For more than a decade, Trivium have reigned atop the metal realm, mixing lethal extremity with infectious hooks like no other. Despite some unexpected lineup changes over the years, the Florida band have always pushed forward, pursing different sounds and exploring new terrain with every studio release. Now, they are back with a new drummer, a new album—The Sin and the Sentence, out now on Roadrunner Records—and a new sense of purpose.
“There were a couple of thoughts going into this record—one of them was pretty daunting for all of us,” says Trivium ringleader Matt Heafy as he explains the origins of the band’s eighth full-length album. “If this next record wasn’t the greatest record we ever made, then what’s the point of continuing?”
Fans might battle over which Trivium record rules hardest in their eyes, but there is no denying that The Sin and the Sentence is easily the most Trivium-ish Trivium album they have ever created. It’s destined to become a benchmark, a watershed moment for the band.
“We’ve made a couple records here and there, like Silence in the Snow, Vengeance Falls, The Crusade, where we decided to hone in on one area of our sound,” Heafy explains. “I mean, the Trivium sound is really broad, kind of all over the place, and on those records, we honed in on one thing. I’m really glad we did that, but with Sin, we decided we wanted everything. That’s what makes us happy and what makes our fans happy: when there is that extremely broad spectrum of everything on one record.”
That is exactly what The Sin and the Sentence sounds like. Take everything you know and love about Trivium—the thrash breaks, the guitar shred, the barrage of riffs and stomping double bass, the anthemic singing and thunderous screams—pack it all together on one disc and crank it to 11. That’s their new album in a nutshell.
As the slow-build intro of the opening title track morphs into a face-melting assault around the 40-second mark, it becomes apparent that this newest incarnation of Trivium is not playing around in the least. Part of this newfound ferocity is due to the band’s latest recruit, drummer Alex Bent. It’s no secret that Trivium have had a revolving door of talented drummers over the past eight years, but none have packed quite the wallop behind the kit like Mr. Bent. Having cut his teeth in the death metal underworld, Bent’s ridiculous chops allow Trivium to indulge in every sonic desire imaginable.
“We were asking around, and Alex’s name did show up,” Heafy says of the band’s quest to find their newest drummer. “We hit up our friend Mark Lewis, great producer, he engineered The Crusade, and he’s one of [guitarist] Corey [Beaulieu]’s closest friends. The first name he sent back was Alex Bent. We had Alex shoot a video for ‘Rain’ and ‘Until the World Goes Cold,’ and we knew this was the guy,” he says proudly. “The reason why we did those two songs was because we’ve had drummers who were great at our style of ‘Cold’ and not really OK at the other end of the spectrum. Then, we’ve had drummers who were amazing at ‘Rain,’ but not able to do the other side, so the fact that Alex can do both is great.”
With Bent pushing the BPMs into the stratosphere, the other excellent addition to The Sin and the Sentence is the return of Matt Heafy’s illustrious roar, something that was missing from the band’s last album, 2015’s Silence in the Snow. “I blew my voice out on the Vengeance Falls cycle, and what we determined was I [had been] singing and screaming incorrectly for basically my entire career, and I had to relearn to sing,” he reveals. “By the time Snow came out, I had relearned singing, but I still hadn’t learned how to properly scream. I was afraid and wasn’t sure if I ever could do it again. That’s what made us, by nature of survival, try something without any screaming, which is why Silence came out the way it did.”
Thankfully for metal fans everywhere, Heafy spent the past three years training his voice with world renowned vocal coach Ron Anderson and, as a result, has now laid down the mightiest screams and most powerful legit singing of Trivium’s entire discography. “Over the years, I kept training and progressing,” Heafy shares. “It’s a lifelong commitment, training your voice. For me, it’s Monday through Friday, two to four hours a day singing and screaming: training the muscle memory like an athlete trains.”
The Sin and the Sentence sounds like Trivium jacked up pre-workout, ready to conquer the world, and it rules. It rules on so many levels. Try getting the melodies from “Other Worlds” out of your head. Try not air-guitaring yourself into oblivion during “Betrayer.” If you’ve somehow never given them a listen or have remained on the fence about jumping aboard the Trivium train, The Sin and the Sentence is the perfect starting point. Mainly because it’s the most perfect Trivium album—so far.
Top photo by James Alvarez