Of the big four of metalcore, Trivium never achieved the consistency of Killswitch Engage or Avenged Sevenfold, not to say that those bands don’t have some subpar albums. However, that doesn’t mean they have ever dropped the ball as badly as Bullet For My Valentine did on Temper Temper. Instead Trivium have released two cast iron classics in Ascendancy and In Waves, and a handful of other albums of varying degrees of qualities. Even on their less good albums, like Vengeance Falls, they still have a couple of standout, brilliant songs. At this point we are two mediocre albums and six years on from In Waves, and it’s easy to wonder if they’ve lost all the promise they had back when they were tipped to be future Download headliners on Ascendancy.
It’s a good thing that The Sin and The Sentence blasts any semblance of doubt from the mind of a listener instantly. Matt Heafy gives the strongest vocal performance of a career full of solid vocal performances here. Whether it’s the full force screams of The Wretchedness Inside, or the soaring chorus of Endless Night, the vocals are delivered with passion and emotion. Often, technically excellent singers can forget that the vocals carry the heaviest emotional weight of any part of the musical canvas, and instead focus on just being incredibly technically impressive. Thankfully that’s not the case. While Matt Heafy isn’t as technically gifted as Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford, he can carry a large amount of emotion in his voice while still giving an excellent performance on a technical level.
Matt Heafy could have easily stolen the show here, were it not for the unbelievably versatile performance of Alex Bent on drums. Often with incredibly gifted people, whether it be a drummer or a guitarist, they seem to find it difficult to know when to keep it simple. This is the key difference between a good drummer and a good musician. Alex Bent shows himself to be a world class musician on this album. The simple four four drumming on The Heart From Your Hate is restrained and simple, so as not to dominate the song. This provides a simple foundation to build the song around. This is perfectly contrasted by the octopus-armed assault present in Thrown Into The Fire in which the drums almost become a lead instrument at times, rather than part of the rhythm section. Whilst doing this he is still able to keep the song together. Trivium no longer feels like three guys with a drummer to back them up, it feels like a full band for the first time in a long time.
Of course, technically excellent performances mean nothing if the songs are rubbish. They’re not. They cover genres from death metal to pop punk, stopping along the way at thrash, black metal, metalcore and traditional metal. In fact, name a metal subgenre and it’s probably in here somewhere. There’s even a nod to hardcore in the gang vocals in Sever The Hand. Often many of these genres are smoothly transitioned between, without ever feeling jarring. I love The Dillinger Escape Plan but I often find it hard to chart a route to getting into them because of how much they can do within one song. The Sin and The Sentence feels like the perfect first step on that road before going onto something like Statues by Black Peaks. It is relatable enough to fans of Iron Maiden and Metallica whilst still having the ability to flit between genres smoothly. That is a hell of a feat.
Overall, The Sin and The Sentence may well be looked at as Trivium’s magnum opus in years to come, which is an amazing achievement for a band eight albums into their career. Nothing sounds tired or unnecessary here. Different songs will appeal more to different people, just based on the rest of your music taste, but it has something here for anyone who likes metal in any form. This will restore any lost faith in Trivium. They’ve still got it and when they deliver, my god do they deliver.
Highlights: The Revanchist, Sever The Hand, The Heart From Your Hate
The Sin and The Sentence is out now via Roadrunner. The Album can be bought here.
The band can be found on: