Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Album Review: This Is A Sickness and Sickness Will End by Crusades

Crusades are a band from Ottawa, Canada featuring ex-members of bands such as The Creeps, Steve Adamyk Band, Last Communion and Pregnancy Scares. They have a new album coming out on Anxious and Angry records in early March named This Is A Sickness and Sickness Will End.

The album opens with the track 1590 (Sickness Never Ceasing). From the outset we are greeted by some crunching, heavy guitars and some fantastic hardcore vocals. The song in incredibly well layered with lots of different parts coming together to create a fantastic sound. There are also plenty of shifts in melody and tempo that keep you guessing what's coming next. The second track is named 1828 (Father Of The Waves). The guitar at the beginning had me nodding my head before some softer, melodic vocals come in. As the song builds, the vocalist's voice begins to soar and helps make the track sound massive. The guitar gives the song a great dramatic feel that you often don't find with a lot of punk and hardcore music. This is evidence that Crusades know how to write some amazing music. Halfway through there is a breakdown where some strings and piano comes into the song, adding to the sense of drama. Up next is 1713 (The Scorching Fevers). After all the beautiful drama of the previous song, The Scorching Fevers hits you with a wrecking ball-like introduction before changing to a jangly emo style. Throughout the song I was waiting for a musical explosion but it never happened, perhaps this was intentional to leave me wanting more. The fourth track on the album is named 1940 (Whirr and Chime). One of three tracks to go over the five minute mark on the album, this is the first to really feature two different vocals. There's a cleaner style, kind of like Alexisonfire's Dallas Green, and a harder, harsher, more hardcore style. In a song of this length it really helps to keep the song interesting, to have the multiple styles to keep the listener's attention. The track builds nicely towards a big finale. Something quite cool is that the build and finale come a bit out of nowhere. The song travels along nicely and then build and the BOOM - finale. I liked that a lot.

After such a long track, we are then presented with what is by far the shortest track on This Is A Sickness and Sickness Will End. Named 1894 (Children Of Silence and Eternity) it's really only a lead in to the next song 1866 (Porch and Portal). If you buy the album on vinyl I guess that this would be the beginning of side B of the album. After the soft acoustics of 1894, 1866 comes in with a hardcore bang. The intensity is ramped up, the drumming is hard and fast and the guitars are industrious and full of an angry energy. Towards the end of the track there was a surprising twist with a strings led breakdown before a final chorus of "How Long Will We Carry On." This felt like a potential great crowd interaction moment at a Crusades gig. The penultimate song is called 1846 (Once Drinking Deep). This is a slow burning song that feels very understated but also quite emotional. Listen to this song in a darkened room and I dare you not to get caught up in the emotion of the song. As is becoming a theme on the album, the song builds towards its big finale. When you eventually get there you know that you've been on an emotional trip. Finally we have the final song, 1657 (Black Curtains Draw). Crusades take you on one final ride with a powerful track full of highs and lows, build ups and break downs and plenty of heart and emotion. The one word that really comes to mind when listening to this song is epic. It's another track that will stop you right in your tracks and just have you listening in amazement. What a quality way to finish the album.

Before I first listened to This Is A Sickness and Sickness Will End I was expecting more of a gruff punk rock style. This was a pleasant surprise. There is so much going on with every song on the album that I think it will take hundreds of listens to catch everything. Crusades are clearly a band with a lot of skill and talent and could be destined for some big things on the strength of this release.

Pre-order This Is A Sickness and Sickness Will End here:

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