Trivium - The Crusade
Roadrunner Records
Thrashy Heavy Metal
13 songs ()
Release year: 2006
Trivium, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Jason

Before I start this review, I should put something in perspective: I really disliked Trivium’s last album Ascendancy. Yes it’s a blunt statement, but it’s true. They’ re a really friendly group of guys and great musicians, but I still find the youtube.com interpretations of their music hilarious and get massive brain hemorrhages when I hear more than 30 seconds of the song Pull Harder on The Strings of your Martyr. So you might be wondering why on earth a person such as I would be reviewing this album. Well the truth is, though I may not personally love particular bands or genres of music, I still give credit when it is well-deserved and Trivium’s newest effort, The Crusade, is one of those albums that gets my respect but fails to make me a fanboy. Though Trivium have improved vastly in many ways (which I will outline below) there is just something in their music that fails to give me that feeling other Metal albums do.

For starters, The Crusade is much different from its predecessor in that Matt Heafy has changed his vocal style from Hardcore screams and emo-esque clear vocals to a style more in-between; one almost mimicking that of James Hetfield from Metallica. There is still the occasional aggressive scream here and there, as on the track To the Rats, but even these parts are quite different and improved as it seems that Heafy is putting an effort to sound more guttural or Death-like as opposed to Hardcore. Musically, it is safe to say that Trivium now sound totally Metal and have almost totally done away with anything close to a breakdown or with any kind of musical pattern that can be considered Hardcore music. What I expected to hear the first time I listened to this album was an amalgamation Metalcore, over-done guitar solo-ing and incomprehensible vocals, but instead was treated to an assault of impressive thrashy Metal riffs, fantastic drumming and comprehendible lyrics. In terms of the variety, each track is quite eclectic and there isn’t way too much stanza-to-chorus repetition within each track, except perhaps in the track Anthem (we are the Fire). As a testament to how Trivium are now “more Metal”, the title track of the album is an 8 minute instrumental song laden with Progressive, Neoclassical, video game and Power Metal influences. Overall, musically, The Crusade gets a big thumbs-up from me, especially considering the age of the band members, but then again if the value of music solely depended how well a band can write killer riffs or smash on the drums, we’d all be listening to Liquid Tension Experiment.

Normally a band with the description I gave above would be included in my hypothetical book of killer Metal albums, but alas, it isn’t. I might be wrong, but I think the biggest reason most people listen to Metal is because of empowering feeling it gives them and the sense of authenticity which seems to lie behind the music. Unfortunately, when listening to The Crusade, that feeling of authenticity I get when listening to bands such as, say (off the top of my head), Bloodbath, Helloween, Opeth, Napalm Death, or whatever, just seems to be lacking. The only reasonable answer I can think of why I think The Crusade is not a truly killer album, or why it doesn’t evoke the same feeling as some of the other bands I mentioned above, is because the album is what I like to call “a mile wide and an inch thick”. What this means in terms of Trivium’s music is that though it may be pretty impressive, grandiose, and appealing to many people (meaning the population in general) the consequence is that their music lacks a sense of depth, authenticity, passion, heart or whatever you want to call it, that is apparent in almost all Metal and which makes it special. First off, this lack of depth can be seen through the lyrics which bounce from uninspiring left-of-center political views, to their respect for dragons and all the way to how we music-lovers are united as one; if you ask me, on this album, Trivium lyrically resemble what would happen if you would dumb-down Napalm Death, Manowar, and Rhapsody and put it all together. Though musically The Crusade is truly top-notch, like I mentioned above, I get the impression that the band is trying hard (maybe too hard) to win acceptance from those who harshly criticize the band by ripping long solos, playing riffs taken from virtually every strata of Metal, and including an epic instrumental track that subjectively touches on something like 4 different styles of Metal. I’m not arguing that Trivium should pick a road and stick to it, heck no! Breadth in Metal is a necessity because that is how the genre keeps re-inventing itself; it’s just making music that is “mile wide and an inch thick” isn’t in the true metal spirit and should be reserved other genres or mainstream radio.

Overall, I think this is a good effort by Trivium, but it certainly isn’t anything that would rival (Old-school) Metallica, as many are claiming. The band is composed of talented musicians that managed leave behind the whole dreadful Metalcore sound and come up with and album that in my opinion musically impressive but is lacking in the other ways which make Metal special.

Killing Songs :
Entrance of The Conflagration, The Crusade
Jason quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Trivium that we have reviewed:
Trivium - What the Dead Men Say reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Trivium - The Sin and the Sentence reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Trivium - Shogun reviewed by Pete and quoted 78 / 100
Trivium - Ascendancy reviewed by Jay and quoted 70 / 100
Trivium - Ember to Inferno reviewed by Jay and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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