From ‘Ascendancy’ to ‘In the Court of the Dragon’: Ranking the Trivium Discography

Since their formation in 1999, American heavy metal band Trivium has released ten studio albums, sold over one million albums worldwide, and have even been nominated for a Grammy. They’ve achieved a level of stardom few metal bands reach and are one of the kings of modern metal. 

While all of Trivium’s albums are solid metal releases, some are certainly better than others. Here is a ranking of every album in the Trivium discography, from worst to best. All albums are ranked solely on the criteria of how much I enjoy listening to them and how much replay value they have to me.

I will not be including Trivium’s debut album, “Ember to Inferno” in this list, as it’s the only album I’ve never listened to front-to-back.

Trivium Album Ranking: The Bottom Tier

Silence in the Snow

I’m going to take a page out of my co-host Larry’s playbook and reiterate that there are no bad albums in Trivium’s discography. Rather, there are albums that I don’t enjoy listening to as much as the others. When you’re ranking a discography from top-to-bottom, inevitably, one has to be at the bottom. For me, that is Silence in the Snow.

You’re going to sense a theme with the bottom-tier albums in this Trivium discography ranking: The reduced – or, in this case, absent – screaming era was just not for me. I’ve been vocal on the podcast about letting bands grow, evolve, and experiment with their music. It’s natural, and it shouldn’t be something that gets a fan base to turn on the band. But that doesn’t mean you have to like the direction they went.

Very little about this album works for me. At its core, it’s just a jumbled mess of mediocre songs, one right after another. Part of that disconnect is the lack of harsh vocals. Lead singer Matt Heafy blew out his voice a year before the recording this album, which likely played a role in making an album composed of only cleans. 

To Heafy’s credit, he worked hard on his clean vocals, which shows on this album. The quality of his clean singing improved dramatically from previous records. However, it doesn’t feel like the vocals fit with the backing music. His cleans are great and work with the choruses, but the instrumentation of nearly every verse feels like it’s begging for a sorely lacking harshness. 

Unlike the next album on this list, there really isn’t a song on this album that I come back to.

Vengeance Falls

Taking and showing obvious influence from a band can be a risky proposition. When done well, it can make for something beautiful – as we’ll see later in this ranking. When not done well, you get something like Vengeance Falls. David Draiman produced this album, and the Disturbed influence is evident. And not in a particularly good way.

For better or worse, Trivium, throughout their career, has drawn a lot of influence from, and comparisons to, Metallica. For me, this album feels a lot like the “Load” and “Reload” era of Metallica. The album isn’t bad per se; it’s just not what the average fan wants from their Trivium. There were a lot of good things and a lot of lessons learned from this era of Trivium, but on the whole, it doesn’t hold a candle to the rest of their discography.

The only saving grace for this album is the song “Strife.” Strife is an incredible song and doesn’t deserve to go down in history with the rest of this album. That may sound harsh, but compared to the rest of Trivium’s discography, they laid an egg on this one.

In Waves

The era immediately after the release of the “Shogun” album for Trivium was a bit of a weird one. It’s an era where they were trying new things, forming a new sound, and for me personally, it largely didn’t work. It comes closest to working on the “In Waves” record, but even then, it doesn’t rank nearly as well as the rest of the albums in the Trivium discography.

My biggest gripe with this album is the overall production of it. Whereas a lot of metal in the early-to-mid 2000s seemed to suffer from a lack of production, Trivium went too far in the other direction with “In Waves.” It feels overproduced and lacks any real depth of emotion for me throughout most of the album.

“In Waves” sees the band start to drift away from the thrash sounds they had – in my opinion – perfected on “The Crusade” and “Shogun” and explore more of their metalcore roots, and even some radio rock sounds. 

You can’t blame a band for wanting to expand their sound, and it’s hard to fault a band for trying to appeal to a larger audience. It’s simply not the sound I’m looking for with my Trivium. The saving grace on this album for me is the title track. Not so much for enjoying it on the album itself, but rather for the fact that it has made a great closing track for Trivium live sets.

