Sound — 8
When I first heard Trivium back in 2004 with their Ember To Inferno album my first impression was "Wow looks like these guys are gonna be big", and as far as I can tell they have become. With The crusade they switched from their Metalcore, dropped D style and turned towards a 7-stringed, technical, Thrash metal approach. Following in the footsteps of Metallica The Crusade features tremolo picked solos and sweeped arpeggios to blow your mind and is a vast improvement to the previous two albums. The use of strange sounding chords in song like "Detonation" and "Tread The Floods" gives it it's finishing thrash metal tint and adds loads of 16th notes to accompany them, just to make it a little speedier. This album features no screaming, unlike the previous two albums which were mostly all screamed, this upsetted some fans and caused a lot of controvery. Matt Heafy commented on this by saying he "Wanted to break away from the over-inflating metalcore culture that has been steadily growing until now every other band in the world is a metalcore band". The riffs were also slated by critics for sounding too much like a riff from a Metallica album in songs like "Entrance of the conflagration" and "To The Rats", however I personally feel they added their own personal style to the Thrash Metal sub-genre of music and very much made it their own. The band's use of a seven-stringed guitar gave it a harsher, darker sound and gave the guitarists Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu more room to be creative in their playing. It also added originality to their music which made it more interesting. Since Trivium switched their style to Thrash Metal in "The crusade" the solos are made using mostly 16th notes and sweeping arpeggios. This made it very interesting and received very positive reviews, with James Hetfield even noting that "these guys are good guitarists". They took a big chance with the Crusade and many fans feel as though they have failed, some however (like myself) feel opposite. If the Crusade hadn't changed things for Trivium they would have turned into a repetitive mind-numbing band and faded into the ever-inflating music culture. Although I'm not a fan of fret-wan*age this album really seemed original and well rehearsed. The wonderful use of sweeping arpeggios as an emotional fuel really gave the song it's backbone.
Lyrics — 8
Some of the lyrics in The Crusade used power metal influenced themes, for instance in "Becoming The Dragon", and political themes, for instance "The Rising" and "Contempt Breeds Contamination". However the song "This Is To The Rats" is about Matt Heafy's own personal experience with liars in the media and other members of the public, it made a change from the boring, repetitive lyrics in Ascendancy about abuse and Matt Heafy's feelings. The lyrics were fast and often about fighting, this complimented the fast, aggressive music that the musicians produced. The singer Matt Heafy seemed to almost mimick James Hetfield's, of Metallica, trademark "growled" voice, this makes it unoriginal and is the only reason I wouldn't give it a 10/10 rating. The singing style however, when not growling, was nice and complimented every note played by the guitarists. Also in "This World Can't Tear Us Apart" there is a very nice harmony sung by Paolo Gregoletto, Corey Beaulieu and Matt Heafy. I think Matt Heafy should have used vocals other than the exact ones that James Hetfield uses, especially after bragging about how much they influenced him so much.
Overall Impression — 8
The album is possibly one of the best albums of 2006. It's guitar work and lyrics are masterful and very clever. The technicality of the sweeping, tremolo picking, whammy dips, bending, vibrato, slurs is very high and of a good standard. The most impressive songs from the album are: Anthem (We Are The Fire) (the solo is amazing and difficult. The harmonies sound amazing and the sweep picking is almost proffessional standard. The lyrics are warming and uplifting, the song makes you feel good as oppose to Ascendancy in which it makes you want to punch small children, This World Can't Tear Us Apart (the lyrics are sensitive and very touching. The song is about Matt Heafy and his girlfriend, the solo is amazing and the build-up to it is very intense and exciting. The singing and harmonies are spectacular and original. The leading riff is amazing and fun. I love the way their solos are so well planned and technical and their guitar work is so masterful. On the other hand the growling vocals are boring, unoriginal and very repetitive). I broke my CD when I first bought. I then went out bought another one, within a week that one was broken too. I went and bought another one and this time looked after it, the album is amazing and I would definately go and buy it again if it broke. In fact I might just buy snother one just for the sake of having two of them. I liked the album a lot and it was an exciting change for Trivium.