Before we get into our Top Albums List of 2019 this coming weekend I wanted to squeeze one more record review in. And the band behind said record is CRUSADIST with their new offering The Unholy Grail, self-released and out now. I got their three-song demo around this time last year and I was immediately hooked and highly impressed. Having gotten to know vocalist Shaun Albro since 2015 it was very cool to get updates from him periodically as the band was taking shape. He was super-excited about this thing, and that excitement was contagious. Next thing I knew, the band was working with Clawhammer PR, a firm I love and respect beyond measure, so I was readier than ready for this.
For those of you not already in the know CRUSADIST plays Death/Thrash Metal and they do so with a vengeance. Opening tip-off is “For Blood and Conquest” and the guys just bury the needle from start to finish. Guitarists Luke Sever and Aaron Nobles serve up a healthy portion of killer riffs, while bassist Kevin Ariel and drummer Jason Rak simply wreak havoc and slay whomever they can. Albro sounds like a bloodthirsty beast on not only this one but all the others as well. Title track “The Unholy Grail” has Death Metal leanings and some serious blast beats, with Rak going super-hard while the guitar melody manages to be melodic and heavy at the same time, making this one instantly memorable.
“Tempered In Black Flame” is basically the sonic equivalent of that moment in an action movie where the bad guys break into the safe house our hero has left the girl in with his meek little friend to “protect” her. And what do they do? They beat the little fucker within an inch of his life, and that is EXACTLY what this song does. “A Moonlit Brigade” is all anger all the time, starting in sixth gear and staying there for the duration. Meanwhile “The Hammer at Dawn” swings the wrecking ball in all directions and levels buildings. Instrumental “Triumph Through Torture” is great because the music speaks for itself, no words necesary. You can hear the band coming together and it is glorious!
And then we come to what is my runaway favorite track on the record in “Beyond the Count of Grief”, which 100% burns the motherfucking house down and leaves no survivors! “The Noble Savage” is another asskicker on an album full of them, and closer “Only the Fearless Ride” is an absolute epic. So much happening here, with the band going bonkers musically, while Albro sounds like a man possessed. But here’s the thing…once you get to the end, you’ll want to go back and start this record over again. It’s that good! CRUSADIST are the real deal, folks. And the real reason I needed to get this album review up is because The Unholy Grail will no doubt be in my Top Albums of 2019 list and I needed y’all to know just why that is.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM