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Trivium: The Crusade

To many, Trivium's 2005 release Ascendancy was a breakthrough, as the band toured relentlessly with many top acts to help promote their brand of metalcore and 80's styled thrash. Now they are back again with their Roadrunner Records follow-up The Crusade. Gone are Matt Heafy's metalcore/death shouts, replaced by a lower registered gruff style that is almost a dead ringer for James Hetfield from the And Justice For All era Metallica, and he mixes these with occasional clean "emo" styled passages, giving the songs a very melodic feel. Should all this worry their loyal fans who relished the aggressive nature of their previous two offerings? Well, it shouldn't, as The Crusade is no less heavy, no less the blistering thrash attack than than their past releases were. In many ways, the metalcore influence is pretty much non-existent here on The Crusade, replaced full time with raging 80's styled technical guitar oriented thrash along the lines of Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus, and Testament.

Both Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu have created some metallic bliss here, as there's no shortage of crushing, crunchy riffs and wild, technical guitar solos throughout this album. Check out the raging riff-o-rama and blinding leads on "Entrance of the Conflagration" and "Detonation", two monsters that will have you banging your head and singing along to the catchy vocals. "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" is just that, a great anthem, and a song that will appeal to fans of early Anthrax with its memorable and fist pumping chorus, and the dual harmony guitar solos literally shred with melodic might, reminding of early Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Rust in Peace era Megadeth is hinted at on "Unrepentant", while "Becoming the Dragon" is just great technical thrash, complete with machine-gun drum work from Travis Smith. The mix of Metallica styled vocals with more accessible passages on "This World Can't Tear Us Apart" works really well, giving the song a rough but commercial edge, and when the guitar leads come exploding into the mix, look out! And in case you were afraid that there's no brutality here, then check out the Nevermore sounding "Contempt Breeds Contamination", one of the albums heavier pieces with thunderous rhythms and bone crunching guitar work. The CD's closer just happens to be a real corker as well-the title track is all instrumental, with both guitarist's and bassist Pauolo Gregoletto firing off solos and sick unison lines, giving the song a real dynamic and technical feel that should appeal to prog-metal fans and those into instrumental shred guitar work.

As with any new release from a band that alters their sound a bit, Trivium are bound to raise the hackles of some of their fans. While The Crusade is certainly a heavy album and brimming with guitar firepower, I'm sure some fans are going to cry "sell-out" due to Heafy's decision to change his vocal style to something a little less extreme. Fans of Metallica's glorious 80's output might really get into the style here, which is pretty close although much more technical. Any way you look at it, Trivium have done a really nice job here, and this album should continue to help them climb their way up the US heavy metal charts alongside bands like Lamb of God, Mastodon, Unearth, Shadows Fall, and Killswitch Engage.

Track Listing
1. Ignition
2. Detonation
3. Entrance of the Conflagration
4. Anthem (We Are The Fire)
5. Unrepentant
6. And Sadness Will Sear
7. Becoming the Dragon
8. To The Rats
9. This World Can't Tear Us Apart
10. Tread the Floods
11. Contempt Breeds Contamination
12. The Rising
13. The Crusade

Added: December 5th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Trivium Website
Hits: 3504
Language: english

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Trivium: The Crusade
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-12-05 19:30:44
My Score:

It is only a minute or two into ones listen of the new Trivium album that you will feel as though you are listening to a new release by Metallica. This might scare you if you were expecting the garbage that was released on the fans with Reload or St. Anger, but instead we find the hunger and fire that was the body and soul of Master Of Puppets and Ride the Lightning. The problem is that this new Metallica album does not come from them at all and is instead the sound of the new release by Matt Heafy and his colleagues in Trivium. The group was a fast rising star with their Roadrunner Records debut Ascendancy, and the growls and grinding guitar work was nothing less than in your face on every track. This time around, the group focused on the melody and musicianship a little more as opposed to the earlier formula and the result gives you one of the best sounding releases in Metal for 2006. It is as powerful, if not more so than their last album and you find this from the opening number "Ignition". If you are like many listeners, you will shake your head at the uncanny resemblance Heafy has in voice to James Hetfield right off the bat. This is not a one-song trick as it's maintained throughout the album and while I loved the killer guitar work as well, I had to tip the cap to drummer Travis Smith who is thundering across every single song with tasty double-bass patterns and intricate snare/tom work. The record brings back a time when Thrash Metal reigned as King in the genre and Trivium was always a band that referenced the Gods of the day (Testament, Metallica, etc.) and while this is a bar for bar homage to those leaders the album still comes off as fresh and exciting to anyone hungry for pure Metal.

Trivium was lucky to be part of many killer tours such as Children Of Bodom and In Flames among many others, and it was this touring that I think added to the bands ability to raise their skills up several levels on the musical bar. Tracks of note are definitely the old school tinged "Anthem (We Are The Fire)" and "The Entrance Of The Conflagration". This particular track easily sounds like a missing number from Metallica's And Justice For All. They ever give you another slightly commercial track with "This World Cant Tear Us Apart" and this is a number that might find some safe haven on radio stations that allow Metal to be part of the programming. Heafy is not all "Hetfieldized" however, and uses his clean vocals to some measure as well when he can. What I think listeners who enjoy the band already can take from this is the inspiration from the old days and perhaps finding themselves inspired as Trivium was. The old school fans can find pleasure in the knowledge that some newer bands have not forgotten the importance of that which came before them. It's an excellent album that I think anyone will find himself or herself playing repeatedly. Good job on this one guys - Hey Matt, James Hetfield wants his voice back.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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