without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Me listening to metalcore? Thanks but no thanks. But wait a min... A Trivium spinning in me CD player, then? Yep. 'The Crusade' is different to older Trivium releases, if the writings I've read are true (never heard those two earlier albums). On this album, the band have turned down the 'core stuff and dragged in a substantial amount of thrash metal. About selling out: This album would sell loads more if it was metalcore.
Almost every review of this platter contains two names: Metallica and James Hetfield. Most of the time, the reviewers seem to hear no differencies with these two bands, which feels very unreasonable I think. Okay, there's some very Metallica-esque parts in some of the songs, plus Matthew Heafy (also guitar, Corey Beaulieu is his partner in crime) sounds nowadays a bit like Mr. Hetfield at times, but that's not the whole story. Generally, there's nothing that's already been heard on many a North American thrash metal record, and that's the band's biggest hurdle. But Trivium are loaded with youthful energy and can write a good tune, let me tell you. At first couple of listens, there's hooks that intrigue listener, but after ten spins the songs show their power: They fucking stick to brain and there's no way out of it! At times, Trivium gets more rocking, slightly reminding me of Death Angel (or it's bastard brother, The Organization, especially on 'The Rising'), and multiplied vocal tracks only strengthen that feeling, as actually does Hefty's voice every now and then. Rapid, Megadeth-style riffage is aired a lot, too. A shred-fest. Many tempo changes really animate the songs, making the album roll on like a freight train. Gotta mention the catchy, long instrumental title track and a nice "balladish" 'This World Can't Tear Us Apart'.
Playingwise this is accurate, but with live vibe. Thanks to the organic sound. 'Becoming the Dragon' includes a good bass solo by Paolo Gregoletto. Travis Smith throws in varying, driving beats. The cover art is ugly, harking back to the thrash metal cover art of 1980s. Inside, it's more like Mastodon or something like that. Lyrical topics include e.g. loathing, war, people killing because of their religious beliefs, and metal. Plus a love song, hehe. The lyrics are written pretty bluntly, but at times do find the point. Hefty's vocals are in vein of James Hetfield, but he also sing with clean voice and uses his screamo vox a few times.
The bottom line: Catchy, energetic melodic thrash metal album of the 21st century, that kicks dirt over many old beard thrash metal bands' later albums. However, there's nothing new introduced to the thrash metal genre. But I'm hooked to the album, there's fantastic songs, and that's what matters. Just tell me how many unique thrash albums have been released in 21st century anyways?! Okay, there you go, then...
(originally reviewed for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2006)
As much as I like to bitch and moan about really, really shit bands I have a confession to make. It's not that often that I actually bother to listen to bands of such low quality, due to the fact that I have better things to be doing every day rather than say I don't know... listening to Trivium's The Crusade. Or at least that's what I'd say most days, but not today, I'm feeling obliged to be a complete cunt and depressing dick like I usually am in person, so let's see what I can say about this oh so loathed Trivium album.
If I remember correctly, this was meant to be the follow up to the (delayed) UK wide cheered Ascendancy. Over the course between these two albums, Trivium got some pointy guitars, bought some stupid clothes, grew their hair and decided their new favorite band was Metallica. The resulting media campaign from them being: "IT'S ALL ABOUT BEING THRASH MAN!!!"
Now I like my bit of Destruction, Sodom, Megadeth... and that's about it for me when it comes to that genre, as there's really only so much that can be done with it, and unfortunately if you're going to be drinking from a long dry well then I'm going to have to call you stupid. Especially when your straw barely ever stays near that well in the first place.
There's just too much that gets attempted in this album but nothing really happens. All the cliches are there, you've got the usual styled thrash riffs, but unfortunately the band gets bored quickly and constantly deviates by going to overly melodic parts that I could liken to cheesy 80s pop done by a metal band (think Firewind's cover of She's A Maniac), the first song Ignintion being an opening example of everything that will be happening in this hour long bore-fest. The sad part being they really want you to take them seriously. Well sorry, but I can't if you insist on trying to make me headbang, mosh, dance, sing a long, chant and cry on someone's shoulder in the space of five minutes. Variety is nice, but this is just a band that's affected by ADHD, it's like someone picking "Everything" in their specialist subject on Mastermind, and not half way through, run out of BBC studios chasing a balloon. Or you know, turning a review into a series of overly long similes and metaphors, but I digress (in the name of irony).
The only consistency in this album comes from Matt Heafy and Jason Suecof, the main engineer and producer. Like any band getting money hurled at it, the sound and production of this album are quite good, if standard in today's crop of metal cash cows, but hey, nothing bad about hearing the full band properly, it's not like I'm going to be going to see them live (even if I did actually see them live... once, not on purpose). Matt Heafy is also quite consistent in that he constantly grates your ears, whether this be through his pseudo singing that can only be thought to be him constantly wanting to kill James Hetfield and replace him in Metallica and making do with this for now, or his pretty crap soloing compared to Corey (Bleu?). At one point during their solo trade offs in Anthem (We're Running Out Of Song Ideas) I'm pretty sure one of his licks comes from The Simpsons theme tune.
Drums and bass are alright as well I suppose, though really, what haven't you heard here before? A standard metal drummer who likes his double kick and a metal bassist who thought Cliff Burton had the swell idea of never actually playing the damn song and practising musical theory whenever it's possible to get away with it on record. Except this time you can hear him, so in that respect, I'll say they're better than Metallica.
If you're a production whore and will only listen to anything that's been released in the last 10 years then go for it! If you're 14 years old and think this is the best band on the planet and deserve to be part of the new Big 4 of Thrash (alongside great thrashtastic bands like Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold and Bring Me The Horizon) then go get it! If you're actually reading this, then really, you're only reading this for the two or three cheap laughs, and not for an opinion of an album you already denounced 6 years ago as "utter crap".
Media invented conceptions tend to destroy any level of independent thought when experiencing music, so anyone wishing to call themselves a metalhead would do well to avoid it as much as possible. Nevertheless, sometimes the media hype gets so ridiculously overblown, so inflated, that even depressing, cynical guys like me who can’t be bothered to use a car radio beyond its CD player function, or watch television beyond his DVD collection will be forced to take it into account when listening to something deemed metal by the so called mainstream. Nowhere is this more blatant than in the case of Trivium’s infamous 2006 offering, “The Crusade”.
The first wild misconception that needs to be dispensed with when approaching this album is the notion that this listens like a Metallica tribute album. There is a Hetfield tinge to Matt Heafy’s vocal delivery that phases in and out whenever not utilizing that annoying clean vocal approach that reeks of bad emo music, but it isn’t all that more overt than a number of 80s and early 90s thrash bands who generally escaped being called clones. But aside from that, when analyzing the overtly technical riffing, the frequent and wildly progressive lead breaks, and the somewhat oddly constructed song structure, a more accurate point of comparison would be Annihilator. There isn’t so much a particular era of said Canadian thrashers to point to, but there is definitely a wildly similar blending of fill-happy riffs, sweeping solos, and older heavy metal tinged melodic material to safely remove this from anything that Metallica has ever put out.
Naturally all of this doesn’t speak to the actual quality of the output that is “The Crusade”, which stands among one of the more hated releases under the metalcore banner in purer metal circles. This is pretty much where Heafy and company, like on previous studio ventures, tend to come up short. If one were to judge completely on technical merits, this album would be a formidable force, but as a collection of songs this generally leaves some things to be desired. While the riff work is fancy when the band attempts a thrash approach, most of these songs are littered with annoying breakdown sections that scream Machine Head, and a few of them actually do nothing but groove in the most annoying ways possible. Songs such as “And Sadness Will Sear” and “This World Can’t Tear Us Apart” just coast like a broken shopping cart through muddy swamps of down tuned groove, which is made doubly offensive by boyish sounding clean vocals and utterly uninteresting musical clichés. Others such as “The Rising” and “Anthem (We Are The Fire)” have some mildly enjoyable early metal influences that were pretty well done to death and much better so before 1987.
