Review Summary: Wait, what’s going on? Wasn’t Master of Puppets released in 1986? When did Metallica hire a band of teenagers to re-record it? And why did they make the mistake of mixing it with a recent metalcore trend?
Don’t worry. If any of you out there were wondering the same thing while listening to this album, you’re not alone. Trivium has recently gained more fame than any metal band since the nu metal explosion of the mid-1990’s. Ascendancy
has been hailed as the greatest the New Wave of American Heavy Metal has to offer, featuring technical thrashcore riffs and solos. All publicity aside, what Ascendancy
did well in terms of musicianship it desperately lacked in songwriting. Fast forward one year – Trivium has now released their third album, The Crusade
. This album had been even more severely glorified than Ascendancy
, boasting an extended instrumental track, full blown thrash riffs, blazing solos, and an overall feel of old school 80’s metal. Now that the time has come for metal fans to decide for themselves, does the music stand up to the advertising?
In short, the media could not have been more wrong.
Trivium is notorious for being some of the biggest Metallica fans in the world. That influence has been evident in the past, but with The Crusade
, the band decided to really write music in the vein of the music they love the most. While Metallica has undeniably influenced countless bands across the world, Trivium really takes it to a new level. The most drastic change to the Trivium sound is the vocal performance. Instead of the high, raspy scream Matt Heafy had used for years, he now utilizes an unpolished singing style, much like – you guessed it – James Hetfield. However, instead of singing in a manner similar
to Hetfield, Heafy crossed the line and is now up to his eyeballs in fanboyism. All throughout The Crusade
he sounds like a teen who has never heard any metal besides Metallica and American metalcore. The result is a rough Hetfield shout mixed with clean metalcore vocals.
Unfortunately for Trivium, this tendency to mimic their beloved Metallica has infected far more than the vocals. Their third album is a buffet of 80’s thrash (influenced
– note that the music is far from real thrash) riffs raped with America’s metalcore plague. The first half of Detonation
is easily one of the most blatant Metallica knockoffs In existence, landing only a few notes short of a complete cover song with an altered title. The remaining half is the same emotional metalcore that they have never exactly “excelled” in. Becoming the Dragon
isn’t far off, as it strongly represents a sped up version of For Whom the Bell Tolls
, the only differences being the presence of over exaggerated breakdowns and a severe lack of originality. Contempt Breeds Contamination
proves that Trivium occasionally doesn’t even have the sense to pilfer Metallica’s best material, as it wouldn’t sound out of place at all in the middle of St. Anger
. It’s almost surprising that Heafy didn’t break into a line about “The Crusade is ‘round my neck”.
Furthermore, when Trivium isn’t lifting Battery
from it’s comfortable place in metal history, they’re writing songs that aren’t metal at all. Of course, there is still an extreme amount of generic metalcore present. Entrance of the Conflagration
makes one wonder how this band could possibly be signed, let alone praised. It is one of the most cheesy, derivative songs ever written, from the opening choral “ooooohs” to the generic title shouting during the chorus. Many of the album’s songs including Ignition
, and countless others feature redundant metalcore breaks toward the end. What really baffles the mind is why they would include songs like And Sadness Will Seer
, a horrid attempt at sorrowful aggression that comes out as a pure nu metal song, complete with low talking/whispering and effortless riffs. It only gets worse with This World Can’t Tear Us Apart
, which boils down to a Celine Dion hit single with excessive distorted palm muting. That quality is only accented by The Rising
, where even the title confirms that it’s merely a rebellious 80’s rock song written for disgruntled teenagers.
runs invariably dry on memorable content just as quickly as the album starts. The only songs that actually stick out for positive reasons are To the Rats
and Tread the Floods
, both of which feature sufficiently interesting riffs. That is, until once again, the music is flooded with derivative Metallca riffs and melodies, so much so that the listener is virtually beaten aurally until the decent riffs are completely forgotten. Wrapping up this inconsistent package of an album is The Crusade
, the album’s eight minute instrumental title track. It almost sounds as if Trivium was desperate to write a long instrumental song, as The Crusade
features dozens of completely unrelated riffs thrown together in a rather haphazard manner, including several lackluster power metal melodies and attempts at writing polyrhythmic guitar riffs. While some sections sound intriguing, the full song drones on far too long as a pretentious showing of otherwise pitiable music. Although Matt Heafy was quoted pre-release saying the album contained “11 ridiculously technical thrash songs”, the music is hardly thrash metal at all, nor is it particularly technical.
Looking back, the name “Metallica” was used almost as often as the name “Trivium”. It’s no surprise, considering that The Crusade
is merely a Metallica album laden with blankets of sub par American metalcore. As the music ranges from derivative to cheesy to completely laughable, it’s almost sad to look at Trivium. Ascendancy
showed a lack of songwriting ability but a great potential to play good music and was even enjoyable at times; The Crusade
is Trivium’s way of throwing all of that potential into the nearest incinerator. The bottom line is that this is not what heavy metal is. Metal was a genre built on people who didn’t want to follow current trends, they wanted to break away and do what they love, even if no one looked twice at their music.
Looking at The Crusade
, Trivium is doing just the opposite.
- A blatant Metallica clone
- A complete lack of originality coupled with some horrid attempts at technicality and emotion
- Heafy’s vocals are worse than ever
- Solos are no longer a redeeming factor
- Hyped as genuine technical thrash metal, yet obviously not thrash metal (metal purists may be angered)
- The album is nearly an hour long
- To the Rats
- Tread the Floods