The Sin And The Sentence review by Trivium

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  • Released: Oct 20, 2017
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (136 votes)
Trivium: The Sin And The Sentence
78

Sound — 8
If only one band can truly be considered something of a progenitor of the current style of mainstream metal, Trivium is often one of the first bands that come to mind. And with past albums like "Ascendancy", "Shogun" and "In Waves", they can also be considered one of the few bands to have perfected the style. However, to their name, they've also had their fair share of critical blunders. "The Crusade" was a bit polarizing at the time with its emphasis on clean vocals and classic thrash metal riffs, while "Vengeance Falls" and, in particular, "Silence in the Snow" showcased a far simpler, more mainstream approach to the band's style, with the latter also eschewing Matt Heafy's harsh vocals. So with confidence in the band fairly low in some quarters, especially with an album that's arguably a bit of a low point for them so fresh in people's minds, "The Sin and the Sentence" is going to have to step up Trivium's game quite significantly to win over fans that maybe felt a little disenfranchised by their last album.

Happily, "The Sin and the Sentence" shows a return to form for the band, bringing back Heafy's harsh vocals, emphasizing the interplay between Heafy's and Corey Beaulieu's blistering riffs, and showing a far more "metal-oriented" rhythm section from bassist Paolo Gregoletto and new drummer (their fourth since original drummer Travis Smith left in 2009) Alex Bent, whose blast beats dominate several tracks on the record. The title track in particular shows the band's penchant for pummelling instrumental work perfectly, but it's in Matt's vocals and the tightness of the songwriting where the band also shows that they're not quite ready to abandon the tailor-suited-for-radio accessibility of their most recent works. But this does not come at the expense of the music, which on this track showcases some brilliant playing from Heafy and Beaulieu, including some very classic metal guitar harmonies before the solo, and some key changes in the outro riff that almost bring the sound into Meshuggah territory.

Even on some of the album's more accessible tracks like "Beyond Oblivion", "Betrayer" and "Other Worlds", there are still complexities in the instrumentation that give this album a huge musical edge over "Silence in the Snow". That said, there are still a few songs that are born chart-toppers, like "The Heart From Your Hate", the simplistic "Beauty in the Sorrow", and the almost "pop-metal" melodic aesthetic of "Endless Night", and there are even a couple of moments where you are left wondering if Trivium is aping bands like Periphery a little bit, like on the almost djenty "The Wretchedness Inside", perhaps the heaviest song Trivium has released in years. "Sever the Hand" features a diverse range of tempos and switches from melodic to some of the bands heaviest and fastest material in ages. The seven-minute "The Revanchist" is about as close to a "prog-metal" track as we've seen from Trivium in ages, and the album closes on the delightfully heavy and pummeling "Thrown into the Fire".

The writing and production are every bit as on-point as any other Trivium release thus far, with Josh Wilbur taking the producer's chair for this record. There's a certain production style to this subgenre of metal and Trivium does little to deviate from it, and because of that it's a pretty loud, in-your-face record without a lot of dynamic range or headroom, but it's also a very polished-sounding mix. The writing does toe the line into that mainstream territory exemplified on "Silence in the Snow", but only rarely allows itself to stick in that style for long, giving the album perhaps a bit more diverse sound than their last few records.



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Lyrics — 8
I usually start this section of reviews by picking apart the lyrics, and then moving on to the vocal style, but Heafy's vocals have been a point of consternation for so many over the last few albums that I feel the need to break with tradition and let you know that yes, indeed, Matt's harsh vocals are back! In fact, a couple of tracks even tend to rely solely on harsh vocals, such as "The Wretchedness Inside", which is a stark contrast to the entirety of "Silence in the Snow" being clean vocals. His clean vocals are still quite present on the album, especially in the very catchy choruses of many of the songs. But the mix of harsh vocals and clean vocals that made albums like "Ascendancy" and "Shogun" so well-received in the metal community is back in action on "The Sin and the Sentence", and I feel like the improvements to both aspects of Matt's vocals have made this perhaps his best album on a vocal level.

Lyrically, the band presents pretty typical lyrics for the genre, with lots of rich imagery about dealing with one's inner demons and insecurities. Lyrics like the ones from "Endless Night" show a bit of emotional frankness but enough crypticness that the immediate meaning of the track is not too readily apparent: "Is it a sin/To miss the hell/That you survived/With best of friends/At worst of times/I never got the answer/They never told me/If you're not careful/What doesn't kill you/Can control you/Now it defines me/And it reminds me/That it will never let me go". The working title for the album became the title for the album's longest track, "The Revanchist", and may have given a clue to some of the themes of the album as well, showing a propensity for distrust, particularly of religious figures: "Profiteers and preachers/Sycophants and leachers/The Revanchist, his thoughts become mine/How deep they become intertwined/He said/Submit for salvation/The age old lie". The lyrics on this album are mostly pretty stock mainstream modern metal lyrics, but as well-written as they are, it's hard to find any fault in them.



