REVIEW: TRIVIUM – THE SIN AND THE SENTENCE (2017)
As I get older and time seems to go by way faster than it did even just ten years ago, new music releases from even favorite bands of mine seem to sneak up on me. Twelve years ago I was a junior in high school just dying while counting the days for Trivium’s The Crusade. It seemed to take forever to come out, and I may or may not have made the bold prediction that it would be as good as Master of Puppets during that time (it wasn’t, 16 year old me should have known better). Now it feels like just yesterday that Trivium’s Silence in the Snow came out, and here we are two years later already with their new album, The Sin and the Sentence.
The Sin and the Sentence is the Trivium I fell in love with and I’m just so happy and proud to be able to say that the band are back on top of their game. I’ll be the first to admit that I almost lost all interest after Vengeance Falls and especially Silence in the Snow. It’s not that they’re both terrible albums, but going from albums like Ascendancy, Shogun, and In Waves, to those latter two records, it felt hollow and wrong. The Sin and the Sentence as a single brought me right back on board, giving me similar feelings of anticipation that I had for The Crusade.
Gone are those formulaic song structures from Silence in the Snow, and instead are replaced by longer songs where the average length is around 5:15, giving them the chance to breath and explore. The forgettable solos that seemed to go nowhere on Silence of the Snow are also replaced by infinitely more memorable tasty licks. Alex Bent is a godsend to the band and an absolute beast on the drumset. Matt’s screams are back and I can’t emphasize enough how impressed and overjoyed I am. His screams on “Like Light to Flies” on Ascendancy singlehandedly sucked me into the metal genre, and to hear them again more brutal and intense than ever brings me the biggest smile I’ve had this year. Mad props go to producer Josh Wilbur and the sound engineers on this one as well for creating the best sounding Trivium record yet. It’s a treat to crank up high and listen to in the car.
Here’s my track by track review:
The Sin and the Sentence – Ballsy move putting the title track front and center, but it’s paid off in whole. A perfect song to open the album to that encapsulates everything that Trivium has done over their albums. The ending breakdown is a punch to the throat and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Beyond Oblivion – Incredibly groovy and moody, I can easily see this being a staple to the band’s live set with chants of “What have we done?” throughout opening up fun crowd interaction.
Other Worlds – This is one of the odd songs that I might end up skipping past more than not. Very catchy chorus but sounds a bit off with Matt’s voice as high as it is. Hard to resist headbanging to the bridge which sounds like they took the “How much longer must I face” section of “The Darkness of my Mind” and made it heavier.
Heart From Your Hate – The “Until the World Goes Cold” of this album and real outlier compared to the rest. Fairly simple in it’s hook and melody, but made up for with it’s groove.
Betrayer – My second favorite song on the record. The chorus is one of the more unique ones the band has done recently and there’s a itty bitty lyrical callback to “Shogun” that whether intentional or not makes me smile. Matt’s vocals and screams are incredible on this song.
The Wretchedness Inside – This is a remake of an old demo Matt recorded that never got used that I ended up listening to many times over, so I felt really odd listening to this song for the first couple times as I was so used to listening to the original. It’s a complete upgrade that showcases that Trivium are still able to be as brutal as ever, especially during a Gojira-esque breakdown in the middle.
Endless Night – The only song that gets sort of close to The Heart From Your Hate, in the sense that it’s follows the verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure. This song is the better of the two though. Super melodic, anthemic, happy sounding song where Matt’s vocals carry throughout. Would fit right in on The Crusade and quickly went from a song initially brushed off to one of my favorites. I cannot get the chorus out of my head.
Sever the Hand – Best song on the album, this is pure Trivium. Brutal as fuck Ember to Inferno-esque verses with a two minute super thrashy instrumental breakdown/bridge section that’s reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold’s “Exist.” Matt’s vocals are absolutely fantastic. Alex Bent’s drumming, specifically cymbal work, is unreal. I really hope they play this song live.
Beauty in the Sorrow – This along with Other Worlds might be the only two that I don’t care much for. Beauty and the Sorrow has a good fake out at the start though. Was definitely expecting a slow song again, but was pleasantly surprised.
The Revanchist – Longest song on the record and I dig all the time signature changes, mostly from 4/4 to 6/8 and back. Has a slight nu-metal, House of Gold and Bones era Stone Sour feel to it.
Thrown Into The Fire – Trivium has a knack for writing strong closers, and they do it again with this dark and brooding track. Back in 2004 Matt did vocals on a melodic death metal album from the band Capharnaum and this song sounds like a mixture of that band’s music and classic Trivium. Matt’s intensity while screaming “Can you heal us, with your mysterious ways?” will be stuck in my head for days.
Back when Silence in the Snow came out, I was very disappointed, but was able to accept it for what I hoped it was: a stepping stone for the band to be able to say “okay, we did that heavy, more progressive stuff back in the day and now we’ve done the short, simple and super catchy stuff, let combine it all and make one album that does the best of what we’ve done over the years.” I would say it was a great success. I don’t know if I’d yet place it above Shogun as my favorite and what I think is the band’s best, but it’s certainly their best since. It’s one I’m incredibly proud of and know fans of Trivium through the years will be ecstatic. Now I’m dying to see all of these songs played live. Please?
For the record, since Matt likes seeing rankings of Trivium albums, this is the order I would place their discography:
The Sin and the Sentence
Ember to Inferno
Silence in the Snow