Trivium – “The Sin and the Sentence” – CD Review
October 22, 2017
By: Susan Dusse and Susanna Hybl
Susan: The follow-up to 2015’s “Silence in the Snow” is pretty good. I think they burst onto the scene in 2003 with guns a blazing’, and didn’t have all the experience and maturity behind them to back up their studio recordings, back in those days… but I have a strong suspicion that they do now! I look forward to their live translation of this release. First, the entire release is quite pleasant. It has a bit of everything. There are a few radio-friendly hits, a few super heavy songs, a great anthology of all types of metal, smart lyrics, catchy choruses, and some really interesting and unique parts. The musicianship is top-notch, especially the drumming and guitars. My biggest criticism is the length of the fade outs, the length of the songs, and the absolute rule of clean vocals in every song, “The Sin and the Sentence” is a worthy release to have in your collection. I guess if you are a Trivium fan you’ll be really happy, and if you aren’t…you might become one.
Susanna: The years have shown Trivium’s growth and advancement in their genre. Past albums prove this band isn’t afraid to try different approaches to the process of creating. “The Sin and the Sentence" gives fans a mix of “old, heavy” Trivium with “new, epic” Trivium. As a fan of Trivium, I enjoyed this album. It was nice to hear Matt going back to more screaming and I enjoyed the dynamics of the music. I think Matt’s vocals have continued to push boundaries and he now has an voice fit for Broadway but sticks to his passion of metal.
Susan: Let’s start with the title track, “The Sin and the Sentence.” You’ve heard it. They play it a lot on Liquid Metal. Originally, I thought it seemed a bit too power metal for me...that is until about one and one-half minutes in. From that point on, the song gets better and better, and ends up being a fucking cool song. It was hearing this song on the radio that I thought perhaps I had judged Trivium too harshly in the past, and maybe I was missing out on some good music.
Susanna: The title track “The Sin and the Sentence” is perfect to start off the cd. It is a real headbanging-worthy, punch you in the face song. This is the fast, powerful Trivium that we fans love! The drums and guitar get you pumped and excited. Towards the end of the song, the solo and melodies of the guitar sort of caught me off guard, but they make it work. Then the song goes back to a heavy, perfect song for when you feel like someone is singling you out or you don’t fit in. This is the “fuck you” song.
Susan: “Beyond Oblivion.” Musically it is a great song, but it has weird vocals. A bit Nothingface meets Volbeat, with incredible drumming, this song provides thought-provoking lyrics, and “crowd” sounding backing vocals that I think were done well. The song struck me as a song about our world, technology, politics...moving too fast to recognize that our pace could destroy us. The vocals return to screams and a heavier voice, in parts, and I like that. The guitar patterns are bouncy, fast-paced, and infectious. Where it drops short of perfect for me is: Sometimes after the really heavy parts, the next phase of the song is tiny or weak. They always bring it back to a fat, full part, but that hint of reduction makes the song seem like it is starving.
Susanna: “Beyond Oblivion” starts off with a metal battle cry, then moves into the verses, which sounding a bit eerie. The chorus is heavy with that double bass from the drums, which I love, along with a bit of a beautifully harmonized part. This sounds more like a song you would listen to going into war to get your troops pumped up or should be part of a soundtrack to an epic space battle movie.
Susan: “Other Worlds.” While Trivium hails from the USA, Florida to be specific. This song sounds like they wrote it on a trip to Australia while watching some current cool melodic metalcore bands. A bit Sevendust and Stone Sour vocally, sometimes I feel like the clean vocals don’t match the pace of the song. The vocals are beautiful about half way through, and it is this song where the drummer and guitars prove they are "all in" in this metal band. I felt that this song was a nod to what we all experience in the social media realm with surface friendships. I would imagine if it isn’t already, this will be the next single. That’s what I’d do anyway.
Susanna: Listening to “Other Worlds” seems like this is the ‘break up song’ of the album. The lyrics seem to be working through the difficulties that is involved in a break up. I would also say this is the ‘power ballad’ to this album, even though it does have some heavy moments. "Other Worlds" also showcases a little bit of what Matt can do vocally. There is also a guitar solo worthy of a power ballad song.
Susan: “The Heart from Your Hate.” “What will it take to rip the heart from your hate?” With a title like that, I wish the song felt more hateful, at least more powerful. “Hate” could have been sung more powerfully, but the harmonies are pretty. This song has some great parts, followed by some weaker parts, followed by some great parts…and the cycle continues throughout.
Susanna: “The Heart from your Hate” I think is one of my favorite songs of the album and should be a single. The song does have a heavy start that moves quickly into slow vocals. To me this song seems to be about someone dealing with a loved one who has gone down a wrong path and they are struggling to get their loved one back to who they were. This song incorporates musically all the ingredients that make a hit. Catchy chorus, powerful message, guitars keep the pace, bass and drums that complement the song and get your head banging. I will be singing along to this song for sure in the car.
Susan: “Betrayer.” The song starts out with “BETRAYER!!!!” The dirty vocals rule and the gang chant vocals are cool. This song seems to be a personal song to Matt perhaps? The drums are monotonous but super effective in this song. “I’ll never be a victim for you. I’ll never be a fool.” Trivium communicates great emotion of hate at the end, and it’s one of my favorite tracks on this release.
Susanna: “Betrayer” I would classify as a very power metal and technical song. The guitar on this song harmonizes perfectly with the vocals. This song doesn’t quit, it’s face paced from beginning to end. “Betrayer” is a great addition to this well rounded album.
Susan: “The Wretchedness Inside.” This is a really interesting song. It’s a little bit of everything with a modern twist. It provides a great groove, and as I went through the song…. I found myself saying in my head “no clean vocals…no clean vocals….” And just when it looked like my wish would come true…. the clean vocals appeared; they were pretty, however. I think this song is about doing something bad, but having a conscious. I liked this modern song. It’s my third favorite track. At just over the 2:30 mark it gets interesting…the note held and the breakdown rant are fantastic. From here to the end it is awesome. The solo is pretty, and the song never stops being interesting. “Pray for you.” “Fuck you.” This song must be about someone you know is bad for you, but you can’t stop." "The part I can’t control…I can’t destroy…the Wretchedness Inside.” At 4:10 the song takes an even greater turn and the guitars shine.
Susanna: This is another one of my favorites, “The Wretchedness Inside.” It has a little bit of a late 90’s nu-metal taste to it. Parts of this song remind me of old Slipknot or KoRn, especially some of the growling vocals and predominate bass guitar. The Wretchedness inside is heavy and just an all around great song, I could see it being an anthem.
Susan: “Endless Night.” It’s a song about heartbreak. “I fight another endless night.” Make sure you listen all the way through. The solo is beautiful, and I actually felt internal turmoil and heartbreak. The band is successful in communicating emotion here on this song. Trivium shows a sweet vulnerability in this song. One thing I am discovering that I really like and appreciate about Trivium is the fact that their vocals are discernable. It’s definitely a lighter rock song. It could definitely be a great radio hit. Think Stone Sour and Nickleback (sorry).
Susanna: I would say “Endless Night” is another Trivium version of a power ballad. The vocals are clean, precise, and strong. The melodies of the guitar complement the vocals well. The lyrics read like a poem and really portrays a sort of internal struggle. All around it’s a pretty song.
Susan: “Sever the Hand.” I read that it is a mishmash of two different songs. There are some really cool parts. “That opening riff is played like a metalcore band would, but has the high notes of a black metal band, thrash parts, punkish, it’s everything.” – Matt via www.teamrock.com. At the beginning, the song is super interesting. I can see what Matt was saying about the style. When he yells, “Go!” it’s really heavy. This beautiful heaviness goes for about a minute, then there is a minute of “light in comparison,” the back to brutal. It is definitely my fourth favorite song on the release.
Susanna: “Sever the Hand” takes me back again to a late 90’s feel, but with a bit of a punk or thrash metal thrown in there, but still keeping it true Trivium. There is another guitar solo followed by just a heavy scream, very thrash metal, with some ‘gang chants’ yelled back. I enjoyed this song and it would sound amazing live.
Susan: “Beauty in the Sorrow.” My least favorite track. There are moments of heavy, but in its entirety, it is a bit lacking. As with every song, there are interesting parts, unexpected parts, great guitars, catchy choruses, but I didn’t feel the beauty in the sorrow.
Susanna: “Beauty in the Sorrow” starts off pretty slow but works it’s way into a faster pace with wailing guitars. The vocals are a perfect balance of growls and clean singing. I feel the music in this song speaks more emotionally than the lyrics. Although the vocals add that little bit more of rawness to move the song along. Overall, beautifully done.
Susan: “The Revanchist.” Exceptional drumming, a surprise part, and great hooks. Halfway through, there is a progressive time change, and it is great. But they miss an opportunity by throwing in a weak solo. A minute or so later there is chaos that bleeds into chaos controlled. At about 5:00 it is fucking weird. It’s three songs in one…like the band threw a bunch of songs together. The 17 second fate out was a waste of time. The vocals are passionate, but at over 7 minutes, it’s just too long.
Susanna: “The Revanchist” - I'm not going to lie, I had to look this word up. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary revanchist means “one who advocates a policy of revanche” which also seems to mean revenge. Revanche is defined “a usually political policy designed to recover lost territory or status.” Trivium are definitely helping me build my vocabulary ha! This song does convey a struggle both musically and lyrically. It’s solid - I really love the instrumental parts in the middle and end of this long song. The Revanchist is a good solid 7 minutes long but it does keep your interest the whole time.
Susan: “Thrown into the Fire.” I can’t fit this song into a genre box. I picture each member being assigned a genre. “I’ll do death metal.” “I’ll do black metal.” “I get thrash.” “I get rock.” It is by far my favorite track on this release and I wish the whole album was in this style, as I think it is what they do best. I’m thrilled that the release ended with this song. As if to say: To be continued….
Susanna: “Thrown into the Fire” I thoroughly enjoy the double bass on the drums throughout this song. Truly heavy with some dirty vocals almost the length of the entire song. Throw in some crazy guitar solos - this is a strong song to end an album on. Sort of brings me back to the “Entrance of the Conflagration” time, which Trivium fans will really enjoy.
Susan: It’s not as light at 2015’s “Silence in the Snow.” It’s not as heavy as 2005’s “Ascendancy.” There are more clean vocals, and a return to the old school sound, but done more polished and modern. I feel like Trivium were at a crossroads in 2015, and circled back around to take the right path. They are historically heavy and socially aware. On the surface they touch on emotion…just enough to let you know they have them, but not enough to make always you feel them. I listened to a podcast recently where someone asked, “Who of current bands would replace Metallica in the future”? As I was screaming “Gojira”! someone said Trivium. I can see where they could be contenders with this release. I see what the hype is that surrounds Trivium now.
Susanna: As a Trivium fan I really enjoyed this album. It showcases all the avenues this band has taken in the past and gives a proper performance on what Trivium is capable of. I can’t wait to hear some of these songs live or what Trivium has in store for the future.