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The melodies, the heaviness - 95%

morbert, June 12th, 2007

A surprising album after their opus magnum ‘War Master’ and the last one to be really considered ‘progression’. The pace was down and the last remnants of grindcore, blastspeeds and hardcore had finally disappeared. Remaining was a rumbling form of low death metal with a more than average load of melody. Yes, melody. Who’d had thought that during the ‘In Battle…’ days.

Although not melodic in the classic sense but more semi-melodic and harmonic, resulting in actually very catchy songs. Filled with the melancholic minor scale type of writing, the album sounded like a lament for all those who died during the crusades. Excellently chosen album title of course.

Do not expect a mellow album by the way. Of course it still is a heavy piece of down tuned death metal the old way. Andy Whale had really gotten into form on this album, playing tighter and more dynamic than before. As said the guitars were at their most melodic, some of the riffs were even catchy, and the performance of vocalist Willets was what you’d expect. The album had a very high compositional quality from start to finish without specific highlights apart from maybe ‘Where next to conquer’ which is one of the most catchy songs. Ohw, before I forget, the melodic outro ‘Through The Ages’ with its spoken words is simply beautifully atmospheric.

After all these years even the fans who had been disappointed at first by the lack of speed, would eventually be persuaded by the individual melodic quality of the ‘Fourth Crusade’. Another highlight in their discography.