Alright everyone, hear me out on this. I know that a new Trivium album isn’t a very high priority for many Decibel readers in 2017. The year has been incredible for all stripes of extreme, underground metal music, especially death metal. So it might seem a little off-message for me to try and pull you out of the cave and into the light of the well-produced, highly polished and accessible sound of Matt Heafy and company.
However, let’s not forget that many early issues of Decibel had cover stories that focused on metalcore and the new wave of American heavy metal. Granted, this was the metal that was around to cover, but this should not diminish any musical accomplishments of bands like Trivium. And hey, it gave us TOTALLY RADICAL covers like Decibel’s December 2005 issue, in which Matt looks like he’s getting ready to audition for a role in Kung Fury. So yes, Decibel has grown since then, but so has Trivium.
The band has gone through a few phases since its inception: metalcore-tinged heavy metal, thrash revivalism (emphasis on the Metallica influence), and self-conscious attempts to break into more mainstream audiences. I honor the band for wanting to take creative risks and not just write “Pull the Strings Harder” over and over, but some of these shifts in direction have fallen flat with me. Still, when the band is good, they are very, very good, as evidenced by Ember to Inferno, Ascendency, Shogun and most of In Waves.
One thing that’s always puzzled me though is Matt Heafy’s attitude toward his own vocals. I’ve read interviews where he says he only used screaming vocals because he didn’t know how to sing properly. Additionally, after almost blowing his voice at a show in 2014, he enlisted the help of a vocal coach and he’s said since how much better he feels about his performance. This is understandable. But he shouldn’t be so hard on his past vocal work. I happen to think his screaming voice is one of the best in modern metal, it’s a deep, full and ferocious howl that immediately identifies itself as Matt Heafy’s Screaming Voice™. I would say the same of his clean vocals on classics such as “Like Light to Flies” and “Throes of Perdition.”
So it’s with excitement that I heard the song, “Betrayer” of the band’s new album The Sin and the Sentence. Heroic guitar harmonies! Screaming vocals! Clean-singing choruses that stay in your head for hours! This is what I look for in a Trivium song. I have a nagging suspicion that the process of repackaging and re-releasing Ember to Inferno last year inspired Trivium to breath some more fire back into their sound after 2015’s Silence in the Snow. So check out the track below, and look out for songs like “Beyond Oblivion” and “Thrown Into the Fire” as well. The Sin and the Sentence is out today via Roadrunner Records.