The basic situation that emerges here is that, when the band elects to sound like a technical, solo happy Bay Area band, they do a fairly decent job. The problem is, this only accounts for about half of the album, and absolutely none of these songs seem to be able to stick to a consistent sound. “Entrance Of The Conflagration” does a pretty solid job of sticking to a Jeff Waters approach of riffing, complete with all the brief neo-classical fills and blurring palm muted tremolo riffs, and Heafy’s raspy shouts pretty well sound exactly what was heard on “Refresh The Demon”. The same general story unravels in “Ignition” and “Unrepentant”, although there is a bit more whiny clean vocals filtering in and out that degrade from the aggression factor established in the riff work and fast paced drumming. Beyond these 3 songs, the remaining songs on here tend to move further away from a consistent thrash formula into a hybrid of bad, tough guy hardcore and whiny emo with some thrash breaks. Probably the best example of this would be “To The Rats”, which actually goes between sounding somewhat like Metallica’s “Disposable Heroes” and a really bad version of Killswitch Engage, all in under 4 minutes, oddly enough.
If one were to liken this album to its namesake, the best example would be the infamous 4th crusade where barbarian mercenaries, with the blessing of Rome no less, actually set out to fight the Islamic Ottoman Empire only to end up conquering a good chunk of Eastern Christendom in the name of Christianity. In other words, people who had no idea what they were doing essential ended up defeating their own purpose. The best way to look at “The Crusade” is as attempting to play thrash metal in some sort of modern way by a group of people whose understanding of the genre can’t really get them to their destination. That’s not to say that this album is a complete throwaway, as I’m sure many fans of Annihilator’s post-Jon Comeau work of late should eat this up if they want to be consistent in their musical taste. But this isn’t something that is going to win over many outside of Trivium’s established audience, and that seems to be what they were going for here.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on July 21, 2010.
Trivium's Ascendancy was an outstanding representative of what metalcore genre was about. It had such energizing tracks as "Rain" or "Like Light to the Flies", but it gained mass media attention due to its softest single "Dying in Your Arms". Mass media called Trivium "The Next Metallica" (Which was apparently very praising for them, because Metallica was one of their greatest influences) and fans expected Ascendancy's successor to follow its glory.
But they received this as a response. The Crusade is Trivium's attempt to prove that they were the next Metallica by trying to be thrash metal. And that experiment brought nothing but musical failure. The first track "Ignition" is a strong reminiscent to Metallica's "Of Wolf and Man" and even though its chorus has some metalcore-ish melodical sound, it sounds awkward mostly because of the vocals. Heafy's vocals are no longer growls, but a failed attempt to imitate James Hetfield's 80s voice. When you realize that the second track "Detonation" reminds a lot of Metallica's "The Frayed Ends of Sanity", you can predict how the rest of the album is going to sound like: Metallica rip-offs with extremely forced vocals, forced rhythm and no emotion. The lyrics and the guitars on the other hand, are pretty cool. The solos are amazing and the lyrics deal with famous killings and social issues in a very clever way; Matt Heafy and Paolo Gregoletto really know how to write them. And at that point One would be asking "If only those lyrics were put into a good song"...
There are some songs in which the instruments are mind-blowing but the vocals ruin it. An example of this is "Tread the Floods" and "Contempt Breeds Contamination", a couple of songs that sound pretty addictive, energizing and uprising at the start, specially because of the guitar and drum work, until Heafy starts singing and ruins the song with his Hetfield-like attempt to sound thrashy. Another proof of this is that the only instrumental track of the album, The Crusade, is the best track of the album, with amazing and surprisingly original riffs and an amazing guitar work (The only thing that I didn't like was the tranquil part of the song, which sounded like an insolent rip off of Metallica's instrumental song tranquil parts like that of "To Live is to Die" and the song's ending, which is an insolent rip-off of "Orion"'s ending). And if you thought ripping off Metallica was bad enough, hear "Anthem (We Are the Fire)" when they try to do a Heavy Metal Anthem like Judas Priest, Manowar or Iron Maiden (And come up with an awful and childish result) or "The World can't Tear us Apart" when they rip off themselves. Yes, themselves, because it sounds almost exactly as Ascendancy's "Dying in Your Arms" a proof that they tried to do another mainstream hit, but failed because of their unoriginality.
As a result, this was a failed attempt to do a Thrash Album, mainly because of the vocals and the awkward intent to sound like Metallica's 5 first albums (Specially the Black Album). Thank God they corrected that by releasing Shogun, which was a pretty good album.
Songs that are Actually good: Unrepentant, To The Rats, Entrance of the Conflagration, The Crusade (Best track of the album).
Final Score: 57/100
Have you ever dealt with one of those albums that you wish you liked more, even if the general consensus concerning it is less than positive? Have you ever had one of those underdogs that you just keep rooting for in spite of let down expectations and just knowing that you really shouldn't do it? While Trivium seemed to reach their most consistent point (In my opinion) with 2008's "Shogun," this 2006 effort is their most interesting album thanks to the drastic style changes and the circumstances of the time.
Stylistically, you could probably call this Trivium's "sell-out" record for it seems to address and act upon all of the crticisms that were directed towards the band after the release of "Ascendancy" the year before. The screaming is almost entirely gone, the song structures are a little more adventurous, the lyrics try going into less angsty territory, and the music seems to take more influence from classic thrash metal than hardcore and the Gothenburg sound. Unfortunately there are a few things that don't see much improvement and a few other things that seem to have gotten worse with the changes...
One thing that is immediately noticed when listening to this album is its weaker production and lacking energy in comparison to the previous album. Although it was produced by the same guy, the overall sound is a lot mudder than on previous efforts and seems to act against the band's energy as a result. The riffs and drumming are still pretty solid on a catchy/technical level but they catch fire less often due to a seeming lack of fire and aggression.
Also lacking in aggression are the vocals, which seem to be the biggest dividing point amongst the album's listeners. Personally, I'm still rather mixed on the issue. I'm definitely not a fan of the screaming and prefer them to stay in the background as often as possible, but the clean vocals are still rather bland and lack charisma for the most part. The latter part is especially made evident on tracks such as "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" where Heafy unsuccessfully tries to channel Bruce Dickinson at the single's climax...
Fortunately a few new songwriting approaches do help improve things on a structural basis. The songs sound nothing like those from the previous album and are also pretty easy to tell apart from each other while listening. Most songs like "Unrepentant" and "Tread The Floods" are executed in a fast paced "pop thrash" fashion, but a number of other styles manage to be repsented. You've got a few theatrical numbers ("Ignition," "Detonation"), upbeat motivators ("Anthem (We Are The Fire)," "The World Can't Tear Us Apart," "The Rising"), darker mid-tempo songs ("And Sadness Will Sear," "Contempt Breeds Contamination"), and an instrumental title track. They even hint at the next album's style by means of the Japanese mythology-themed "Becoming The Dragon."
Speaking of themes, the biggest problem that I have with this album are the lyrics. It's nice to see the band becoming even more socially conscious and covering a bigger variety of interesting topics, but they really seem to be going about it the wrong way. There is a serious lack of metaphor at hand and the lyrics often suffer from a lack of subtlty and poetic form. Just look at the main hook from "Contempt Breeds Contamination," which describes the wrongfully racist shooting death of Adamou Diallo...
"The four protectors fired fourty-one shots
Hitting him nineteen times
Searching the body, there were no weapons found
He lies with all who die in vain"
...And, tell me, how does that make you feel? Seriously, the purpose of writing about these kinds of events is to poetically or emotionally express your opinion and/or offer an interesting take on the circumstances, not to spout off some damn CNN statistics! It's like someone writing about a historical event by taking the words straight out of a history book! And throwing in vague phrases and random declarations does not make a song poetic or metaphorical (I'm looking at you, "And Sadness Will Sear...").
Overall, the songwriting is decent enough for me to still enjoy this album, but I'm really not sure who I can recommend this to. The success of "Death Magnetic" in 2008 has rendered this album obsolete in terms of pandering to disgruntled Metallica lovers and the band's following in the metalcore circle hasn't exactly responded favorably. I suppose it's worth checking out for die-hard fans and others intriguied by the album's context...
1) Solid songwriting and decent variety
2) The riffs and drumming are still pretty solid
1) The lyrics could've a lot better
2) The vocals seem to lack charisma
3) The muddy production results in restricted energy
My Current Favorites:
"Ignition," "Entrance To The Conflagration," "Unrepentant," "To The Rats," and "Tread The Floods"
Okay, so it’s not going to go down in history along with Ride the Lightning or Rust in Peace as a masterpiece of thrash, nor will it replace and of those albums in your collection. And yes, it is pretty unoriginal and Matt Heafy does sound like a sub-par James Hetfield, but you know what? There’s a man who does an even worse Hetfield impression these days. His name is James Hetfield.
Anyway, I’m not here to defend Trivium with their big T shaped sword (which is actually part of a cool logo which wouldn’t look out of place on a power metal album) because I think this sucks pretty hard at times as well, but the backlash against this band is a bit extreme. I remember first hearing something from this album. At the time all I knew of Trivium was a couple of songs from the Ascendency album that I thought were pretty good, but not brilliant. Then The Crusade came out, and you know what? I had no idea at all. I though Ascendancy WAS The Crusade (purely because I’d never heard the name Ascendancy before and assumed The Crusade was the current Trivium album) and that this was still “the new Trivium album” and in fairness, there was barely a year between the albums being released anyway. So when I heard someone going on about Trivium ripping of Metallica – particularly in the vocal department – I assumed it was coming from a total idiotic n00b whose idea of an exotic cocktail is a Screwdriver. Metallica sounding like Metalcore? Come on...
And then one day I was bored and turned on Scuzz and saw the video for “The Rising”, and needless to say I was surprised. This actually DID sound like Metallica and I couldn’t believe it was the same band I’d heard a couple of songs from until someone explained it to me. “So The Crusade is the new Trivium album that’s just come out?” “Yes.” “But wasn’t Ascendancy just last year and had lots of singles from it?” “Yes it did.” “Yet both albums are totally different styles?” “That’s right.”
Hmm. As someone who was just starting to get into thrash at the time (before I got into thrash I spend most of my time listening to power metal and black metal) I decided it might be worth picking it up. My first impressions of it weren’t bad, but as I got more and more into thrash it became more and more clear to me that this was sub-standard.
My first problem is the riffs. They’re certainly there, but that’s it. Nothing that really jumps out and makes you want to thrash your head like you’d get from a Megadeth album; they’re just there, like a ceiling pattern. “Unrepentant” stands out though, because it is in fact the riff from Metallica’s “Through the Never”. Same with “The Anthem” which famously rips off “Skid o’ My Teeth” and as a previous review pointed out, has a chorus that could have come out of the “Dr. Feelgood” album, only with worse lyrics.
Actually the lyrics are the next case in point. Not much to say about them actually, other than the fact that they’re awful. Proof, you say? Sure, here’s a couple of bits from the song “To The Rats”:
“Let's go fuck
For every word
To try to breathe
Don't fuck with this
Break every bone in your face
If you mess with my life
I'll mess with your blood
Bury you in a coffin made of your
A coffin made of your deceptions”
Okay...So is this song about having sex with a girl and then threatening to beat her up? And also, how do you mess with ones blood? Because I’d rather like to try that one day. Still, the lyrics aren’t all that bad. Actually, the lyrics to the title track are awesome.
The production is a bit annoying as well. It sounds like production from a pop rock album or a metalcore release like their previous work, which would be great if it were pop rock or metalcore, but thrash? Thrash is supposed to have gritty production, not the sort of production that would make My Chemical Romance give their thumbs up.
Actually, this isn’t totally thrash. Traits of their metalcore past are still present in certain riffs and choruses, as well as in Matt Heafy’s occasional harsh vocals.
So why not a lower score? Well the album is still pretty enjoyable, it’s just not the thrash masterpiece the band would have you believe. And in fairness, the band are all clearly very capable musicians. The best songs on here would be “Ignition” and “The Rising”. The former having the best riffs on the album – kinda like a watered down Megadeth – and the latter simply having a good feel to it and nice solos and cool verses, but the chorus is kinda weak.
So all in all, not a bad album. Don’t go into this expecting to hear the next Peace Sells, because you won’t. But it is better than some of the crap a lot of the bigger names of thrash have put out in recent years. St. Anger, anyone? This is enjoyable if you don’t mind commercial sounding thrashy metal with lots of unoriginality and stolen riffs. Not great, but not total bollocks either.
Well here we are. Trivium's third album and fourth official release overall. The controversy surrounding this album is nearly impossible to ignore, but I will not touch on this. Everyone already knows what's hated and loved about this album, so describing it again would be a waste of time. In short, at this point, in 2006, Trivium already knew they had established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, showcasing nonstop touring, releasing new albums quite often, showing confidence and NO signs of slowing down. So, instead of rehash what they had done before, they thought they would go down the "old school" metal route, but with a modern flare and the still obvious metalcore moments and breakdowns (see Sanctity's Road To Bloodshed for similar results).
Opener "Ignition" sets the stage for the rest of the album. The obvious attempts at thrash are noticable, as well as Heafy's new vocal style, but the riffing this time around is much more technical and much faster than before. The chorus on hand on this one is by far one of the best on the album, and the song moves at such a quick pace (those triplets in the prechorus are pretty quick, almost at Iced Earth standards) that it's over in less than 4 minutes. The next song "Detonation" starts out a bit more lurching and menacing, showing an obvious Master Of Puppets era Metallica on the first half of this one, before morphing into a Slayer-esque solo, then breaking down into a more melodic power metal style, with a dual Maiden harmony at the end. An OBVIOUS highlight. "Entrance Of The Conflagration", the first single/video from the album is next, and it continues the momentum set by the first two, with more fast thrash-y riffs and a technical breakdown with a nice solo. The second single "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" is a song that really must grow on you, as the verses are a bit "anthemic, call to arms" ready than most others here....this is not Trivium's style...that being said, the lead in the middle is pure gold, one of the highest solos on hand here. "Unrepentant" is pure speed metal, no more, no less, albiet with a melodic chorus and a slower solo shred section, while "And Sadness Will Sear" is a slow, somber tune, with lyrics detailing the death of someone at the hands of ignorance. A very sad tune. "Becoming the Dragon", the fifth and final single is next, and it changes the pace big time. It is much more upbeat this time around, with a prog-metal midsection breakdown that calls Nevermore to mind.
"To The Rats" kicks off the second half, and on this one, it is balls out thrash, excluding the chorus, but "This World Can't Tear Us Apart" is much more melodic and radio friendly. This is the "ballad" of the album, but the fact it was written on a 7 string guitar is kind of oddball. "Tread The Floods" brings back more of the diminished palm muted riffs, with a nice lengthy solo in the middle that is quite technical. "Contempt Breeds Contamination", probably the most technical song on the album, has a very intense intro, and a prechorus that requires very nimble fingers to pull off, but the next song "The Rising" is a bit sleazy. It's more slow, radio oriented rock, and it's not a surprise this was chosen as their third single, though many other songs are better. The title track is extremely impressive, with it's many riff changes and amazing finger tapped section in the middle/end. By far the most progressive song on the album, very Dream Theater-ish. The swept arpeggios around the 6 minute mark are incredible to listen to. It may be the "cool" and "in" thing to play guitar great now, and it seems to piss a lot of elitists off, but why? The fact you can play this well should be praised, not hated.
There were two b-sides recorded for the album, titled "Vengeance" and "Broken One". Why they weren't put on the album is beyond me. "Vengenace" is a very heavy "People of the Lie"-esque number, while "Broken One" has a very melodic intro, and a couple of tempo shifts, and another chorus of great note.
This album wasn't as much of a leap forward as Ascendancy was, but creatively, it certainly was. Even still, there were MANY spots in which Trivium needs to grow. The lyrics, which were astounding on Ember to Inferno and above average on Ascendancy seemed a bit slapped together on this one, namely on "To The Rats", "Contempt Breeds Contamination", "The Rising" and "Anthem". The vocal melodies on many of the songs sound a bit similar as well. These qualms seem a bit damning, but this album is too damn good and creative for the time in which it was written/recorded (on the road, on short breaks). This shortcoming of time will be much less prevalent on their upcoming album "Shogun" to be released September 30th, so us Trivium fans continue to sit and wait with bated breath...
If mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, than Trivium must want to hump James Hetfield’s leg. Never before have I heard such blatant riff-stealing in an album. It’s as if Trivium went out and bought every Metallica and Megadeth album from the 80’s and early 90’s and took all the riffs and either slowed them down or sped them up thinking no one would notice. Come on Trivium, give us a little credit. I realize that bands steal riffs from each other all the time, even Metallica is guilty of this, but The Crusade’s use of stolen material is unprecedented.
So why didn’t I give this album an utterly putrid score you ask? Well, I have to give the guys in Trivium credit: They can play their instruments very well. Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu are excellent guitarists, showing a degree of complexity and virtuosity in their playing that is unusual for musicians as young as they are. The drummer, Travis Smith is very talented as well; keeping a very tight beat that serves as the backbone of the songs on the album. The bass player, Paolo Gregoletto, might be good, but I can barely hear him at all thanks to The Crusade’s pop-rock styled production. The Crusade is way overproduced. Trivium front man Matt Heafy claims that The Crusade is a thrash metal album, a genre known for its raw, unpolished sound. The Crusade sounds like it had the same producer as Avril Lavigne and the result is an album that sounds like thrash metal with training wheels. While I feel like Trivium may have done this intentionally to attract a wider audience (IE: fourteen year old girls that shop at Hot Topic) I don’t need my thrash watered down.
I mentioned above that the guys in Trivium show a degree of musicianship beyond their years. While these guys are able to play their instruments well, they can’t write songs worth a damn. The entire album sounds like it’s just going through the motions. There’s no passion, no emotion. Guitar solos sound like they are thrown in to the songs just for the sake of having guitar solos. There are no memorable or catchy riffs in this album save the ones they stole from other bands. And Heafy’s vocals: Oh God do they ever suck. Note to Matt: You are not James Hetfield, so stop trying to sing like him. You sound like a prepubescent twit trying to impersonate his daddy on the phone to trick a telemarketer. After hearing Matt’s vocals on The Crusade, I longed for his screamed vocals on their past albums, which I never thought were very good in the first place. And what’s the deal with the eight minute instrumental, self-titled track? I haven’t heard a more boring instrumental in my life. It’s as if they just took all the riffs they couldn’t form songs around and mashed them together.
As bad as the songwriting is, the lyrics are ten times worse. They sound as if they were written by a pissed-off twelve year old. The lyrics are just one cliché after another. I have no problem with anti-war, left-wing lyrics, but the ones on this album are laughably bad. Take the following lyrics from the song, Ignition:
Raise the guns
At every self-made suspicion
Build the bombs
Corrupt policy's decision
Our Leaders Preach if we disagree
We're the traitors of society
Our Systems breed supremacy.
Wow… I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Trivium makes Greenday look like Noam Chomsky.
I think buried somewhere underneath the stolen riffs, poorly written songs, and laughably bad lyrics is a decent album, but I’m not going to bother trying to find it. It’s a real shame because it’s obvious that the guys in Trivium have some serious chops. Perhaps someday they will realize their true potential and release something worth listening to. Until then, I’ll pass.
I would like to thank ANationalAcrobat for coining the term "Heafy metal", Trivium's true genre.
Now Trivium is one of those bands that kids of my generation fawn over with uncalled-for praise: "Teh best metal bnad EVAR!", "Better than (insert any old band)", "The saviors of METAL!" and so on and so forth. Trivium as a band is not always horrible: They are talented, though they obviously fell asleep in "Songwriting 101" and "How to sound old-school but fresh"; They have some good ideas, though it's spread so thin, they hardly seem good anymore; lastly, I'll give them the honor of being a metal band. I said metal band, I didn't say thrash or good. They are in fact 'Heafy metal'.
What is 'Heafy metal' you ask? Just put on this dreck of an album and you'll get a pretty good idea: Stolen riffs a-plenty; Hetfield-ish vox that does not even ONCE attempt to sound different; A bassplayer that's just there to complete the line-up; Drums that go nowhere; Pop worthy production; and, last but certainly not least, the more-metal-than-thou attitude that comes with it. Here's an example of that last point: In a December 2006 issue of Metal Hammer, Trivium proudly declares "Fuck metalcore, we're real metal!" but that couldn't be further from the truth. I, like most metal fans, think metalcore to be a horrible genre with very few redeeming features/bands. Trivium was, in fact, one of the most ardent proponents of the genre until they realized that they could make even MORE money by playing Heafy metal (He played metalcore for TWO full albums before abandoning that cashcow).
Heafy metal is simple: First, listen to MOP, RTL, RIP and all the other three-letter-abbreviated thrash albums. Then write 'politically and socially conscious' lyrics which is a by-phrase for "Look we write about something that's on the news! Aren't we different/cool?" Heafy himself has said "And Sadness Will Sear" was written about some guy who was killed because of his sexual orientation (I shit you not folks!) in response to all the "bullshit metal lyrics that's about Dungeons & Dragons and blahblahblah". But how is "And Sadness Will Sear" politically and socially conscious? Because they saw it on cable news?
Indeed, many of the lyrics in The Crusade are based on whatever the hell's on Fox News (yes Indonesia has that channel. I for one, welcome our American overlords) at 6 o'clock on a Christmas morning (I love my non-sequitur references). To wit: "Entrance of a Conflagration" is about a mom killing his children, "Contempt Breeds Contamination" is about a guy BEING killed, oh the variety. Yet when Heafy tries to write about other things, his lyrics end up being absurd as fuck! "Becoming the Dragon" a cautionary tale of a koi turning to a dragon, "Anthem (The Ant Farm)" a "Skin O' My Teeth" rip-off with lyrics about God-knows-what. And they call themselves 'politically and socially conscious'
But I don't go off on albums just because the lyrics are god awful. The musicianship is more important, and while they are capable of playing, they are incapable of writing anything memorable...or even original. Listen to the intro of "Becoming the Dragon" I like that part...when it was called "Black Prophecies". And Jesus Christ, Trivium! Can't you change "Anthem (The Ant Farm)" at least one bit to make it a little less "Skin O' My Teeth"? Oh and don't you just love his emo-ish crooning and that intro to "Entrance of the Conflagration" (Symphony X does choir bits much better)? And when they solo, though technical and somewhat enjoyable at times, they will often dip to pseudo-Petrucci-isms (no surprise there, Heafy brags on and on about how Rock Discipline is his friggin' Bible) and, in the case of "Detonation", Slayer-isms! I think Paranoidave said it best with that video, you know "Dear Tony Shaun", the part with the shots of Kerry King.
The absolute worst 'song' (if it can be called as such) is the title track. Here, Trivium decides to do "Orion" and be Dream Theater at the same time. The results, like when DT covered MOP, is horrifying. At the same time, this song has some good riffs, bass runs (hard to hear, thanks to the production) and drumwork. Thankfully the Hetfield vox aren't present, so that's a plus...of sorts. This song tries so hard to be awesometastic(tm) and epic, they lengthened the song to eight or so minutes of the most excruciating aural torture since St. Anger (pick any 'song'). It's much better if this had just been five minutes, they repeat parts without regard for 'flow' or 'cadences' or other apparently foreign (to Trivium) musical terms.
The production, as I said before, is pop worthy. It's like every other 'modern metal' band: Guitars and vocals are front and center; L-O-U-D Drums; Non-existent bass. Clean production is fine, but this is supposed to be THRASH (hey they said it, not I) for God's sake! A genre known for unclean production. Bah! I just can't go on anymore.
Conclusion: Although Trivium plays Heafy metal now, they are still as shitty as ever. The band members are capable of playing but they cannot make anything that is worth listening. I gave them 9 points just for that. I know, I'm too kind.
Don't buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it. It's nothing but a waste of time and money. I paid Rp 75,000 (don't fret it's US$7.00, but that's still too much) for this and never have I wanted my money back so badly, I could've bought Killing Is My Business... in that same shop.
For the love of metal, Heafy! Get a METAL songwriter or stick to Caphanaum (though that's Suecof's project rather than Heafy's)! Now I'll need some trepanning to get this album out of my head and the abomination that is Heafy metal, I can't believe I spent about a thousand words on a review. (Sidenote: I look like Paolo Gregoletto, but more tan and taller)
Trivium is an awesome band and I recommend them without hesitation...except for two minor problems.
1. They steal practically every song they write. Don't believe me? Grab their Ascendancy album and listen to "Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr". That's right, they stole Carcass's "Corporal Jigsaw Quandary", sprinkled in some melodic choruses and bad breakdowns, and claimed writing credit! Listen to the opening riff of "Unrepentant". It sounds exactly like the main riff of Metallica's "Through the Never". Are there any Petrucci fans in the house? Listen to the closing instrumental and tell me it doesn't VERY familiar. Sometimes whole song structures are ripped off (for example, "Becoming the Dragon" is just a sped up version of Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls"). And let's not forget the star atrocity. "Anthem (We are the Fire)" is basically a heavy metal cover of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger." You're probably thinking I'm making that up, and I wish I was. Listen to the two songs and you'll notice obvious similarities. The chucklefucks in Trivium stole the Rocky III theme song. AAAARRRRGH!!!
There's so much "borrowed" material on this album it boggles the mind. Just on one playthrough riffs and chords seem to jump out at you, making you think "haven't I heard that before somewhere? Like...on Metallica's early CDs?" I understand lots of metal bands steal from each other. Hell, Metallica themselves aren't exactly innocent of it. But when your whole CD is a five finger discount, well, that's just lame. I really wonder why more Trivium fans haven't tipped to this yet (on second thought, I don't. The average Trivium fan was listening to Slipknot and Disturbed 2 years ago and can be forgiven for a less than comprehensive knowledge of metal.)
2. The metalcore influence. It's true the band has abandoned most of their metalcore stylings in favor of a more up-front thrash style, but there's still a lot of metalcore on this album. Unlike most metalheads I don't think metalcore is a total loss (Isle of Man and Mendeed were/are good bands and come with my recommendation) but the demarcation of good metalcore exists far north of Trivium. For starters, we have lots of annoying breakdowns all over the place. Second, several of the songs (notably "The Rising" and "Unrepentant") have ill-advised melodic choruses that sound laughably out of place. It's interesting that the band can't seem to pull themselves away from metalcore even though they have publicly denounced the genre and said that they never had anything to do with it, and doubly interesting since early interviews exist where Matt Heafy professes his love of metalcore and "the scene". Oh well, no-one could ever accuse this band of having integrity...
If you're capable of getting over those two speedbumps, you'll find The Crusade to be a decent and mostly entertaining listen. Once this band starts writing their own songs and playing actual thrash, I can see them going places. The songs are really technical and complex and full of dueling guitar solos and rapidly-changing riffs. The band are undeniably talented musicians. In fact, I'm willing to call Corey Bealeau a better guitarist than Kirk Hammett. At least he knows how to solo without a wah-wah pedal.
People love to bash Heafy's voice and I will admit these criticisms are valid. He sounds quite syrupy and auto-tuned, and not at all like the rugged James Hetfield voice he's obviously shooting for. But I give the guy kudos because he's making an effort to put on a thrash performance this time rather than his previous metalcore screams.
There are no fast songs in the sense of Metallica's "Battery", and this gives the album a rather uniform listen, but it still pulls together as a cohesive whole. "Entrance to the Conflagration" has choral backing vocals that give it a nice atmosphere, as well as a good chorus and solo. "Tread the Floods" is also certified headbanger material. I'm not really fond of the slower songs but they're still well-written and sufficiently moody. The album's best moment is in the closing instrumental. Despite the material stolen from Petrucci it's still a very tight and entertaining 8 minutes that meshes prog metal sensibilities with the band's own metalcore/thrash style, and is proof that this band does in fact hold promise.
There's a great band deep down inside Trivium, somewhere hiding. They have the technical ability, they obviously demonstrate the correct influences (perhaps TOO MANY of the correct influences, if you catch my drift), but they refuse to capitalize upon their abilities. It's like they're taunting the metal world. How can a band perform such blatant thievery and yet still write something as brilliant as the aforementioned instrumental? Is it a joke? No. It is real.
I'm kind of undecided about this. I'm sure Trivium will eventually release something I'll enjoy, but they're not there yet. Besides, anyone who releases a butchered metalcore version of "Eye of the Tiger" and claims they wrote it is just plain evil, dude.
Trivium are one of many bands that are publicly considered to be at the top of the modern metal heap, beginning as a humble metalcore outfit before allegedly refining their sound into an exciting and explosive modern thrash giant. Billed by the mainstream as the next biggest thing since Metallica, Trivium’s well-documented ascent into the realm of true metal was undoubtedly going to raise the eyebrows of even the oldest hands. Could a so-called metalcore band really make the leap into thrash metal convincingly? The mainstream metal community certainly seemed to think so upon reception of The Crusade, Trivium’s top-selling ’06 release.
It only takes a quick listen of the first couple songs to see that these guys are just as influenced by Avenged Sevenfold as they are Metallica. Though there’s a few generic double time passages (Unearth style, meh), most of the band’s songwriting relies on pseudo-aggressive half-thrash and melodic metalcore hooks. Vocalist Matt Heafy’s vocal delivery consists of two parts James Hetfield worship and about eight parts whiny emo bitch. His playing isn’t much better, as nowadays you can hear more competent solos and riff progressions from even the greenest and most generic power metal band. Of the two guitarists, Corey Beaulieu is the better, but again, neither are much more than shitty Alexi Laiho clones. Bass and drums are standard for the genre, though there are a few bass solos (if I heard correctly). Actually, the fact that I could hear the bass at all is a plus, as many of their contemporaries’ bass lines simply imitate the guitars. Why even have bassists if you aren’t going to use them? But yeah, bassists and drummers like Paolo Gregoletto and Travis Smith respectively are a dime a dozen.
More irritating than the band’s mediocrity is their songwriting; which makes full use of the fictitious genre tag Metalli-core. The band fluidly alternates between pilfered Metallica-isms and metalcore clichés often enough to ruin even the songs that appear at first to be listenable. There’s actually a fair amount of modern rock/nu-metal elements incorporated as well, most obvious in the down-tempo songs and in chorus passages. There’s no way to avoid being offended by this band: either you have to listen to shitty metalcore, shitty Metallica thievery, or shitty numetal. The only decent track on the whole damn thing is the last one, their “epic” instrumental “The Crusade.” It’s fairly technical and has a small handful of above-average solos, plus you don’t have to listen to Heafy’s shitty voice. Always a good thing in my book.
Additionally, Trivium’s half-hearted attempt to display their social relevance lyrically fails to about the same degree as everything else they try to do. A few songs reference specific tragic events (“Entrance to the Conflagration,” “Unrepentant”), but they’re described in a way that’s so boringly blatant I’d much rather have just read about them in the paper. Other songs show the band’s lack of maturity by trying to be the voice of their generation and speaking out against injustices (“Ignition”) while displaying opposite sentiments of feel-good unity (“The World Can’t Tear Us Apart”) and juvenile revenge (“To the Rats”). It seems Heafy and co. want to wear as many hats as possible, as they’re clearly trying to lyrically appeal to scenesters from every camp.
