TRIVIUM – The Crusade

Eagerly anticipated by metal heads in junior highs everywhere, TRIVIUM‘s third album arrives with a vengeance, and is sure to impress all who get their metal education from shopping at malls worldwide. Perhaps inspired by the band’s appearance alongside METALLICA at the Download Festival this past summer, frontman/guitarist Matt Heafy has taken it upon himself to study and plagiarize every nuance of James Hetfield‘s voice. This is immediately made apparent by the first song “Ignition” and continues throughout the entire album. Lyrically, the album runs the gamut from current events as on “Ignition,” “Entrance of the Conflagration,” and “Contempt Breeds Contamination” to Japanese dragon mythology “Becoming the Dragon” to love with “This World Can’t Tear us Apart” (which is guaranteed to win brownie points with the sixteen year old girls it’s targeted torwards). However, it’s from a lyrical standpoint that The Crusade is at its most unintentionally entertaining. Check out “Unrepentant” with the chorus “For your honor, you will slaughter every one of your daughters!” Or how about “To the Rats” where Heafy promises to “Come to where you work and fucking tie you,” which might be believable if the chorus weren’t so happy and melodic: “Break every bone in your face.” It just doesn’t sound convincing when someone is sweetly crooning it to you as opposed to delivering the line with the fury it deserves. But if there are on any bright spots to be found on The Crusade then look no further than any guitar solo on the album. For all their shortcomings in the originality, lyrical, and songwriting departments, guitar-gods in the making Corey Beaulieu and Heafy can both rip technical, catchy and musically proficient guitar solos which makes you wonder why they fail to deliver in all other departments. Hell even bassist Paolo Gregoletto manages to chip in a few solos here and there, and drummer Travis Smith (not the artist) delivers tight, effective double-bass drumming throughout the album, so it comes as no suprise that the album closing instrumental title track is the band’s best moment. TRIVIUM has certainly worked hard to achieve their success thus far, but unfortunately their hard work is not up for review, their new album is. If only the band could harness their considerable talents into something truly original as opposed to the cookie cutter, cut and paste, paint by numbers approach chosen here, then we might actually have a worthy, classic album instead of yet another predictable journey in to the world of hero worship from the kings of safe mall metal. (Roadrunner Records)

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