3. Entrance of the Conflagration
4. Anthem (We Are The Fire)
6. And Sadness Will Sear
7. Becoming the Dragon
8. To The Rats
9. This World Cna't Tear Us Apart
10. Tread the Floods
11. Contempt Breeds Contamination
12. The Rising
13. The Crusade
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In the span of less than 2 years, Trivium has managed to go from being a local Florida sensation to being a band that is able to sell out arenas. Ascendancy was a volatile combination of old-school thrash and new-school metal that worked well on many levels. With the release of that album, the band ascended into the good graces of a solid portion of the metal community and even garnered some commercial success. That said, Trivium may have put on the brakes to their fame-mobile. The Crusade is more than an evolution of Trivium's sound, it's a complete shift in direction.
With all the mainstream success coming as it did, critics were quick to proclaim Trivium a flash in the pan. It was no secret the band was not received well on their 2005 tour with Children of Bodom. What does this have to do with The Crusade? These events no doubt lingered on the minds of the band while they recorded the album. This can be the only conclusion as to why the band might have moved so far musically away from what they were doing on the previous record.
In reality, the changes aren't monumental. For the most part, The Crusade is just a lot of shredding and intricate solos, but not as hard or as fast as they used to. The tempos are noticibly slower than before. The most obvious change is Matt Heafy's change in vocal style. Gone is his growl. In its stead is gruff singing reminiscent of James Hetfield of Metallica fame. Instrumentally, Trivium sticks to roughly the same formula found on Ascendancy, but is lighter on the double bass and the thrash level is noticeably lower.
It's very hard to find any particular thing Trivium did wrong on The Crusade, but as a follow up record to Ascendancy it's disappointing. One can point to the obvious Metallica knock-offs or the neutering of their former style, but without paying attention to their previous works, none of that could be considered negative. The problem, then, is really all about the expectations. When you alienate the staples of your sound, you're also going to alienate a certain number of your fans that crave that sound. The hope is more can be gained through the commericial success, however.
The Crusade will either be the last thing heard from Trivium or it will catapult them into the mainstream, at which point they'll sign to a major record deal and go on worldwide headlining tours. If this records is a bust, though, it is doubtful they'll be around in another 5 years. Trivium needs to really think about what their next move is going to be because it will most likely decide the rest of their careers.