Ask any Trivium fan what their favorite album is and you’ll likely get seven different answers. It’s not that Trivium’s sound has changed all that drastically over their 14 years of releasing music, but it’s certainly expanded as Trivium have wavered a standard deviation or two in several different directions. Super-thorough, scientific, peer-reviewed research forces me to conclude that Ascendancy and Shogun are most commonly cited as Trivium’s best works, and for people who agree (yours truly included) I’ve got great news for you: The Sin and the Sentence will slot in quite neatly next to those two.
The Sin and the Sentence has both an immediacy and dynamism that the three albums since Shogun lacked. The album-opening title track, “The Heart from Your Hate” and “Betrayer” are three of the catchiest songs the band has ever written but, as is their style when the band is at their best, they hook in ways that aren’t too sugary or obvious, and never without plenty of riffs, glorious riffs. In-between numbers like “Beauty in the Sorrow” and “Beyond Oblivion” do a great job of keeping the energy flowing, the latter with a bridge that betrays Heafy’s black metal influence (often subdued in Trivium but ever-present) and delivers a guitar solo that’s as artfully crafted a beast as any in the band’s catalogue.
Those who claimed (rightfully or not) that Trivium have lost their heavy edge in recent years will find a lot to love on this album, too. The intro riff of the previously mentioned “Betrayer” is a scorcher, with staccato picking, a breakneck thrash beat to match and Matt Heafy’s deepest death growl bringing the track in. “The Wretchedness Inside” chugs and pulsates in its down-tuned goodness, while “Sever the Hand” offers some of the heaviest riffing and screamed vocals that the band and Heafy have ever delivered. Sure, both feature clean-sung choruses — it’s not all blood and guts and blasts and chugs and growls — but this is Trivium we’re talking about here, not Suffocation, and that’s what they do (and why we like them).
Finally, for you Shogun-ites out there who get into Trivium’s longer, more elaborate arrangements… wait until you hear the final two tracks on this one!
The Sin and the Sentence is one of the best mainstream metal records (for lack of a better phrase) you’ll hear in all of 2017. It’s also one of the finest in the band’s now quite extensive catalogue, and Matt Heafy was absolutely right to claim as much when we hosted him on The MetalSucks Podcast earlier this month. Longtime Trivium supporters will be very happy with this release, and the band should pick up some new fans along the way, too.
The Sin and the Sentence is out now via Roadrunner; order it here.