Good thing it doesn’t take a seasoned intellectual to figure how shallow this band really is. When the media’s love affair with metalcore ends, you can bet that these trend-whores will be right on top of the next big thing, ready to pick our pockets to fuel their lack of integrity. Were they forced to stand on their own feet they’d probably have withered away like every other flash-in-the-pan modern metal has-been. If nobody bought into their bullshit, they might just disappear.
Here’s to hoping that Trivium’s end comes swiftly. Don’t buy The Crusade.
Well, let me start by saying I am an avid Trivium fan. Ascendancy, I consider, to be a great metalcore album, and From Ember to Inferno is a pretty decent attempt for a first album. So, when I downloaded this for the first time in 2006, I was expecting greatness.
I was proven sorely wrong.
As much as magazines like Guitar World and such would have you believe, this album is not a masterpiece. Actually, that’s a lie. It is SEVERAL masterpieces that Trivium has stolen. This album is simply a mash-up of many other artists’ riffs, lyrical ideas and solos, thrown together in hopes of assembling something resembling an album. So, in analysing this album, I will take the time, to quickly assemble a look at the album in foresight.
01 - Metallica/Megadeth
02 - Metallica
03 - Metallica
04 - Motley Crue/Megadeth
05 - Metallica/Pantera
06 - Pantera
07 - Metallica
08 - Classic 80’s thrash
09 - Dying in your arms
10 - Metallica
11 - Nevermore
12 - Pantera/Metallica
13 - Dream Theater
That is the album summed up in a nutshell.
However, to maintain some sort of unbiased review, I will review this album as best as possible.
Well, the album starts off well enough, decent riffs, good way to open an album. However, after the first song starts, I noticed that it’s basically a Megadeth song, with Hetfield vocals. Through and through, the entire song is just riff after riff stolen from Megadeth. And I thought, “Well, everyone has their days…” Until the next song started, and it was a Metallica song…. and again…. and then finally, a riff that isn’t a Metallica song, but is in fact, a Motley Crue song, with the intro riff stolen from Megadeth’s “Skin O’ My Teeth”. This 80’s glam metal track has some of the worst lyrics of all time in it. I swear to god. Someone needs to shoot Matt Heafy in the hands to prevent him from writing anymore atrocious lyrics like the ones in this song.
So, after that obscene amount of plagiarism finished, I paused the album and thought. “Is there any point in continuing? So far its nothing but rip-off after rip-off…”
But I did. On the off chance something original turned up.
I was sorely mistaken.
The only original song on the album is track nine. Which is in fact, a remix of their song “Dying in Your Arms” with a new title (or at least, that’s what I’m assuming).
So, more and more plagiarism, and wow, does it continue.
And then, all of a sudden, something heavy, something odd, and something all too familiar shows up.
A cover of Nevermore’s “Enemies Of Reality” shows up. Wow, never thought I’d hear Trivium covering that. Oh look, a new title…
(For those too dense to get the sarcasm, it’s not a cover, just the exact same fucking song with new lyrics basically)
So, now the album is based on Metallica, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Pantera and 1 Nevermore song.
Well, in essence, I was not surprised to hear the last track. It’s a complete rip-off of Dream Theater’s “The Dance Of Eternity” and given Matt Heafy’s insistence to mention that he can play through John Petrucci’s Rock Discipline DVD in every single interview he does, I’m not surprised to hear a Dream Theater track.
So, that’s “The Crusade” in a nutshell.
Everyone else’s masterpieces, with Trivium’s shite lyrics.
Here’s hoping they go back and listen to Ascendancy to see what they did RIGHT.
The 20% I’m giving this album is simply for the musicianship. They can obviously play, even if they are now a cover band.
After listening to this album I was very thankful I downloaded it, rather than wasting money on it. If you are planning on listening to it, I advise you do the same. However before you do listen to it, I have to warn you…
Trivium’s Crusade left me with a few questions: Where the hell did that come from? Why the hell did they do this? Who the fuck allowed them to do this? And will they do this again? First of all, the band sounds completely different. You might think that’s a good thing seeing as how they weren’t good before. But now they’re worse. If I had to describe the new sound I would call it an 80s thrash rip off mixed with poorly executed teenage angst. By poorly executed teenage angst I mean some of the lyrics sound like Good Charlotte. Yes, I just compared Trivium to a pop-punk band. Where this becomes most evident is in the music video for Anthem (which doesn’t live up to it’s name) in which the band trash a teenage house party and play “metal” in the back yard.
Matt Heafy’s vocals may be the biggest change in the sound. If you have read anything about this album you will have heard that he is trying to copy Metallica’s sound. Well that’s entirely true. I have no clue how he could possibly deny it as it sounds exactly the same. I guess you could respect him for performing such an uncanny impression, but I certainly don’t. We do however hear a few passages of harsh vocals, on the song Becoming the Dragon for example, although they don’t last very long and are soon forgotten.
There aren’t really any stand-out tracks, only ones that suck a bit less than the others. The title track (also the conclusion) is definitely the best. This is because it is an instrumental and seems to be Trivium’s attempt at being progressive, and they don’t do too badly at it. It’s no Opeth but was anyone expecting that?
The previous album (Ascendancy) wasn’t exactly a breakthrough but at least it had it’s moments of decency, I can’t really say the same about this. Although for a metal core album it wasn’t all that bad. The only thing that came close to impressive on The Crusade was the musicianship. There are a few cool riffs but, of course, they are mainly unoriginal thrash rip-offs.
I wouldn’t only recommend this album on the following conditions: You are a huge guitar freak and are interested in possible up and coming guitarists, or if you enjoyed Metallica’s St. Anger. If you don’t fit into those categories, I can only advise that you ignore this album.
One day, I was looking at a Guitar World magazine that I recently got. I noticed an article about Trivium releasing a new album and how they were "the new top charts of metal". The article continued to talk about how this album was bringing thrash back into the mainstream and was one of the golden albums of the decade. So I decided, why not go ahead and buy it. After listening to it several times through, this is what I have to say.
The overall musicianship and songwritting is very decent. The songs have some pretty good riffs and the solos are indeed very technical. Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu are very talented at guitar. Easily, the solos are the best part of the album. Travis Smith is a talented drummer too, lots of double bass and some sweet fills. It's hard to notice bassist Paolo Gregoletto but he has a couple of really cool bass solos. As for the vocals, Matt attempts to sound like James Hetfield a lot. Is he good at it? Yes, but he's still not at James' level. Also, the lyrics are kind of weak and cheesy. But overall, The Crusade has some very enjoyable songs. Best songs on the album are Ignition, Entrance of the Conflagration, Becoming the Dragon, and To The Rats.
The production is pretty good. All the instruments are solid and clear. The bass doesn't stand out a lot, but it's still hearable.
However, there are problems. The songs are enjoyable, but there's really nothing on this album that stands out a lot. There's just nothing on this album that's amazing. And like I said, the vocals and lyrics aren't very strong, so that makes it even worse. The songs aren't "classic" at all.
Also I want to mention that Matt Heafy wanted to have the album be a thrash album and an album that was as amazing as Master of Puppets. In that article I read, he said "We are going to be the next Metallica!" Ok, Matt, there's something you should know. This album is not thrash. It's more thrash influenced than Ascendancy was, but I still call it nu-metal/metalcore. Is that bad? No. But calling it straight thrash is pushing it to much. Is this album as amazing as Master of Puppets? Not even close. Keep dreaming Matt, I don't think anyone will write something as great as Master. And Trivium being the next Metallica? That's laughable. If he's talking about Metallica in the mid 90's to present (Load to St. Anger), that might be possible.