Trivium Album Ranking: Mid-Tier Albums

In the Court of the Dragon

“Mid-tier” is a bit of a misnomer here. All of the albums in this tier are excellent in their own right. On other bands’ discographies, these would be at the top. The fact that these albums fall into the middle of their album ranking is a testament to how good Trivium has been over the years. A fact they highlighted on their most recent effort, “In The Court of the Dragon.”

This album is excellent. Many listeners would make a case that this is one of the top two or three albums in the Trivium discography. And I would have a hard time disagreeing with them too heavily. ITCOTD, along with What the Dead Men Say, were a true return to form for Trivium in all the best ways. So why is this album so low in my ranking if I think so highly of it?

For me, it comes down to replay value. Whenever I listen to this album, I think, “This is an excellent album. I’m not sure why I don’t listen to it more often.” But then I’ll go long stretches without listening to it, only to repeat the cycle again and again. The album just doesn’t have the staying power for me that the efforts ahead of it do.

But make no mistake about it; I really like this album. Heafy’s cleans and screams are right up there at the top of their discography. The rhythm section is always a strong-suit for this band no matter the era they’re in, and Corey’s lead playing on this album is some of the best work he’s done in the band. It all comes together well, but there’s just something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.


For me, as with many Trivium fans, “Ascendancy” is where it all started. But it’s not where my love affair with the band began. A friend of mine introduced me to the “Ascendancy” album back in 2015, thinking it would be right up my alley. He wasn’t exactly right, but he wasn’t wrong, either.

I admit I wasn’t in love with this album when I first heard it. There wasn’t a lot for my ear to latch on to and hook me on those first few listens. But there was enough there that made me think, “I’m not feeling this, but I want to explore them more. I get the feeling they have other stuff I’ll really enjoy”.

And that was incredibly prescient in retrospect. It was soon after that first exposure to “Ascendancy” that I discovered Trivium’s “The Crusade” and “Shogun” albums, and THAT is where my love affair with this band really blossomed.

I have revisited this album many times in the years since, and I enjoy it considerably more than I did on that first listen. It’s still not one of my favorite albums in the Trivium discography, but it’ll always hold a special place in my heart for being the album that led me to the ones I *do* love.

The Sin and the Sentence

The Sin and the Sentence was my first new album as a Trivium fan. As previously mentioned, I was introduced to the band in 2015, but didn’t really become a fan of their music until later on in 2016. So, I came in just after Silence in the Snow had been released. TSATS was my first taste of being a Trivium fan in the moment of a new album release, and they did not disappoint!

This album from front to back is incredible. Every album on the list from this point on is. It’s really splitting hairs trying to rank these albums, and depending on my mood I’ll flip this album and the next, What the Dead Men Say. What really makes this album for me is that it’s a strong return to everything I love about Trivium. It brings back the more thrashy sound. They embrace unclean vocals again. Everything I want from Trivium is present on this album. And unlike In the Court of the Dragon, the replay value is there, as well.

The Sin and the Sentence is the album that current drummer Alex Bent first appears on, and with Bent it finally feels like Trivium has found stability with that position. Trivium has always had killer drumming, but they’ve not stuck around long. With Bent, it feels like they finally have a drummer who is the total package. A drummer who can write killer music for the albums, can replicate it live, and can gel with the guys on a personal level.

As for the music itself, the only reason this album isn’t higher in the ranking is because Trivium’s discography is just that good to me. I would love to have this album in the top two or three, but at the end of the day I simply can’t put it above “The Crusade” or “Shogun”.

What the Dead Men Say

If there was an album that encompasses everything that Trivium has been throughout the years, What the Dead Men Say probably comes the closest. There’s such a variety of influences present on this album. And, unlike some other efforts in their discography, I think everything comes together really well on this album. There’s a lot of heavy metal, metalcore, and thrash present on this album. But beyond that, they delve into a lot of progressive and even some melodeath influence.