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Overall Impression — 8
With the band risking their fanbase by changing up their style every couple of albums so far, it's safe to say there'll probably be a lot of opinions floating around about "The Sin and the Sentence", some of them informed perhaps before one even hears the album. But with all the inconsistencies of the band's past catalogue behind them, it's pleasing to hear that on this new album, Trivium has decided to emphasize many of the best elements of the band's previous works, striking a nearly-perfect balance between the melodic and accessible nature of their most recent records and the complex, pummeling sounds of their older works. They've been able to find a good middle ground between writing catchy songs, and complex showcases of their musicianship.

This is easily the best album Trivium has released since "Shogun", though it's still not a completely perfect album. While the variety might play in its favour for most people, some people may still find the album a little inconsistent, perhaps even jarring, but for most fans, this album is sure to be regarded as a true return to form, but one that hasn't ignored the best elements of the band's recent experimentation. For those who may have been disappointed in "Silence in the Snow", their experimentation has actually paid off quite handsomely on "The Sin and the Sentence".



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68 comments sorted by best / new / date

    markyj666
    Best Trivium album since In Waves imo. Love the production as well. Heavy!!!
    svelle
    Having Josh produce the album was probably the best thing they could have done.  Everything that man touches turns to gold, IMO. 
    Anduinfeilds
    Can't stop listening. Album of the year candidate. Definitely metal album of the year
    redgravegilver
    Definitely their best since Shogun. Great riffs, great melodies and good ol poppy choruses. I do hope that in their next record they will be more progressive this time like a lot in Shogun.
    HugoPan
    Sadly they said in the past that the complexity of Shogun was really something they found not fun to play that much, that's why they changed directions after that album. And it's too bad because this is surely their best album. 
    ommadawn1998
    how could they not find those songs fun to play??
    HugoPan
    I don't know. they are pretty hard to play for sure, and maybe having to sing and play them at the same time every single night can be really tiring, so I can imagine a whole set full of songs that challenging, must leave them exausted. Not everyone is Petrucci, it seems. To me, I think some of these songs really fun but I play in the comfort of my room and can stop whenever I want, so there's that. 
    robb11
    I saw Matt say before that during the writing of Shogun they would write these intricate riffs without thinking that later they would have to play them over and over again. It was really a wakeup call for them all to remember that aspect while writing,
    Gibson_SG_uzr55
    A lot of material on The Crusade and Shogun would be strenuous to play each night, considering how often Trivium tours. Sure there are plenty of tech-death and prog bands that are more technical that do it, but I think the difference is those kinds of bands take technicality as a point of pride, whereas Trivium feels confident in their craft regardless of songwriting complexity. It's not that they don't find those songs fun; I've seen them perform Down from the Sky (twice), Throes of Perdition (twice), Becoming the Dragon (twice), Insurrection, and Shogun. But if the majority of your set consists of songs like that, it's tiring and that's going to be less fun. And if you're not having fun, you're not going to want to tour with the same intensity as they do.
    Bocob
    Definitely the best album since Shogun. Interesting to see how much their style changes depending on the drummer. Because of what Alex is capable of, they're able to go all out for this album. Really digging it. The Revanchist is a favourite. 
    blackone666
    It's their best in a long time IMO. It isn't as memorable as Shogun but it's great nonetheless, I guess some of the lyrics could be better but whatever. 
    hoonin_hooligan
    The beginning of Beauty In The Sorrow totally took me by surprise - I thought ok here we go with a slow soft song and then when that riff hit I couldn't help but smile like an idiot
    Nick_scryer
    I love this album. Great riffs, catchy choruses, epic screams, blistering solos, ridiculous drumming. I love it all. Except Endless Night...but maybe it will grow on me.
    vppark2
    I found Endless Night to be pretty catchy honestly. It's mainly the singles I'm not so into.
    AdrZero
    Great album, most technical album since Shogun and heavier since In Waves. This is definitely one of the best records of the year! 
    Hexagram88
    I didn't realize there was such contempt for The Crusade. Excluding two tracks, I still listen to it from time to time. I never really got into anything beyond The Crusade though. I'll give this a listen through.
    travislausch
    I personally enjoyed The Crusade, but I remember when it came out there were a lot of people who hated that it sounded too much like Metallica.
    The_Wilrus