Aside from how arragont and cocky Matt Heafy is, The Crusade is a pretty good album but nothing amazing. I like it, but I wouldn't recommend it to fans of older metal. Good album though.
Trivium has had their fingers in the last massive metal movement that came through the United States. Ascendancy was one of the more impressive albums that came out of the metal core movement – Trivium did that fairly well. I’m not a fan of metalcore but they did play that genre well.
The Crusade is Trivium’s third full length album and a strange one on that. I’m all for bands trying to find their sound and playing what they love – but The Crusade is a little far. As in the previous reviews on this site…saying that the Crusade sounds like Metallica doesn’t really convey that thought. I mean, shit, a lot of bands take ideas from Metallica and use them. Trivium just down right carbon copied the formula Metallica uses. Right down to Hetfield’s vocals…but you have heard this before. Let’s get on.
Trivium decided that on The Crusade that they were going to become a thrash band. Hell, I’m all for that! I love thrash. Too bad they kind of suck at thrash. But, we’ll get to that. The Crusade literally has every element that makes thrash…well…thrash. It has some thundering riffs overlaid with melodic parts. It has flaming solos and drums that went from being one sided as on Ascendancy to being towards a thrash tendency. Even the vocals went from being a barked at the audience to Hetfield-inspired harsh vocals. The writing is inspired by being angry and there is a good sense of discontent in the music.
So Trivium have taken their number one inspiration, Metallica, and changed their metal core ways to become a modern thrash band. Sounds pretty good right? Well even though above I stated all the reasons it SHOULD be a good thrash…The Crusade isn’t. Why? If it has all this thrash inspiration and elements, it has to be thrash. No it doesn’t. Trivium proved that. What The Crusade doesn’t have is the mentality of thrash. Thrash is a sub-genre that pulls on the idea that nothing is over polished. It’s a raw sound and any thrash bands that try to overproduce or over think it start putting out mediocre thrash. Trivium over analyzed thrash and then over produced it. It’s too damn radio friendly. Not that radio friendly is bad…but man album is written and recorded for all the wrong reasons. And that undermines every element that makes thrash. Too much focus on the details rather than the foundation that thrash is built on. The album itself has talent on it. Unfortunately Trivium missed the target.
So through all these thoughts I came to one conclusion: Trivium is trying to take over another metal sub-genre. They are on a “crusade” to conquer all of metal! Pretty soon they are going to try symphonic black metal and try to become the most recognized band in that sub-genre. Dammit…this needs to stop. It is my recommendation that if Trivium changes their sub-genre one more time that the government step in and split their monopoly. Cause this is ridiculous.
So, I made the mistake of reading some iTunes reviews for this album (seriously, the spelling and grammar in my review title was not much of an exaggeration), and I noticed that someone called it the "Master of Puppets of our generation."
Now as stupid as that sounds (does anyone seriously believe that this is going to be anywhere near as influential?), there's actually a lot of truth to it. In some ways, The Crusade is just like Master of Puppets - only worse. I mean, just listen to it. Everything that dragged Puppets down is here, just in greater magnitude.
Master of Puppets featured blatantly stolen riffs (the title track for instance, just ask Metal Church) and plenty of stolen ideas (most notably "Leper Messiah"), but at least the sound was still fresh and the scene new, plus, the riffs that weren't jacked from other bands were pretty killer (see: "Battery" and "Disposable Heroes"). Trivium, on the other hand, offers absolutely nothing we haven't heard before, and very few good riffs. Anyone with an extensive knowledge of metal will hear a lot of passages on this album that sound oddly familiar, altered versions of riffs and leads from other bands - especially Iron Maiden and Metallica. Oh, and who could forget the fact that the first track, "Ignition," kicks off with an only slightly modified version of the main riff from Behemoth's "Conquer All." Way to get off to a good start, guys, but next time try it with a riff YOU wrote. Unfortunately the best they can do on their own appears to be the very typical modern pseudo-thrash riff work that Nevermore and Testament can pull off so much more convincingly.
Then there are the vocals. James Hetfield sounded like a metal vocalist should on "Master of Puppets." Matt Heafy sounds like...a bad imitation of James Hetfield. Oh sure, he claims that since "James Hetfield is the most recognized voice in heavy metal, so people are always going to compare you to what's popular," but I'm pretty familiar with metal vocalists in general, popular and obscure, and believe me, he sounds like a bad imitation of James Hetfield. Or at least, he does most of the time; the rest of the time it's back to his almost-emo crooning that we had to endure on Ascendancy and Ember to Inferno. What really bothers me is that he's capable of much better. I saw Trivium at Sound of the Underground this past summer, and Matt sounded great without reminding me even slightly of Hetfield. If he'd just sound like that on the albums, I'd probably like this band a bit more.
Next up, the solos. On Master of Puppets, Kirk Hammet was just starting to abuse his wah petal, but his solos were pretty good. More importantly, they fit perfectly into the songs. On the other hand, while Matt and Corey up some blazing solos, they seem to be soloing just to solo. The Crusade is pretty much trying to be metal-by-numbers, and so of course there are solos because that's what metal bands do, right? There are a few exceptions, but most of the solos on the album appear to be there just for the sake of having them. Yawn.
There's not much to be said about the bass other than that Cliff Burton was good and Paolo Gregoletto might be, but we'll never know because they've buried him in the mix.
Like Master of Puppets, The Crusade features a worthless instrumental. "Orion" was just plain boring, especially compared to "Call of Ktulu," but the title track from The Crusade is garbage for a different reason. It's got some terrific moments, but it flows so poorly that I have a suspicion that Trivium just used it as a way to do something with all the riffs they liked but couldn't build songs around.
And last of all, there are the lyrics. Here more than ever, The Crusade takes a shortcoming of Master of Puppets to all-new lows. Trivium's lyrics have always been bad, but this time they're absolutely appalling. You know how some bands have lyrics so bad you find yourself actually wincing once in a while? Well, with Trivium, it's not "every once in a while" so much as "every few seconds." The lyrics on The Crusade are what I'm sure the band would call "socially and politically conscious," which means that in between sappy love songs ("All the hate in this world can't tear us apart, this love is forever") and stupid calls to arms for their fans ("The music connects, unites us more/Our masses strengthened, an unstoppable horde/We're all now a family/Together let's show the world what we say"), we're subjected to pseudo-informed rants from Matt Heafy. "Systems breed supremacy." Wow. Well said; did you come up with that for yourself? Now, I'm a pretty liberal guy, so the fact that he decries hate crimes isn't what bothers me; I'm also sane and fairly intelligent, so I've got no problem that he criticizes the powers that be (who in their right mind wouldn't?). But the way he does it is so juvenile and simple-minded, so lacking in subtlety (sort of a key ingredient in lyrics and poetry), that it actually almost ruins the songs for me. Master of Puppets had its share of cringeworthy lyrics as well, but I'll take "Cannot kill the family, battery is found in me" over "Our leaders preach/If we disagree/We're the traitors of society" any day. Matt Heafy might be 20, but he writes like an angry 14 year old.
Now, this album isn't all bad - some of the songs are catchy, and some have a few decent riffs (although nothing special). Taken by themselves, a few of the songs are actually all right, "Tread the Floods" in particular. But when you have to listen to a whole album of it, it gets old pretty quickly.
I'm sure that people who like this album will just say that I'm being a typically narrow-minded metalhead who can't stomach anything that's popular in the mainstream, so I'd just like to say in closing that I'm anything but tr00 (nobody who listens to as much pop and country as I do can claim to be). I don't dislike this album because it's popular, I dislike it because the solos are boring, the riffs are unoriginal, the songs lack passion, the attempt at thrash fails miserably, the influences are too obvious, the vocals suck, the lyrics suck, and the whole bland package lacks anything even remotely unique. I had high hopes for this album after seeing these guys live (just read my Ascendancy review), but it turns out I was mistaken. I felt sure they were going to put out a terrific and genuinely metal album, and while this is definitely metal (a lot more so than Ascendancy), its ubiquitous absence of both originality and intensity makes it just as mediocre as their last outing. Sorry Trivium, better luck next time.
