Album Review – Trivium / The Sin and the Sentence (2017)

Fast and intricate riffs, poetic lyrics, a sensational new drummer and, above all, the return of Matt’s trademark screams. That’s the formula for best metal album of the year.

Finally, after two somewhat controversial albums (the technically excellent but not unanimous Vengeance Falls, from 2013, and the extremely tiresome Silence In The Snow, from 2015), Orlando-based Heavy Metal fighters Trivium are back on track with what’s probably going to be the best metal album for most critics and fans worldwide, the sharp, dynamic and vibrant The Sin and the Sentence. This amazing release (the eight studio album in their solid career) features everything you learned to love in the music by Trivium, such as fast and intricate riffs, poetic lyrics and, above all, the return of the band’s mastermind Matt Heafy’s screaming vocals, by far the most important element that makes The Sin and the Sentence a million light-years better than Silence In The Snow.

Not only Matt’s enraged growls are back, but it seems that the band has at long last found the perfect drummer for their music, the talented Alex Bent (Battlecross, Brain Drill, Dragonlord), who replaced drummer Paul Wandtke, and as soon as you hit play you’ll be able to clearly see the humongous difference Alex makes to their sound. In addition, another interesting thing in The Sin and the Sentence is that the album wasn’t going to be called this way if it wasn’t for the cover art and design done by Matt’s wife, Ashley Heafy, with whom he’s married since January 2010. In a recent interview, Matt stated that the working title for the album was The Revanchist and that the album was going to have gold and neon colors; however, those plans were changed once Ashley presented the band with symbols for each accompanying song, and from there The Sin and the Sentence was born.

The opening track, The Sin and the Sentence, kicks off in full force, with newcomer Alex showing us all the wonders a high-skilled drummer can do to a band. This born-to-be-a-classic tune is extremely addictive and as heavy as hell, with an inspired (and recovered) Matt simply kicking fuckin’ ass on vocals; and it seems that no matter how their music sounds, Matt & Co. definitely know how to craft beautiful lyrics (“I saw the dagger eyes staring back at me / I knew I’d never have a chance to bleed / Guilty, but in the sight of fallen men / They bury you before you speak / (The sin and the sentence)”). Then blending Death, Groove, Progressive and even Black Metal in an aggressive but very melodic manner, Beyond Oblivion, a technical tune that lives up to the band’s legacy, showcases fun, uprising backing vocals in sync with the rumbling sound of the bass by Paolo Gregoletto, not to mention their once again hypnotizing lyrics (“These shadows sleep so soundly / Appalled, he now averts his eyes / Disgraced, he felt so empty / Entrusting us with our demise”). And Other Worlds feels closer to what they did in the albums In Waves and Silence in the Snow by focusing on the clean vocals by Matt, while Corey Beaulieu and Matt deliver sharp and very harmonious guitar lines and solos, presenting hints of modern Hard Rock in its rhythm.

The second single of the album, The Heart from Your Hate, is another great example of how Trivium can adapt from being a truly heavy machine to a more radio-friendly band, presenting a catchy chorus that goes along really well with the song’s main riff; whereas Betrayer can be considered the most visceral and electrifying of all tracks in the album, a full-bodied, intricate composition that brings several elements from the band’s first (and more ferocious) albums. Furthermore, do you also think the guitars sound a lot like the classic riffage by Black Metal titans Emperor, one of Matt’s favorite bands of all time? Anyway, in The Wretchedness Inside, a song to bang your head like a maniac, Paolo sounds thunderous on bass, with the song’s overall rhythm reminding me of the most recent albums by Slipknot mixed with Trivium’s In Waves sounding. And, as usual, Matt provides us another blast of top-notch lyrics (“Submerged in dirt but it was never enough / To quell the fire in the back of my lungs / My bones are aching and my head is a mess / They said to run but I’m obsessed with the madness”). As a side note, this song was actually taken from a demo Matt ghostwrote for a different band in 2014; the song was never used though, so Trivium simply re-recorded it for The Sin and the Sentence. The following track, titled Endless Night, feels like some songs from Vengeance Falls, again with a higher focus on Matt’s clean vocals, also bringing hints of Hard Rock to their heavy sonority. Moreover, the sound of bass guitar, which by the way is simply fantastic the whole album, ends up boosting the impact of this specific tune considerably.

