First discovered performing at a school talent contest, Japanese guitarist Matt Heafy was invited to try out for a new band with Brad Lewter and Travis Smith. This was the beginning of Trivium, with Heafy becoming the front man after Lewter's departure. In 2003, they signed to German label Lifeforce and released their debut album Ember to Inferno, full of threatening themes of tyranny, oppression and guerrilla warfare. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu and bass player Paolo Gregoletto joined soon after as the band's ferocious energy made them a popular live act. Their breakthrough second album Ascendancy was full of thunderous thrash metal guitar and made them a powerful attraction at festivals all over the world, winning further acclaim from the heavy metal community for their more melodic third album The Crusade, heavily influenced by Metallica. In 2008, the band ended their longstanding relationship with producer Jason Suecof to return to a harder, thrashier sound on Shogun and, although drummer Smith left to be replaced by Nick Augusto, the band were back touring and recording again in 2010. In 2011 they released their fifth studio album In Waves. They toured extensively throughout Europe for the next year and began work on further new material. They released Vengeance Falls in 2013 and shortly after announced that Augusto had decided to leave the band; he was replaced by Mat Madiro, previously the band's drum technician. After taunting fans with rumours and hints of new material on their website and social media, they announced their seventh album, Silence in the Snow, which quickly went to number three on Billboard's Top Rock Albums Chart. In 2016, it was revealed that they would spend most of 2017 working on their eighth album, and they made a special appearance at the Wacken Open Air festival where they debuted their fifth drummer Alex Bent, after Madiro was replaced by Paul Wandtke who also later left. As with Silence in the Snow, they teased fans with their eighth album before announcing its title as The Sin and the Sentence and releasing it in October of the same year. It reached #23 on the Billboard 200 and was met with critical acclaim, with its riotous third single, “Betrayer”, receiving a GRAMMY nomination. The group reemerged amidst the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020 with their ninth effort, What the Dead Men Say, having postponed their plans to tour the album alongside Megadeth and Lamb of God for public health reasons. That September, their former guitarist, Brent Young, died aged just 37 of undisclosed causes.