Saturday, 14 June 2008

CD Review: The Crusade, by Trivium (2006)

This is the third CD from Florida's Trivium, and the first time with Matthew Heafy actually singing rather than screaming. Trivium appear to be aiming for a broader mid-market Metal appeal with this effort, but instead disappear into vanilla blandness.

The songs are generally well constructed, well played, and tight-sounding. The band has a clear sound and none of the songs come across as uncertain.

Having said that, the CD offers little when it comes to inspiration, memorable melodies, or solos. It is perhaps telling that the CD title comes from the eight minute long instrumental that closes out the record. Interesting and powerful enough the first few listens, The Crusade (the song) does get tired eventually.

The highlights of the CD are relatively few. Both Entrance of the Conflagration, pompous title not withstanding, and Unrepentant reach some good Iron Maiden-inspired patches with duelling guitar work from Heafy and Colin Beaulieu that the entire album could have done with a lot more of. Contempt Breeds Contamination, another mouthful of a title, is solid.

In the heart of the CD, And Sadness Will Sear, Becoming the Dragon, and To the Rats are good enough without really raising anyone's heartbeat.

The drumming from Travis Smith is consistently powerful throughout, providing a good foundation for the melodic tracks. Trivium pull out the useful but gimmicky technique of switching to a mono-sound for a few strategic seconds on some songs, and generally this works well with the many tempo changes that are typical of the Trivium sound.

The disappointments? Plenty. Album openers Ignition and Detonation are forgettable and too reliant on annoying half-notes and quarter-notes. Incredibly, both Anthem (We Are the Fire) and The Rising echo back to the worst of the simplistic pump-fisting metal anthems from the clueless European bands of the early 1980's. But the real horror arrives with This World Can't Tear Us Apart, a song as cliched as its title, and smelling like a bad sandwich made with old power ballad beef and cheesy lyrics.

In the end, just as the real Crusades failed, Trivium's Crusade also falls short.


Matthew Kiichi Heafy - Vocals, Guitars
Travis Smith - Drums
Corey Beaulieu - Guitars
Paolo Gregoletto - Bass

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

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

Average: 6.46

Produced by Trivium and Jason Suecof
Engineered by Mark Lewis and Jason Suecof
Mixed by Colin Richardson
Mastered by Ted Jensen

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