Sever the Hand is a first-class composition that can be divided in two distinct pieces, the first presenting a more melodic, smoother musicality, while the second brings all Trivium’s fury, in special the precise beats by Alex, the demonic riffage by Matt and Corey, and Matt’s sick growling. More obscure but still heavy and metallic, Beauty in the Sorrow displays gripping guitars by Matt and Corey (as well as one of the best guitar solos of the whole album), again bringing hints of traditional Black Metal in its riffs; whereas The Revanchist, one of Trivium’s most progressive songs of their past few albums and the longest in The Sin and the Sentence, brings forward powerful, metallic bass lines that will punch you in the head while Matt tells the story in a solid and entertaining manner, not to mention how Alex yet again steals the spotlight with his bestial, rhythmic drumming. Lastly, Thrown into the Fire is a song that showcases all elements from most of Trivium’s phases, not to mention how superb Matt’s screams sound. With the insane beats by Alex dictating the song’s rhythm, the final result is furious and harmonious just the way we love it, ending this awesome album in a brutal, vile and piercing way.

After listening to The Sin and the Sentence, do you also agree with me it will most probably be the best metal album of 2017? Let’s face it, there are tons of amazing albums launched this year, like the new ones from Kreator, Mastodon and Accept, but the new installment by Trivium is by far the most complete, creative and exciting of all (at least for me). Well, even if you think another album (or maybe albums) is better than The Sin and the Sentence, it’s still worth the investment, so go grab your favorite version of it at the Warner Music webstore, and don’t miss Matt & Co. when they take your city by storm in the coming months. And, obviously, let’s hope the band keeps the momentum going for years to come in the same awesome vein as they just delivered us all with The Sin and the Sentence.

Best moments of the album: The Sin and the Sentence, Betrayer, Sever the Hand and Thrown into the Fire.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. The Sin and the Sentence 6:23
2. Beyond Oblivion 5:17
3. Other Worlds 4:50
4. The Heart from Your Hate 4:04
5. Betrayer 5:27
6. The Wretchedness Inside 5:32
7. Endless Night 3:38
8. Sever the Hand 5:26
9. Beauty in the Sorrow 4:31
10. The Revanchist 7:17
11. Thrown into the Fire 5:29

Japanese Edition bonus track
12. Pillars of Serpents ’17 (re-recorded version) 5:03

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion

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Album Review – Trivium / Vengeance Falls (2013)

Trivium join forces with Disturbed’s David Draiman to produce another good album with an infinite number of pretty cool heavy riffs.

Rating4

TriviumVengeanceAs I already mentioned a few posts ago in my Trivium & DevilDriver concert review, Trivium has become one of the most important contemporary Metal bands, and again with Vengeance Falls they justify why they’ve reached this level. It’s not a masterpiece, but a solid album to follow the great In Waves, with some new elements brought by producer David Draiman (the brain behind Disturbed). The opening track, Brave This Storm, was released a few weeks ago, and its amazing riffs and chorus still maintain it as my favorite song of the album. By the way, the whole album is a lesson in heavy riffs, so if you’re a guitar player don’t think twice and go get your copy of the new Trivium album.

