the so-called "next Metallica" was a flash in the pan. You only need to listen to the blackened fury of "Betrayer", the progressive, almost grandiose "The Revanchist" or the grittier "The Wretchedness Inside" to understand that Trivium have, in a matter of months, turned themselves into promising firebrands of the metal world once again. Aside from the obvious improvement in the vocal department, the songwriting has also evidently matured, and because of that proves to be a positive boon. This is probably why near enough every song lasts five minutes or longer, because the ideas feel fully fleshed out and it's clear that Trivium never seem to rush
in their collective delivery.
There's a couple of songs which unfortunately render Trivium as a band still making missteps. "The Heart from Your Hate" clearly revels in its melodic atmosphere, but it never quite makes up for that with a real punch into more aggressive territory, so what we're essentially left with is the band making a ballad for the sake of it. The same can be said for "Endless Nights", which turns out to be a note-perfect clone of Ascendancy
's "Dying in your Arms". Only here the impression given is a lot more uninspired and a lot less accessible. Elsewhere however, this sense of inviting melody and harmony into an otherwise solidly aggressive musical display really works. It helps the level of versatility in songs such as "Other Worlds" and "Beauty in the Sorrow", where Heafy time and again proves his voice hasn't quite dropped in terms of quality and energy. Instead, the majority of the musicianship on The Sin and the Sentence
seems to revel in its near flawless balance between the harshest, most ferocious performance the band have to offer and a well mixed, well refined sense of harmony. This in turn results in clinical, precise songwriting, even if it's not particularly spectacular to all who lend an ear.
The Sin and the Sentence
could very possible be the start of a new era for Trivium. Not only because Heafy's vocals have improved dramatically, but also due to the fact that the band seem more organized and generally happier to be writing music and knowing that their musical ideas work well. Whether or not you can listen to this album without constantly comparing it to Ascendancy
is entirtely up to you, but if anything, The Sin and the Sentence
proves that Trivium still have what it takes to be at the top of the modern metal tree.