If, like us, you’ve initially taken a look at that big fuck-off goblet on the artwork and momentarily glanced at the name Crusadist and thought traditional power metal, you’d be forgiven. Oh, but how wrong you/we would be my Lord as this is not a Saxon circa Crusader-esque exercise in battle metal meets trad metal, not in the slightest! Instead, these Chicago-based hell-raisers are a pummelling power-death-thrash beast of a band, intent on laying siege to your pitiful defences with 9 tracks of fearless, relentless battery.
In fairness, the clues to Crusadist’s real identity are clear to see. The artwork is actually pure 90’s death metal in the vein of Dan Seagrave and the album title is also prime death/thrash fodder. So, thematically we may be in power metal territory (castles, battles, swords, horses and whatnot) but the likes of blistering opener “For Blood and Conquest” and the equally impressive “The Hammer At Dawn” are ample proof that Crusadist are a talented death/thrash act through and through.
Actually, throw a little black metal into the mix as frontman Shaun Albro is as adept at growling like a death metal warrior as he is shrieking like a marauding corpse-painted banshee. Either way, the man’s vocals are as heavy as fuck.
Forged in the fires of death and thrash. The Unholy Grail is Crusadist’s debut album – which will be self-released on November 29th 2019 – and it’s a damn fine introduction to the band’s brand of aural aggression. 7/10