Trivium
The Crusade

Although last year’s Ascendancy was a near-masterpiece, breakthrough record for the young metal attack known as Trivium, heavy metal fans should consider The Crusade to be an indication of this future legendary band’s coming of age, a first true utterance of maturity. And in a year that has seen more stellar albums than most metalheads can reasonably keep track of, The Crusade is rock-solid throughout, beaming with the vigorously passionate vocals and skillful axe-handling of Matt Heafy, rollicking with the astute percussion strikes and blunt force trauma beats of drummer Travis Smith, thundering with the muscular underpinnings of bassist Paolo Gregoletto and piercing with the articulately precise riffage of guitarist Corey Beaulieu.Trivium has proven that making a massive impact on the world of heavy metal is not something that can necessarily be learned, it’s something you must DO. Therefore, in terms of execution, The Crusade is convincingly effective. “To The Rats” stands out as an exceptional cut, with atypical, Kerry King-style soloing and the pissed off, deadly serious vocals of Heafy, who forcefully vocalizes during the track’s chorus – “Break every bone in your face, if you mess with my life, I’ll mess with your blood, bury you in a coffin made of your deception.”

Yes, Heafy has taken much of the deathly growl from his voice, an intention the frontman had indicated well in advance of this new record. It was a wise decision. Matt has an awesome singing voice and relegating the deathly growls to a handful of moments on this album makes it that much more dramatic when he goes for it and screams balls out. There’s a compelling amount of variety in the lyrics of The Crusade, as the singer tackles social issues in the instantly-headbangable “Ignition,” deals with personal relationships during the bold rocker “This World Can’t Tear Us Apart” and embraces metal unity during “Anthem (We Are The Fire),” a track that underlines the band’s well-known ’80s metal influences. Moreover, lead single “Entrance Of The Conflagration” seethes with stand-up catchiness, tracks like these illustrate that Trivium surely know how to write a great hook, this is one of the band’s greatest strengths.

As soloists, both Heafy and Beaulieu have advanced considerably, pulling off finger-blistering flurries with ease and trading licks back and forth in better fashion than seasoned vets who have been on the metal radar twice as long. It’s no wonder that these two are enjoying high-profile gear endorsements, as they put a youthful face to the concept of axe virtuosity and have the chops to back it up all day long. The somber twin harmonies of “Unrepentant” ring true with metal cred, while that particular track’s sharply biting riff magic slices through the mix like the blade of the ripper. Note the smattering of Iron Maiden worship during the bridge of this one. This brings up a remarkable point. Most insiders were betting that this record would sound exactly like Metallica. With the exception of “The Rising,” which admittedly sports an obvious Metallica influence, it does not. In fact, Trivium has managed to achieve a trait which many consider to be the hallmark of every truly great metal band. They pay homage and incorporate their influences while carving out a signature sound that is determinedly their own.

If you enjoyed the group’s first two records, but were hesitant to accept the rawer vocal style that Heafy previously exhibited, it’s probable that you’re going to welcome The Crusade with arms wide open. On the other hand, if you liked the prior sound of Trivium all-around, you owe it to yourself to give this record a chance. Without disappointment, Trivium has progressed both as songwriters and players to a level far that’s beyond their years. Relentless touring and most importantly, a persistent desire to end up at the top of the metal heap has paid off for these four talented young men, who exude, as Roadrunner Records simply puts things, dominance. Trivium remains not only one of metals brightest hopes for the future, but one of the outfits to beat in the present-day metal arena as well. This critically important outfit’s exponentially-growing fan base will certainly rejoice, for The Crusade is without a doubt, one of the essential metal albums of 2006.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erin Fox
October 10th, 2006

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