Sound — 9
Most of the music here is great. It's lost a lot of metalcore influence and gained a lot of thrash influence. It's still not true metal, but there are instances when you might mistake them for an '80s thrash band if you didn't know it was already Trivium. Instead of the longer, more flowing riffs we're used to from Ascendancy, the riffage of this album is more focused around more basic rythms and having technical fills at the end of a riff. Overall, some pretty great music, each song is listenable, and it's perfectly do-able to listen to the whole CD through without having to hit "next track."
Lyrics — 3
Matt's voice sounds pretty good in the album, but you almost wish he was still undecipherably screaming because the lyrics are so horrible. Whatever happened to the relatively deep lyrics from parts of Ember to Inferno? The lyrics on The Crusade are almost laughable at times. It's a relief that the song The Crusade is so good so you don't have to worry about Matt's lyrics ruining the song. Most metalcore/metal music isn't focused on the lyrics, so most people won't care that the lyrics are so bad. The lyrics are so bad that they hurt the album.
Overall Impression — 9
As long as you're not paying attention to the lyrics, the album is great. It's not true metal, but it's not really metalcore anymore. There's a lot of skill here for such young band members. My favorite tracks are Ignition, Detonation, and Tread The Floods, but all of the songs are pretty good.