Sound — 9
You cannot deny it-Alkaline Trio originally flew the flag for gloom-punk before metal-loving My Chemical Romance came and snatched it out of their hands. But it's here on the Trio's fifth offering that they prove that they can still do what they do best, only better. Having cut down on his drinking considerably, front- axeman Matt Skiba's vocals don't sound as if the actual record itself has gone to hell. And now that the Trio are married/getting married, no longer do they sing about screwed up relationships. Musically, the best song of all 13 or so songs is "The Poison," with it's stunning riff and images of strangely enough, rooftop views of London and Brooklyn. The only real let down is the "Prevent This Tragedy" chorus. Whilst the violin intro and verses are spine-chillingly perfect, the chorus just goes to hell. They switch immediately from gothic slow-burner to pop-punk rollercoaster ride and it doesn't fit at all.
Lyrics — 9
Key to an excellent album = thought-provoking lyrics, excellent riff, humongus hooks and a suitable voice. There are very few bands that have all of these. The lyrics of "Crimson" make Guns 'n Roses look like Simple Plan at times-take "Fall Victim" for instance ("She came, she came with sterile warning") and hard-hitting songs like "Sadie", the most outstanding song on the album (about Sadie Mae Glutz of the Manson Family). The lyrics and the music actually work together splendedly. And that, young musicians, is the key to a great album.
Overall Impression — 9
I would personally hunt down and kill the person who stole "Crimson," if it were stolen, and I would replace it if it got lost. The most impressive songs on the album, like I said, are stunners "Sadie" and "The Poison". Future single "Burn" also stands out a mile from the rest. Despite the chip in the perfectly sharp blade that is the chorus of West Memphis Three-based "Prevent This Tragedy," this can confirm and assure the Trio that they will win over a whole army of new fans and new young guitarists with "Crimson" (originally called "Church And Destroy"). An exceptional piece of work from the Chicago trio.