The hottest band on the planet have just delivered their 3rd album in 4 years. Another of the so called saviours of metal, it's time to find out if they're up to the hype.
It seems I missed the boat last year, because while the whole metal world was wetting themselves at a bunch of 20 year olds called Trivium I was scratching my head wondering what all the fuss was about. Ascendancy, the bands 2nd album was, in my opinion, far from the classic metal record everyone was making it out to be. Sure, it was good and had some promising moments but some of the music seemed a bit drawn out and over the top to me and I couldn't stand those (now) bog standard vocal switches that are ten a plenty these days.
However, somewhere along the line curiosity got the better of me - and possibly also their support slot on Iron Maiden's UK tour which I have a ticket for - and I picked up The Crusade.
First impressions? This is a much cleaner and focused album with much better Hetfield-like vocals and is an absolute 80's thrash fest! A couple of years ago the press had us believe that St Anger would be the successor to Master Of Puppets and ...And Justice For All, of course that turned out to be complete nonsense, but the record we have all been longing for has finally arrived under Trivium's name.
The Metallica influence is loud and clear right from the beginning with the riffery and vocals which will transport you back to Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning. At times, maybe on the first few listens, you might think it's a bit too close to Metallica but with each listen you will discover Trivium's own identity stamped across each track. Make no mistake, we are not talking about a tribute band here, we're talking about 4 very talented musicians who wear their influences proudly on their sleeves, who have taken a sound from a great era of metal which has been lost for the last 10 years and breathed new life and their own sound into it.
Among the highlights are 'Entrance Of The Conflagration' - a classic pummeling, high speed thrash track with pulverising drums coated with a modern feel. This time the vocal switch is more subtle and I think the song is stronger for it - and 'Tread The Floods' which has a minute and a half of build up, you can feel the tension and you just know this song is about to explode, when it finally hits the chorus it lets rip in fantastic fashion with some earth crumbling double bass pedal drumming that Dave Lombardo himself would be proud of. And the magic continues on the likes of 'And Sadness Will Sear' and 'Anthem'. I have to also mention how mightily impressed and pleasantly surprised I am at the maturity and craft of Matt Heafy's lyrics. Any fool can write about politics and war in our current global climate but not everyone can manage them as effectively as this or mix them with other deep theme's such as religion and prejudices.
On the downside album closer 'The Crusade', an 8 minute long instrumental and the Ascendancy styled 'This World Can't Tear Us Apart' fail to hit the mark of what's around them but fortunately there are enough strong tracks like the Pantera inspired 'Contempt Breeds Contamination', 'Ignition' and 'Unrepentant' to keep the general standard up.
I stand by my first impressions and will argue that this album pisses all over the last one but I will happily hold my hands up and admit I missed their potential, these guys are extremely good and could very well take up the currently vacant metal throne and rule the metal roost for a very long time to come (they have age on their side!).