Then we have the title-track Vengeance Falls and another one of my favorites, Strife (best chorus of the album), both with awesome guitar riffs that remind me of some of the old Disturbed riffs, probably due to David Draiman’s influence as the producer. It would have been really interesting if he had also sang one or two songs with Trivium! No Way To Heal has all the elements that are so characteristic in Trivium’s music, making it a very heavy and progressive song. The next track, To Believe, is another song that seems to have a lot of influence from Draiman and one of the greatest positive surprises of the album for me, which is not the case with At the End of This War: just an average song that sounds flat after 3 minutes. But things get back to normal (in other words, HEAVY and CREATIVE) with Through Blood and Dirt and Bone and its excellent “heavy riff and fast drums” work (and I enjoy a lot when Matt screams the chorus!).

Trivium-630x420Villainy Thrives has a good rhythm, which will certainly make the fans jump as the band requires during the concerts, while Incineration: The Broken World, one of the longest songs of the album, starts with another cool riff and has Nick Augusto doing his best job on the drums in the whole album. Closing the album we have Wake (The End Is Nigh), the longest song that starts slowly but then moves to a fast speed, showing a more traditional Trivium again. The bonus tracks in the special edition of the album are all very good, especially their cover for MisfitsSkulls…We Are 138, and if you manage to find the Japanese version, it has a different bonus: an interesting version for REM’s Losing My Religion.

The lyrics as usual are as crazy as they can be. Well, what else could we expect from Matt Heafy? “Burn us alive for our sins and our crimes / We are the wretched ones: malevolent slime” And regarding the album cover, I personally enjoy when it doesn’t explicitly show the name of the album or the band. In Vengeance Falls, the cover works as a complement to the album title, doing a cool job with the band’s logo. And last but not least, I didn’t mention anything about Corey or Paolo because I don’t need to: they’re awesome musicians doing a very consistent job as always, helping Trivium in being an important reference in heavy music today.

Best moments of the album: Brave This Storm, Strife and To Believe.

Worst moments of the album: At The end of This War, and the lack of the old screams from Matt in most of the songs. I know he cannot scream 100% of the time, but a little more would be great to the entire album.

Released in 2013 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. Brave This Storm 4:29
2. Vengeance Falls 4:13
3. Strife 4:30
4. No Way to Heal 4:05
5. To Believe 4:32
6. At the End of This War 4:47
7. Through Blood and Dirt and Bone 4:26
8. Villainy Thrives 4:54
9. Incineration: The Broken World 5:52
10. Wake (The End Is Nigh) 6:00

Bonus tracks
11. No Hope for the Human Race 3:59
12. As I Am Exploding 5:51
13. Skulls…We Are 138 (Misfits cover) 3:31
14. Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover) 4:41

Band members
Matt Heafy – guitar, lead vocals
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, vocals
Nick Augusto – drums, percussion

Concert Review – Trivium & DevilDriver (Phoenix Concert Theatre,Toronto, ON, 09/24/2013)

A celebration of music with two of the best contemporary Heavy Metal bands from the USA on a pleasant Tuesday night in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Sylosis and After The Burial

As I don’t live exactly in Toronto, it takes a while for me to get to the city whenever there’s a concert I’m attending, especially if it’s on a Tuesday after a full day of work. Seriously, only Mondays are worse than Tuesdays for Metal concerts, like the Rock Allegiance Tour with Volbeat & HIM that screwed up my whole week! The organizers should think about that when scheduling Metal concerts to the middle of the week: we don’t have seats and we don’t just watch the concert, we participate a lot! Heavy Metal demands a lot of energy from the crowd, so please, if you’re an organizer, try to book the shows from Thursday to Saturday! Going back to the opening acts, I completely missed Sylosis (which unfortunately suffered a car accident that same night going to their next concert) and half of ATB. From what I could see, ATB was pretty heavy and the fans had a great time there, so next time they open for a band I like I’ll do my best to be there and analyze their music properly.

