Review Summary: The same and the sentence
Given the sheer potential and swift ascendency Trivium has built over their career, the majority of their fanbase had never been so tentative to listen to the first singles that were released ahead of their new album, “The Sin and the Sentence”
. While this four-piece from Florida has only grown in reputation from the moment they formed, each consecutive album has been frustratingly inconsistent. This is a band that followed era-defining anthems in 2005’s “Ascendency”
with a bloated, discordant album then rediscovered their talent by delivering the frenzied and progressively experimental “Shogun”
in 2008. “In Waves”
thankfully broke this cycle three years later, pushing Trivium further up the ladder of metal supremacy only to be diminished by the forgettable “Vengeance Falls”
and concurrent “Silence in the Snow”
, both of which featured heavy use of Matt Heafy’s clean vocal melodies. A confusing pattern seems to have manifested and eight albums into their career, surely this is a suitable time to truly define who Trivium are?
And that is exactly what “The Sin and the Sentence”
does. Undoubtedly, this is the best album since 2011 and is the most accurate one to recommend to someone who wants to hear who this Trivium band are and what they’re all about. After nearly a decade of experimenting with their sound by stretching it into progressive territories or bending it to sound accessible and melodic as possible, Trivium has finally focused on what they should be doing rather than what they could
be doing. Filled with infectious grooves, accessible melodies and the return of Matt Heafy’s harsh vocals, Trivium has redefined themselves by wisely looking back instead of forward.
Numerous tracks across this album sound like the band has cherrypicked the best bits from their better albums and chiselled at them to create something new but oddly familiar. “Beyond Oblivion” features the dominant gang vocals and sweeping choruses of “Ascendency”
and is the first song to ignite Alex Bent’s fantastic potential as Trivium’s new drummer where his whirlwind fills and furious blast beats appear calculatingly in songs such as “The Wretchedness Inside”. By injecting a black metal toxin into the song, “Betrayer” has an uncompromising bluntness that “In Waves”
displayed about it but also strikes a balance between incensed riffs and airy chants. This is what Trivium excel in: creating accessible, infectious metal songs that still have enough of an edge to it to sound threatening.
Coincidentally, the fact that Trivium has focused on the successes of their past albums means that at times, “The Sin and the Sentence”
sounds incredibly safe. At first, things start off promisingly for the title track, however, it stalls when Trivium display the irritating technique most metalcore bands practice in developing brilliant momentum and then suddenly slamming on the breaks to expose some sort of weak hook like an airy riff or, in this case, clean vocals and weak lyrics. This arises further on “The Heart From your Hate” and “Endless Night” with the former displaying a power metal pomposity prominent on “Silence in the Snow”
. Unfortunately, these safer moments are accentuated by the moments where Trivium genuinely kick themselves up the arse in songs such as “Sever The Hand”, which features gang vocals that could rival Hatebreed.
Right now, Trivium seem to be placed in the exact same place that they ended up in six years ago and having experimented with their sound and talents, they can now continue to learn from their past missteps to uphold the successive streak that “The Sin and the Sentence”
establishes. And while they’re at it, perhaps they could also focus on improving their album artwork...