What were/are my most anticipated albums of 2006? Off the top of my head there is Motorhead's Kiss of Death, Into Eternity's The Scattering of the Ashes, Cellador's Enter Deception, Blind Guardian's A Twist in the Myth, and of course, Iron Maiden's A Matter of Life and Death. After that, there were/are bands that, though I am not a fan of them, I wanted to check out anyways, just to see where the band would take their careers next. Some of these would be Strapping Young Lad's The New Black, Falconer's Northwind, and quite obviously Trivium's The Crusade.
Now, Trivium was never a band that really impressed me. Sure they've got a couple good songs (I've always been partial to The Deceived off of Ascendancy), but up until now they haven't done anything spectacular enough to warrant the praise and hype leading up to The Crusade. Yet for some reason, I was really looking forward to this album. Perhaps it was the prospect of vocalist Matt Heafy ditching the screaming that plagued the band's first two albums. It worked for Avenged Sevenfold, I thought. Perhaps it was silly for me to expect the exact same results from Trivium, but as soon as I got it around my head I fell victim to the hype machine as well. Oh well. When I first heard The Crusade, naturally, I was pretty disappointed. That happens with most of the music I listen to. But still, after countless listens, the album still does nothing for me. Quite the disappointment, I must say.
With The Crusade, Trivium promised their fans balls out thrash metal. They promised an album on par with Metallica's legendary Master of Puppets. Unfortunately, they band doesn't come within a country mile of an album such as that. From the album's opener to the second last track, The Rising, every track sounds exactly the same as the one before. Listening to it over and over again, I would not have realized that the song had changed without looking at the song list. Plain riff after plain riff; Hetfield-esque vocal line after Hetfield-esque vocal line; the album rarely ever changes its formula. It doesn't help when their rehashed efforts are completely boring either. The only occasion where the band escapes this apparent routine is on the very last track, the 8 minute instrumental, The Crusade. In a way, it sort of reminds me of Orion. Maybe not in structure or sound, but the fact that it will undoubtedly be praised as a masterpiece as Orion is. Perhaps I will be in the minority, but I am unable to enjoy either. As with Orion, The Crusade is much too long for its own good. Shave a good 2-4 minutes off, and you'd have a much better song. The song is very messy, and the riffs do not flow very well at all. This song in particular was probably the biggest disappointment off of The Crusade, and I feel they could have done a much better job with it. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the album is the soloing, yet even this element does not save the band this time around. The excitement level does not rise above the bare minimum required to retain the listener's interest. For a band whose centerpiece is the guitarists and their performances, this is not a very good thing at all.
However, one positive change that The Crusade brought Trivium was the swapping of vocal styles. As I mentioned earlier, gone is the screaming which plagued their first two releases. That's not to say I hate screaming, but when you do it as badly as Matty did on Ember to Inferno and Ascendancy, change is welcome. Instead, he employs a rougher, James Hetfield-esque, style. Despite being unoriginal, he sounds great on the first two songs, Ignition and Detonation. Unfortunately, just as nearly everything else on the album, there is little to no variety in his singing, and it gets rather old after the fifth track. With sub-par musicianship, it is certainly disappointing that Heafy's vocals are not up to snuff either. Still, it is an improvement on past releases, and that's got to count for something.
The Crusade is at its best when you do not listen to the whole thing in one sitting. Instead, the best way to enjoy the album is in (very) little bits and parts. Listening to, saaay, Detonation or Tread the Floods on its own and they aren't necessarily bad tracks. What really brings the album down, as I mentioned earlier, is the sameness of pretty much every song. Each song (with the exception of the title track) is much more interesting to listen to in a playlist of several different artists, in your Ipod or MP3 player. The songs are much easier to digest, because you aren't listening to the same song over and over and over. But this is the only way I got anything out of the songs, and I shouldn't have to do this to enjoy the material. As an all around album, The Crusade totally fails in this aspect.
Is The Crusade the disappointment of the year? Possibly. Though I plenty (read, dozens) of reviews can be found claiming quite the opposite, I just can't get into the album. The entire album could be the opener, Ignition, twelve times in a row, followed by the title track, and you seriously wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Forget the musicianship which is lacking and the monotonous vocals; this is my biggest irk with the album. Before I may have claimed that Trivium can do better, but now I don't even know anymore. Matty, your band is running out of time…
Originally written for Sputnikmusic
This is without a doubt the single worst album I've ever heard in my life. I could not in good conscience give this a full point like I did to its predecessor, Ascendancy. I'd much rather strip myself of all musical dignity and listen to full blown mallcore, because in reality, this is just mallcore with guitar solos. Maybe it's the fact that the band spends every waking moment worshipping other bands and completely neglects the concept of originality. Whether they're endorsing Dimebag's old equipment, talking about how much Kirk Hammet loves their album, or flaunting their new Darkthrone shirt, Trivium just isn't a good band.
When I first listened to them I was optimistic. By my rating of Ascendancy it may not seem like it, but I really did. These guys can play, but any possible technical advantages they may have are compeltely ruled out by their overbearing lack of writing skills. I honestly couldn't believe they could stoop much lower than what they had done on their last album.
People call them the next Metallica, and by listening to The Crusade, it's no surprise. Trivium has managed to rip off Metallica in the form of a 13-song album without leaving a single note that sounds original. Matt Heafy had announced prior to the release that he didn't like screaming and wouldn't be doing it on any subsequent albums. What he really meant was that they needed to rip off James Hetfield's rough style of singing to really take their Metallica fanboyism to the next level, and by god, they did that. From the opening riffs of Detonation it's obvious that they're trying for a harsh style of thrash, but what they ended up with was an awful mallcore/metalcore Metallica knockoff. Entrance of the Conflagration is easily one of the most immature "metal" songs I've ever heard, as it includes every poor cliché from the choral "oooohs" to the cheesy sing-along chorus.
There was some talk about how their 8-minute instrumental would turn out. In a word, it's bad. No, this particular song doesn't sound like Metallica. What it does sound like is over 8 full minutes of decent riffs slapped together so haphazardly it's like the band didn't know if they were coming or going. Just when you think Trivium has finally managed to turn off Master of Puppets for one second and written a decent riffs they follow it up with something nonsensical.
Aside from the tracks that stand out for better or for worse, the album flows as one giant slab of unoriginal music. Unrepentant and Ignition blend in with the rest of The Crusade's incompetently generic riffs while And Sadness Will Sear shows the band making a more than feeble attempt at writing slower, melancholic metal. The same applies to This World Can't Tear Us Apart, a faster paced song with emotion equivalent to 80's pop music. I honestly think I heard Celine Dion sing the exact same vocal lines 15 years ago that Matt Heafy manages to butcher here. Furthermore, Contempt Breeds Contamination is a rather appalling attempt at technical death metalcore, while The Rising is yet another three and a half minutes of gut-wrenchingly bad 80's metal copies.
The only vague shimmer of hope the band gives is Tread the Floods, as the opening riff manages to blend Iron Maiden with Into Eternity without sounding like a blatant copy. Unfortunately, the rest of the song is just as derivative as the rest of the album. For 57 minutes I sat and wept for the metal world, trying desperately to find something to justify the recognition the band gets for their lack of effort. When all is said and done I can honestly say that there is not a single good song on this album. For a band of such rabid Metallica worshippers you'd think they'd have more sense than to steal St. Anger of all albums.
There's no point in recommending songs because it would be like comparing dogshit to horseshit. Trivium actually managed to put out an album so bad that even the most avid Christian can't deny Jesus died in vain. The Crusade is a completely worthless, unredeemable album without any source of original, worthwhile metal. I can only pray that the rest of the world doesn't judge American metal by this, which is unfortunately what the media has deemed the leader of the next generation of metal.