WTDMS is an amalgamation of everything they had put out up to that point, and a sign of things to come, in the best way possible. This album is so good front-to-back that it’s almost in the “god-tier”. I love so much about this album, but what I appreciate the most is the lyrcial content we get on this one.

There’s songs that delve into the state of the world around us and the bleakness of everything. There’s songs influenced by science fiction. Heafy even explores the pain and sorrow of having to put down a beloved pet. It truly is a summation of everything that Trivium has been – and been through – during their career.

Truly the only thing that keeps this album from being ranked higher is how in love I am with the following albums. WTDMS is a phenomenal album and would be the peak of a discography for a lot of bands.

Trivium Album Ranking: The God-Tier

The Crusade

When I was first introduced to Trivium, I wasn’t feeling it – but I had a feeling that if I explored their discography a bit, I would find something that I was feeling. That album was “The Crusade”. This was the album where it truly “clicked” for me and I became a massive fan of the band. It was love at first listen, and to this day it’s one of my most-listened albums on a consistent basis. It’s just so damn good!

Unlike its predecessor “Ascendancy”, “The Crusade” mostly abandons the metalcore sound in favor of a more heavy, thrash-inspired sound. To me, Trivium is at their best when they’re embracing the thrash side of their influences, and that sound is there in spades on this one.

This album is almost a love letter to Metallica in its sound and fury. You can really hear their influence throughout, and it’s one of the reasons I love this album, as a massive Metallica fan. But beyond that, once again I come back to the lyrical content.

“The Crusade” more than any other album in the Trivium discography touches on tough subjects. There are songs on the album about police brutality. Songs that tell the story of a troubled mother killing her children. A lot of the songs revolve around famous murders in one capacity or another, but there are also songs that lift you up and make you feel like you can conquer the world.

There’s a really nice balance on this album that I think more fans should appreciate. “The Crusade” tends to not get the love I think it deserves as an absolutely fantastic album. For me, this is one of the best albums I’ve heard, regardless of the band. It’s an all-time great for me. Only exceeded in the Trivium discography by the next album.


We’ve finally reached the pinnacle. “Shogun” isn’t just the top album in the Trivium discography for me, it’s one of my favorite albums of all-time. If someone were to reach inside my brain, pluck out my musical tastes, and write an album based upon that information, it would be “Shogun”. This album has everything I want in my metal. There’s pounding riffs. Blistering solos. Heafy has an incredible balance between clean and harsh vocals. There’s incredible diversity in the song structures, the instrumentation, and the lyrical content. Everything about this album is perfect to me.

What really separates this album from “The Crusade” – and from most other albums – is the closing track, the titular “Shogun”. The song structure alone puts this song, and album, into a category all its own. “Shogun” is one of the most beautifully composed songs I have ever heard. It’s brutal and angry, yet beautiful and even bluesy in parts. The bluesy solo that Heafy busts out in the middle of the song is unexpected, yet fits perfectly and is one of the greatest bits of music I’ve ever heard.

There isn’t a bad track on this album. There aren’t enough good things that I can say about this album. It truly is Trivium at their finest. Everyone in the band was at their peak on this album, and it stands alone at the top of their discography for me by a pretty wide margin.

There you have it, my definitive ranking of the albums in the Trivium discography. You may disagree with my rankings, and that’s fine. The lead singer, Matt Heafy, himself disagrees! Not too long ago he took to Twitter asking the fans for their rankings, and dropping a few different rankings of his own. Almost universally, one of my favorite Trivium albums, The Crusade, was near the bottom of his list.

That’s the great thing about music, we all hear it differently. We all get different things out of it, and we all have different aspects of it that we like and dislike. Yet, it brings us together despite those differences. The love of music conquers all.

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