    Remember we were all still reeling from St. Anger. It stands to reason any Metallica like album after something like Ascendancy would rub us all the wrong way. I am NOT saying the Crusade is like St. Anger but anything in 2006 which was Metallica-esque gave us flash back to 2003.
    Gibson_SG_uzr55
    The Crusade has been seen in a more favorable light in the years since it came out, probably because fans retroactively appreciate what they were trying to accomplish at the time; it was absolutely a controversial release in 2006 though. I overall highly enjoy the album as I do any of their albums, but it does still have flaws (weak production, some inconsistency in song quality).
    MetalRock4ever
    I thought Vengeance Falls was a good album. Maybe not for Trivium (since I seem to be in a minority here), but as a music album, I really liked it. But this album is definitely special, can't believe I put off listening to Shogun, Ascendancy and Crusade for so long
    The_Wilrus
    I agree. They have not released an album I disliked. I appreciate any band that attempts a musical shift and still makes an entertaining album. S & S may have just pushed into my top 3 though. 
    shredder3386
    I actually didn’t like the first few songs they posted from his album so I figured it would be another miss for me. But after giving it a full listen, there was actually some solid songs on this record. They are still one of my favorite bands, but it’s been hard to enjoy their last few albums so it’s awsome to see them heading in a heavier direction again.
    Fatewhip
    I think In Waves is way too overrated and The Crusade is way too underrated. From what I've heard, this is like all of their albums amalgamated. I didn't like Silence, but I'll give this a listen.
    redgravegilver
    >  In Waves is way too overrated   What? That album doesn't even get the praise it deserves. Every song on it kickass and it just had a bad rep because it was released after Shogun which was more complex and technical. Every time I go to wikipedia and see the scores of In Waves, then see Vengeance Falls higher scores makes me break inside lol
    Fatewhip
    Shogun had it's flaws, and people who argue otherwise fly in the face of that fact. The same can be said for In Waves to a much greater extent.
    redgravegilver
    lol every record has it's flaws what's your point? It's also a fact that In Waves is not overrated. If it was then it would having great scores and a lot of people would be praising, which you didn't even bother addressing but instead wrote a bunch of edgy comments lmao
    Fatewhip
    Edgy is something I try to strive to not be, so I don't know how to think that's what I am being when I express an opinion. Don't mistake the utterance of my opinion as me being confrontational. In Waves does nothing for me. Saying "every record has it's flaws" when I am obviously aware of that also does nothing to change my mind. What I said was that it was flawed more so than Shogun. Trivium had released respectable albums up to In Waves. That changed. Regardless, there are people who will say that you're not a real Trivium fan if you don't like a certain album. NOW THATS EDGY
    Gibson_SG_uzr55
    The song "In Waves" is definitely overrated, but the album absolutely is not, it's one of their best and there are way too many gems on there (Dusk Dismantled, Black, Caustic Are the Ties That Bind, Drowning in Slow Motion, A Grey So Dark, Shattering the Skies Above, Of All These Yesterdays). The title track is possibly the weakest song on that album, and even then it's a solid song that just gets over repetitive.
    Fatewhip
    You can name a bunch of songs you like, but that doesn't change my opinion of them. In Waves (as an album) is mediocre.
    Gojifan84
    In Waves is a fantastic album. Deal with it.
    Fatewhip
    In Waves had two songs going for it. All these yesterdays and shattering the skies above. As for Dusk Dismantled, Matt's vocals are unintelligible and ambiguous. What does "we are the insect" even mean? The other songs other than the title track, I don't even recall. Entirely forgettable. The Crusade is far superior.
    redgravegilver
    I can easily understand Matt's vocals on that song and what a bunch of nitpicky shit you've just written there. Oh, and the fact that you didn't even at least named Caustic Are The Ties that Bind or at least Skyline Severance then thinks that All These Yesterdays was good means that any of your opinion in regards to In Waves should be automatically discarded
    Fatewhip
    The reason I didn't mention them is because I don't even remember them. And if I don't remember them, then Trivium failed in their job to make a good album. I haven't listened to them in a long time, but I can still recall many songs from Shogun and the Crusade. The same can't be said for In Waves. And that's not because I didn't listen to it a lot. I tried to like it. Calling my opinion "nitpicky shit" is much more edgy than anything I've said. I used to comment on this site a lot more and stopped a while back. I'm relearning why I stopped. People seem to think that if they don't like certain music they're just wrong. Music is art. Art is subjective. That means if I don't like an album, I'm free to say so and justify it with an excuse as feeble and vague as "I don't like the sound."
    Fatewhip
