Review Summary: Trivium has showed that they had potential on Ascendency. The Crusade show's that they know how to waste it.
Trivium is presently one of the most well known bands out there. They are christened the "revival of thrash/heavy metal" by a lot of their fans. The press swoons around them, giving them more hype and praise then anything else recently. Do they live up to the hype" Well, not really. Ascendency was a good album, showing that Trivium had a lot of talent and can play their instruments, as well as construct emotional solos. But it was heavily flawed. It was repetitive, there was a lack of songwriting ability, and Matt's screams were, at times, atrocious. I was really hoping the Crusade would capitalise on that potential and I actually expected a great album.
But did Trivium choose to capitalise on their potential" Doesn't seem like it to me. The Crusade is probably the biggest letdown of the year. Don't get me wrong, some of the album was okay, and even enjoyable at sparse times, but the lack of songwriting ability is still evident, and this albums even more monotonous then Ascendency.
Trivium changed their sound dramatically. Instead of being metalcore/thrashcore, with screams, heavy downtuned riffing, and relentless double bass drumming, Trivium moved to a more Metallica-esque sound. The guitars are in standard tuning and riffs are heavily infuenced by old school thrash metal. There is also a 7-string guitar used on a couple of the songs. Hell, even Travis toned down his drumming to the level of Lars Ulrich, which is to say, rather bland. One of the few positives is being able to hear the bass well. While Paolo does add a bit more to sound with his bass playing, it's really nothing special.
The biggest change, however, is Matt Heafy's vocals. Gone is the raspy scream he is known for(for the most part). He now uses a disgruntled growl that sounds forced and strained. It's like he's trying too hard to sound like James Hetfield. This can make the vocals quite irritating sometimes. Although Heafy has his good vocal moments(second half of Detonation
, chorus of To The Rats
Soloing is another change. While on Ascendency, Corey and Matt chose to play solos that displayed emotion, they do quite the opposite here. The solos here just seem to be mindless shredding and fretboard wanking as if all they want to do is show off. That isn't too say their all bad though. Some solos are actually quite decent(second solo in Detonation
, most of the solo for Entrance of the Conflagration
, and the solo in Unrepentent
Speaking of which, Unrepentent
is one of the few songs on the album that I can enjoy frequently. It features some decent tempo changes and some sufficiently interesting riffing, although the Metallica influence is strong. The intro riff sounds like that of Through The Never from Metallica's Black album, but the prechorus riffs are nice. Even, can I say, enjoayble. The solo in this song is good blend of melodicism and mindless shred, something hardly seen on the rest of the album.
There is still some metalcore on this album, in songs like Ignition
, And Sadness Will Sear
, and some other moments. And Sadness Will Sear is probably one of the worst songs on this album. It uses a 7 string guitar and sounds like a crappy attempt at being emotional, with a half assed solo. Detonation
is in two halfs. The first half is an attempt at Master of Puppets style thrash with a horrible whammy bar solo, but the second half is a standout on this album. It makes use of some metalcore riffing and some very catchy vocal hooks, rounding off with two solos, the first one being nicely done. If it were not for the horrible first half, this would be a great song. Ignition
has a rather sloppy intro riff, and the thrashy verses are okay. But the chorus is in the vein of Detonations second half, except it seems very out of place. The middle of the song is a fast solo and some riff wankery that seems unnecesary. Then it's back to more thrash attempts and another chorus, which ends on a bizzare clean riff. It's a decent song, but can't quite cut it.
Entrance of the Conflagration
, and Becoming the Dragon
are horrible songs. Although Anthem features a nice solo, and can't make up for the crappy bridge(Whoah-oh, yeah-ah. It sounds like crap). Becoming the Dragon goes nowhere fast with it's bland riffing. Entrance just seems like an attempt for the guitarists to show their stuff. The pre-solo riff features some out of place fills that add nothing to the song. The "ohhhhhhs" at the beginning of the song sound off the cheese detector. What was Heafy thinking, anyway"
To The Rats
is the closest thing to thrash on this album. It features an interesting, high speed riff reminiscent of something on Kill 'em All. Heafy's vocals also sound quite odd in this song. It's hard to place, but to me it sounds like Tom Araya's vocals on Slayer's God Hates Us All album. Anyway, while the song has a great riff and a powerful chorus(except the lyrics are terrible), the bridge of the song just kills it. Heafy scream's "This is to the rats!" repetively and the soloing is just generic and bland. If the bridge had some inspiration behind it, this song would've had the potential to be good. Contempt Breeds Contamination
isn't that bad. It tries to utilize 7-string guitars. The intro sounds like a sloppy attempt at death metal, and the verses are pretty bad. The chorus is this songs saving grace. It is very catchy and pulls this song out of a craphole. The solo starts iff kind of melodically, and isn't that bad. But the repeating of "Contempt Breeds Contamination" over the Slipknkot-esque riff is annoying.
Tread The Floods
, however, is a standout on this album. Some nice lead work leads us into a bland, but sufficient verse riff, with some harmonizing parts. The chorus rehashes the intro riff with some driving double bass, and it actually works pretty well. The solo is also incredible. It actually accents the song and doesn't sound like pointless wanking.
Finally, there's the 8 minute instrumental, The Crusade
. To tell you the truth, this song is easily forgetable. While it can be interesting at times, the riffs don't flow together well, except for a couple. It's just 8 minutes of wanking the guitar. The only memorable thing in this song is the little bass solo that Paolo gives about halfway through. Other than that, this song just needs to go.
Lyrically, this album fails. Just look at songs like Anthem
, The Rising
, and To The Rats
. When you look at the chorus of to the rats (Break every bone in your face! If you mess with my life...) Flat out terrible and uninspired. Rising is an attempt at being rebellious. It doesn't work that well either. Anthem is just bad. "We've found the Anthem!" =/
The vocals can be good or bad. In some of the metalcore moments of the album, the vocals are quite good. Just look the first two tracks. Other tracks, it doesn't work that well though. At least they're slightly better than some of the screaming on Ascendency.
Overall, this album was hyped to be a masterpiece, and came crashing down. I pushed the hype out of my head and tried to listen to the album just for what it is. Although I did enjoy some parts, it just couldn't cut it for me. I'm hoping Trivium can rethink what they were doing and come out with a good album. Until then, Trivium will remain an example of wasted potential.
To The Rats
Tread The Floods