Trivium are no strangers to the ironclad might of a Donington stage, but their first crack of the whip – the period surrounding and leading up to 2005 and 2006’s main stage appearances off the back of sophomore release Ascendancy – was a long time ago.
At this stage, the band have spent just as much of their career licking considerable wounds as dominating the metal soundscape, though such a process of maturation has resulted in not only a diehard fanbase who know their Miyukis from their Scyllas and Charybdis’, but a growth period for each individual band member.
Many fans are beyond sick of recanting the same 2006-centric stories around where Trivium “went wrong”, but the fact this is album eight – the fact that those wounds were suitably cleansed, healed and learned from – is entirely the point.
The Trivium of 2017 is a resoundingly focused beast of a band.
For vocalist Matt Heafy, you need only listen to the chorus of Other Worlds, the earth-shattering screams throughout the duration of Thrown Into The Fire or the opening lung-emptying bellow of Betrayer to hear someone whose taken every one of those post-Crusade criticisms on the chin. We heard him return to a more gravelly tonality on In Waves and discover a newfound love for clean vocals on Silence in the Snow, but now – with the aid of various practices to scream “properly” – Heafy’s voice is in the best and most multifaceted shape of its life.
Indeed, whilst Silence in the Snow showcased a band confidently weaving together their past identities into a very accessible and yet complex whole, the only ‘missing’ piece was the intensity; the more recognisable “Trivium” as they exist to the masses.
Thankfully, The Sin and the Sentence represents the culmination of 17 years’ worth of touring, practice and experimentation. The Heart from Your Hate is a perfect festival headliner with its gang vocal “Hate!” chorus, The Wretchedness Inside brings about a bouncy djent-infused main riff that would command any legion of attendees to leave the floor, and The Revanchist is an uplifting epic that segues into a middle third of pure instrumentation, connoting the phenomenal Crusade album-ender or the mighty Shogun's final few moments.
New drummer Alex Bent is an inhumanly talented individual, and a solid fit for a group of musicians who’ve already mastered their respective crafts. He brings to the band a next level amount of technical ferocity, with double bass foot-flurries on tracks like Sever The Hand that would make Gene Hoglan’s head spin.
Just watch this guy in action and try accepting that your eyes aren’t deceiving you. He really is that fast, and that damn perfect.
Corey Bealieu too, MAN – even back on Vengeance Falls we were hearing more complex arrangements when it came to guitar solos, but here? Once again we have someone who knows their instrument inside out, able to string patterns and passages together that playfully exist within a venn diagram split between elegant and furious.
If there’s an identity to Trivium underneath the various vocal experiments, it’s this immaculate technique – one bolstered by bassist Paulo Gregoletto's ear for song arrangement, providing more dynamic passages that allow Heafy and Beaulieu to rip the roof off whenever they see fit.
Combine all these elements, all this talent and all the time invested, and you have a damn-near immaculate metal record. Choruses soar, riffs slam home, solos remind us of that old-school Master of Puppets' blend of technicality and neo-classical flair.
The question comes up a lot as to “Who is the next great metal band?”, or “Who is next great Download headliner?”
At least one of those answers is – and always has been – Trivium.