DEVILDRIVER

devildriver-2This was the second time I had the pleasure to see DD live (the first was back in 2011, opening for Arch Enemy), and they were even better this time. From the very first song Ruthless to the violent ending with Meet the Wretched, the leader of the band, Dez Fafara, didn’t let any single person from the crowd remain quiet. I believe he mentioned the word fuck and its variations (fuckin’, motherfucker, motherfuckin’ etc.) at least a hundred times, plus other “nice” words such as pussy and shit, demanding that everybody banged their heads all the time and almost killed themselves in the mosh pits, showing why he’s a true frontman and not just a singer. He was pretty decent in the beginning of his career with Coal Chamber, but now he’s getting better and more violent on stage, which is awesome.

I enjoy concerts at the Phoenix Concert Theatre due to the proximity with the band and the quality of the sound (and of course, it’s easy to get a beer there without the hassle of huge and slow lines), and this time it wasn’t different. All songs were really well executed by the band, which was sometimes headbanging even more than the crowd, and there was a lot of interaction between band and fans. They played a lot of songs from their new album Winter Kills (which I really want to listen to now), including a very good cover for the song Sail, from the band Awolnation, mixed with some classics such as Clouds Over California, which was my favorite from this concert. I hope I can see DD live again soon!

Setlist
Ruthless
I Could Care Less
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Before the Hangman’s Noose
Cry for Me Sky (Eulogy of the Scorned)
Oath of the Abyss
The Appetite
Hold Back the Day
Curses and Epitaphs
Sail (AWOLNATION cover)
Head on to Heartache (Let Them Rot)
Dead to Rights
Clouds Over California
End of the Line
Meet the Wretched

Band members
Dez Fafara – lead vocals
Jeff Kendrick – guitar
John Boecklin – drums
Mike Spreitzer – guitar
Chris Towning – bass

TRIVIUM

trivium-1They are heavy, they have the speed, the technique, great albums and are awesome on stage. Together with Volbeat, I consider Trivium the future of Heavy Metal. I had the chance to see them live at Heavy TO 2012, but as that was a festival and they were playing in the middle of the afternoon, they couldn’t show their full power. However, this time in Toronto they were able to provide their fans a fantastic concert! After the intro Divinity I, the band entered the stage and played three of the most complex and heavy songs of their entire career: Throes of Perdition, Down from the Sky and Becoming the Dragon, showing all of us that was going to be a special night.

Although I missed some classics such as Ember to Inferno and The Deceived in the setlist, there was a pretty good mix of songs from all of their albums, including two new ones (Brave This Storm and Strife) from their upcoming album Vengeance Falls, which sounded like old classics by the way the audience responded to them. And no matter which song they were playing, the riffs and solos were perfectly executed (I would say even better than the studio versions in most of the cases). I still believe the feeling is more important than the technique in Heavy Metal, but what the guys from Trivium do with their guitars is simply amazing.

The best songs of the night were for sure A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation (isn’t it one of the coolest song names ever?), with the crowd jumping all the time together with the band, and Shogun, a 12-minute masterpiece that sounds like if Dream Theater decided to become Megadeth or vice-versa. It can be really tricky for any band to play songs so long as that because the crowd can die at any minute, but fortunately for Trivium that wasn’t an issue at all as the fans at the Phoenix loved the fact they played Shogun.

The only (small) issues I see with Trivium now are first the drummer: I don’t know why but he sometimes seems to be out of sync with the rest of the band; and second the fact that Corey is doing 95% of the guttural vocals. Although I enjoy Corey screaming, it sounds a lot better when Matt does that. But as I said, nothing that will stop Trivium from becoming a Heavy Metal giant in the coming years, mainly due to the constant and brilliant evolution in all of their albums and to their exceptional performance on stage.

Setlist
Divinity I (tape/intro)
Throes of Perdition
Down from the Sky
Becoming the Dragon
Brave This Storm
Watch the World Burn
Strife
A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation
Kirisute Gomen
Shogun 

Encore:
Capsizing the Sea (tape/intro)
In Waves
Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
One Winged Angel (tape/outro)

Band members
Matt Heafy – guitar, lead vocals
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, vocals
Nick Augusto – drums, percussion