Trivium is metal, there's no doubt about that. On this year's Sounds of the Underground tour, they were one of the highlights of each stop, bringing what I called at the time a mixture of Poison meets Anthrax. They seemed like a mix old school thrash, with just a little bit of cheese-metal thrown in, although with Trivium, it came off much less cheesy than any hair-metal band from the late 80's.
The Crusade, however, is a departure of sorts. There is one thing that Trivium gets pegged as, time and time again. That thing is their age. They are young guys. Too young, say some, to have adequately paid their dues, and to still others, too young to rip some of the influences that are glaringly obvious in this latest outing. Upon spinning the first two tracks of The Crusade, I thought I was listening to a Metallica cover band. That could be good, but could also work against them. By their own admission, Trivium endeavored to make an all-out, old school thrash album here. While they succeeded, it seems a bit overkill.
Lyrically, the album comes off a bit cheesy and cliché (another cop off James Hetfield's sometimes god-awful lyrical ability). There's nothing groundbreaking here, and even in the album's opening track, "Ignition", a great riff is overshadowed by the predictable politically-laced grudge lyrics the song contains. Some bands can get political, but usually the ones who pull it off well are the ones who don't whine about the current situation domestically (of which there's plenty to complain about), but rather focus on a global level, and realize there's more than what goes on inside the box that is America.
How much one enjoys this album is really a matter of perspective. On one side of the argument, too much adage to old school metal can sound like overkill and unoriginal. On the other side of the argument, these guys are young. They are also incredibly and obviously talented, and to give props to a style of metal that was around long before many of them were born is a testament to these 4 guys that they aren't just interested in the flavor of the month nu-metal that pervades the airwaves in 2006. While both sides of the argument have merit, it's ultimately up to the listener's personal preference where they fall in said argument. After many listens, I've found myself somewhere in-between. Trivium has TONS of potential, and they are making a statement in an otherwise semi-stale genre by simply shaking things up a bit with this release. For that, they deserve credit, because it is obvious that they refuse to follow the trends.