TRIVIUM — The Crusade (review)

TRIVIUM — The Crusade album cover Album · 2006 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Rewind back to the year 2005 and Trivium were pretty much the new big deal in popular metal music. The melodic metalcore act had released their second album entitled Ascendancy to strong acclaim and the accolades were being heaped upon them. Among these accolades was what was a favourite line of praise amongst metal critics at the time, one that was not only used in relation to Trivium but certainly they would become the act most associated with it and thus the subject of a cautionary tale to go with it: that this band was the next Metallica.

Metallica of course was still around in 2005 and still is at the time of writing this review in early 2022. But at the time their most recent album was still St. Anger and in 2005 that was still leaving a bitter taste in many mouths. Many metalheads as such got on board with the idea that Trivium was the next Metallica, even though the band played metalcore. About as many rejected the idea that Trivium was the next Metallica, as the band played metalcore. Trivium actually got more than their fair share of detractors through this association as the next Metallica.

Supporters of the idea were open to the next Metallica being a metalcore band. Trivium were at least a thrash metal influenced metalcore band after all. I suppose it even made a kind of sense that a band who could be as big as Metallica be a metalcore band. It certainly appealed to the younger audiences of the 2000s who were looking for heavy music, such thrash metal had done in the 1980s. The detractors on the other hand were pretty adamant that any next Metallica couldn't possibly be a metalcore band. Metalcore of course being the untrue genre that it is to such people.

Trivium were a pretty fine metalcore band circa Ascendancy. I for one did not even especially care for metalcore by and large, but I did like them. That hasn't changed in the years since to be honest. I still think that Trivium's Ascendancy is a damn good album, metalcore or otherwise. They were a band full of a lot of potential.

The Crusade, their third album from 2006, is what happens when a promising young metalcore band gets called the next Metallica one too many times. They pretty much turn into Metallica.

This was actually the worst possible thing that they could do, even if it did allow them to break into the mainstream (yes, they really did. I bought my copy of The Crusade in Woolworths of all places). One, it pandered to those who seemed to want a new Metallica, making their music largely derivative in the process and two, it was never going to silence the detractors who had issue with the fact the band played metalcore. They now had issue with the fact the band sounded like Metallica. Those people were never going to be happy with anything Trivium did. Trivium could have made the objectively greatest album of all time and those people still would have said it was a steaming pile of shite. So I really hope silencing their detractors wasn't a motivation for Trivium's sudden sound change.

But the only other conclusion is that all those next Metallica accolades went the band's collective heads. And I don't know which is worse really. Either way, the band who made Ascendancy seemed to no longer exist.

Okay, so I'm speculating in both instances here. I don't know the band personally or assume myself to be privy to their motivations. I only have the facts of the matter as I hear them: We have a band who played metalcore who got called the next Metallica a lot and now suddenly plays thrash metal on their next release. I'm not saying that The Crusade sounds like Metallica one hundred percent of the time, as there are still some growled vocals that Metallica never had which harken back to Trivium's previous work. I wouldn't call any aspect of The Crusade metalcore though. It does sound like Metallica probably ninety percent of the time though. The entire situation isn't helped by the vocals. It's perfectly fine to be metalcore band that evolves into a thrash metal band. What's more eyebrow raising about the whole situation is how frontman Matt Heafy suddenly sounded a lot like Metallica's James Hetfield on top of that. His clean singing prior to this was not like that.

None of this is to say that The Crusade is a bad record. It's actually a pretty serviceable thrash metal record. It has its issues, chief among them being it's too derivative of a more popular band, but it's not as if Trivium forgot how to write a good riff whilst high on the next Metallica praise. Most of the time this is very listenable music, with some standout tracks being the opening three plus Becoming the Dragon. It just lacks an identity of its own.

I suppose one could also say that of the metalcore Trivium of 2005, but the difference is that metalcore Trivium was very good at what they did. Thrash metal Trivium, on this album at least, is patchy at best. A glaring issue is highlighted when I think back to how the album was pitched at the time as Trivium maturing as musicians and songwriters, but there's little evidence of that actually here. Imitation may be considered the most sincere form of flattery but it isn't conducive to maturing as a band. There are also aspects of the writing that seem immature, notably the F-bomb loaded To the Rats. A song full of profanity may have seemed cool when I was younger, but these days I associate it with unimaginative writing. Of course this is one of the more growl heavy songs to be featured on the album and a lot of those maturity comments focussed on Heafy switching primarily to clean vocals. The implication being that we metalheads should grow out of liking harsh vocals. I stand by my opinion that this wasn't the leap in maturity that it was supposed to be.

Meanwhile closing title track instrumental is the album's biggest misfire, a clear attempt on the part of Trivium to write a The Call of Ktulu or Orion. It's certainly not a coincidence that Trivium wrote the song to have a similar length to those classics. Only problem for Trivium is that it's not half as good and only really serves as an invitation to end the album prematurely with The Rising. Which is hardly one of its better songs either actually.

Despite these issues, I do somewhat enjoy this album. It's an enjoyment tempered with disappointment whenever I revisit this though. The Crusade was why I lost track of Trivium. I gave the following album Shogun a cursory listen at some point, but never an attentive one. I think it was better, less a carbon copy of Metallica than The Crusade, but by that point they'd lost me. As such I sometimes forget how good Ascendancy was: a special album that holds up well even in 2022. Which is why it sucked that its follow-up was The Crusade. As clone albums go you could do worse than this one. But it is what it is. A huge waste of potential. One day I'll start listening to the Trivium albums released since to see if they ever found their identity again.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
more than 2 years ago
Agreed, their last 3 albums are 1,000 times better than this one
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'm hearing good things about their latest actually.
Bosh66 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
You summed it up nicely. Trivium were a good melodic metalcore band who were less good (but far from bad) as a thrash band. You should try them again. They’ve had some cracking releases since.


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Le bannissement Atmospheric Black Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Tarantula Heart Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
God Damned You To Hell Traditional Doom Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Absence Melodic Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Unextinct Technical Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Bosh66· 8 days ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us