    The Crusade certainly has bad songs like Anthem, but it's strengths and weaknesses balance out far better than they do on In Waves. Trivium's discography is across the board mediocre, so when I say the Crusade was superior I mean that relatively.
    IAmSpoderman
    not their best album, but certainly not their worst. I prefer Ember to Inferno-In Waves, but it's definitely a step up from VF and SitS.  thrown into the fire, sever the hand, beyond oblivion and other worlds are the stand out tracks for me. the rest is pretty meh or worse.  6/10
    z3dy
    is it only me or does sever the hand has a little bit of gojira-esque? especially the first verse. it doesnt mean its bad because this song really heavy af and its my favourite track on the record
    DuncanPRS
    I think the only one of their albums I prefer to this is Ascendency. so many big riffs, great vocals both clean and screaming and my god the new drummer is good. I've been a fan of every album they've done (not so much the crusade but its got a few decent tracks) but this I was really impressed with. 
    tdussmann
    Some kind of a reminder of my childhood. Since, Assendancy, the crusade and shogun is half a life apart....
    MusicMan24
    I feel a bit conflicted with this album. For me it's like the good moments, are really damn good, but then the few not so good moments are just bad, so I gave it a 7 for that reason. But I definitely think it's their best album since Shogun easily.
    FallenAsh
    Best Trivium record to date. There, I said it. The Sin and The Sentence is their finest hour. A perfect balance of killer melodic songwriting, savage heaviness, incredible musicianship and epic vocals.
    RCA1186
    Their best since In Waves for sure. I'm really surprised, after Silence I thought they were done for but this album is a good listen. Looking forward to seeing them again next week.
    jonnyharris1
    This album has put a smile on my face all week, so pleased after 2 albums I wasn't keen on to hear a Trivium album that I love as much as the first 5 records. So many songs that would be awesome to see live Side question, what's everyone's opinions of the parts where they have the "crowd shouting lyrics" parts,   for example on Beyond Oblivion where there's the shouting of the words "what have we done",   there are 2 or 3 other songs where they do the same thing.    I ask because personally I really don't like it; it sounds really artificial and detracts from the songs.
    schecterhellraz
    At first I didn't like the crowd shouting in Beyond Oblivion, but when thinking about it from a live aspect it will really add to the song. I saw Symphony X a while back and there is a crowd shouting part in Iconoclast that made the song really awesome in the live setting. Also think about the die! chant in creeping death- also super awesome live!
    jacqueslow
    Very enjoyable album! Seems like the new drummer also put some fresh energy into the band and this album.
    thejay2
    I don't know why people hate on "Vengeance Falls" and "Silence in the Snow" both were stellar albums and really paved the way for this album to come into existence.  Sin and the sentence is a great album for sure and you can hear elements from their previous efforts in the overall sound, especially from Silence and Vengeance. Personally, I have been a fan of theirs for some time and have enjoyed each one of their albums for different reasons.
    travislausch
    Personally, I liked "Silence in the Snow". But I have to acknowledge the fact that a good number of people didn't :/ 
    ReiverOfSouls
    That said, you can hear elements of the other albums bleeding into what they did on The Sin And The Sentence.   As they said, they wanted to 'bring it all together' in interviews, and they kinda did on this record.
    ReiverOfSouls
    Helluva album.  Got an early copy of it and have been listening to it constantly since.  The Revanchist is...  one of those songs you don't realize is a 7 minute track til it's damn near over.  Definitely their best since Shogun.  
    Mahoru
    I might be the odd one out, but so far I'm not really feeling The Revanchist. Which is weird because I'm usually a sucker for their longer songs, but not this time (I don't think it's bad, just find it repetitive and not that interesting compared to the rest of the album or tracks like The Crusade or Shogun). That said, it may end up clicking in a few days; so far, appart from The Revanchist and Endless Night I'm loving everything else so it's all good. I agree, it's not only their best since Shogun, but probably also their best work to date after Shogun (which is saying something because Ascendancy and In Waves are quite something too).
    Gumle
    I have to agree with you, even though I am beginning to appreciate it more and more. But it doesn't have the same epicness that is present in both the crusade and shogun. The chorus is not that much of a climax, unlike shogun's massive chorus. The intro riff is nice, but the riff structure after second chorus seems somehow repetitive. Not that I don't like it, but it just doesn't have that grandiose and explorative feeling to it
    Cavalcade
    My first reaction to the lead single was "about time they started living up to their potential". It's the song they've almost written since Shogun. Can't wait to get my hands on the rest.