The Crusade

Written by: AP on 19/09/2006 22:42:21

The prospect that our readers and staff have been collectively awaiting, if not dreading is finally reality. Though the fears expressed throughout the autumn are complimented by a few weak tracks, Trivium has prevailed in the near-impossible; "The Crusade" bears the hallmark of Triviumic essence through a transitioned, evolved style. Crucify me if you like, but this projects serious competition onto "Ascendancy" and "Ember to Inferno" and manifests itself as solid, complex and quite listenable. While it may not be the album of the year, it certainly competes for the status as Trivium's best album to date.

Where to start with the album I stubbornly objected before its release? The expectations for this album were from almost all parties nonexistent, giving room for open-mindedness. The expectations were solely based on the rather weak samples thrown at us, "Detonation", "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" and "Entrance of the Conflagaration". Though I condemned all of the aforementioned based on single listens, "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" turns out to be the only truly weak track, largely due to its Metallica-wanking. I can't lie, Matt Heafy employs an entirely different vocal approach that often resembles James Hetfield, but for the concerned: Corey Beaulieu's delivers growled back-up vocals in some songs and Heafy's melodic passages are even more catchy and inspiring than on "Ascendancy"; Heafy's emotion is one of the main rescue agents of "The Crusade".

I'm not going to compare "The Crusade" to Metallica, simply because this would do the album no justice. "Ignition", for instance, certainly hints towards a Metallica influence, but the track sounds very Trivium though this becomes apparent towards the end of the song. "Ignition" particularly boasts with an exceptionally emotional chorus, which blew my mind. Through this first song, it is immediately ascertained that Trivium's instrumental uniquity follows from where "Ascendancy" left off, and the only factors that differentiate the two albums are Matt's vocal delivery, which in my opinion has improved, and the greater emotion projected into the songwriting. I was one of the few from our staff and readers who actually found the live performance of "Detonation" at this year's Roskilde Festival phenomenal and was anxiously looking forward to hearing its studio version. The wait was worth it, as "Detonation" is an exceptional song in every light, especially its chorus. It is evident that the band has placed enormous amounts of effort into the compilation of this album since every track boasts with solidity and memorabilia.

"Becoming the Dragon" represents the sanctuary for fans of the old style with Corey's soaring back-up growls, while "And Sadness Will Sear" stands for the full re-evaluation of Trivium's style. The general appeal of "The Crusade" lies in the mastery of every single element that is Trivium in at least one song. "To the Rats" for instance features the trademark lightspeed picking, while "The Crusade" occupies the role of the epic (an eight-minute brag of instrumental capability with no vocals whatsoever) and appropriately wraps up what will come to be one of my favorite releases of the year.

Being a devoted fan of Trivium myself, I encourage all to subdue the prejudices and look at "The Crusade" from the appropriate point of view. It should not be viewed as a failed attempt at metalcore, but rather a success in modern thrash metal and a triumphant obelisk of style evolution. "The Crusade" gathers all of Trivium's core elements, exploits them, then adds more to create an extremely memorable piece of music.

Download: Ignition, Unrepentant, To the Rats
For the fans of: Trivium, Slayer, Metallica
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.10.2006

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