Sound — 9
This is almost a complete departure from 2005's Ascendancy. The scream/sing/scream/sing structure is no longer on this album. On The Crusade, Trivium have decided to sound more like their influences (namely Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera and Iron Maiden). From beginning to end, The Crusade is a constant display of crushing riffs and fret melting solos, that much is to be expected. The main focus of this album is technical abilty, and indeed, each member Trivium is technically brilliant at playing their instruments. Guitars: in a genre like thrash metal, the guitarist is usually the one who is first to be judged. Matthew K. Heafy and Corey Beaulieu deliver solos faster than a speeding bullet. The downside of this however, is that most of the solos on this album are too long and lack melodic phrasing. The few exeptions are the last 2 solos on Detonation, Entrance of the Conflagration, Anthem, And Sadness Will Sear. Bass Guitar: Paulo Gregolleto's skills as a bass player seem to be overshadowed by the intense guitar playing. He does have on solo on the title track of the album. Paulo's playing style (and even his dress style) seems to be heavily influenced by Metallica's late bassist Cliff Burton. Drums: for me, the drums are probably the highlight of the record, and I don't even play drums. it's undeniable that Travis Smith knows his stuff, well enough that even Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, he even stated that he "wanted to hide every time he saw Travis play" on MetalHammer magazine. Travis uses blast beats a lot of the time, but he knows how to use them, unlike many extreme metal bands who use blast beats for the sake of having drums, Travis' use of blast beats actually enhances the songs.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrical themes Matt Heafy mainly explores bigotry and discrimination, which he must have been subjected to being half Japanese/White American. These themes have lots of potential, but sadly, Heafy doesn't use it to the fullest. He doesn't seem to be bothered with clever wording, he would much rather say what he feels, and if you were Phil Anselmo from Pantera, that would be good, but when you sound so much like early Metallica, it would be much better be a bit more imagininative. There is, however, one track with good lyrics and that track is And Sadness Will Sear, these lyrics are so depressing but so true, it actually makes me feel pain for William Shepard, and not many song lyrics can actually move me.
Overall Impression — 8
My overall impression of the Crusade is a good one. Great songs, with occasionally good lyrics. I especially appreciate Heafy's change of vocal styling, I grew tired of the metalcore scream a long while ago, and thankfully for me, he did as well. My favorite track on this album would definitely be And Sadness Will Sear, the opening riff is fantastic, the lyrics are moving, the song is consistent and the vocals are spot on. My least favorite track is, without a doubt, the instrumental track, The Crusade. It may be technically brilliant, but it's boring. The band mentioned in an interview on MetalHammer magazine that the instrumental piece would be in the style of Dream Theater, and it turned out to be that way. It was pointlessly complex, it's like trying to force 2 puzzle pieces together that don't fit. The one aspect I don't like about this album, and Trivium itself, is their blatant 'fanboyism'. The record sounds WAY too much like Metallica at some points. At the Download Festival 2006, Matt Heafy got the crowd chanting 'Metallica', and in all his interviews, it's always Metallica this Metallica that, he even wants Trivium to be the 'next Metallica'. it's good to give credit to your influences, but as long Heafy keeps the fanboyism going, Trivium will always be in the shadow of Metallica. If this record were stolen I wouldn't bother buying it again. Firstly because I already ripped the CD onto my computer. Second of all, I bought the limited addition 'First Day Cover' version which had a special black cover that was only sold on the first day of it's release, buying another one wouldn't be the same.