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Decent. Lacks power. - 70%

HeirOfNothing, December 22nd, 2011

The IVth Crusade receives a lot of praise for its patient songwriting and simple-yet-effective riffs. I can see where that's coming from, but what I don't understand is the alleged slegdehammer-like effect it's supposed to have on the listener. Might be my eyes speaking (the artwork would fit a NWOBHM-style album a lot better), but the earth-flattening power of Bolt Thrower in their early days is nowhere to be found. BT going Candlemass sounded like a truckload of awesome, but it just ain't there. Some of the riffs sound plain awkward. Admitted, there are some catchy ones (in This Time It's War for example), but overall, I find it rather stale. Might have something to do with the production, which has some strange frequency peaks and lacks punch, but I don't really see any potential for significant improvement through that.

Rant on the drummer: now there's a man who takes it easy. Not in a good, doom metal-like way (Candlemass you say?), but in a plain lazy way. For death metal standards at least. It's not like he doesn't lay down some quick-handed fills, but all they do is sort of be there. I was frustrated throughout the entire album because of the possible grooves they let slip for straight beats.

Vocals deserve some criticism as well. I thoroughly enjoyed their gritty strain in the earlier grindcore-oriented stages of Bolt Thrower, but they don't match with the new format.The lyrics I usually don't pay attention to, but I can't help snickering at them. As the World Burns is a prime example of that.

Never mind the bass.

Of course, they've been in the business long enough to know how to put together a well-executed album. I could still enjoy it, but I'd never choose to listen to it over most of their other works.

(Has some similarities with Death's Spiritual Healing if you discard the obvious musical differences. Bland drumming, powerless guitar tone and just a few good moments.)