Released: 2000, Morning Star
Oh joy, another “true” metal band. That was my first thought upon cracking open this disc. I mean, aren’t there enough of these bands out there these days? I mean, yeah, most of them are good, but isn’t it getting to the point of overflow now? Well, isn’t it???
Anyway...I guess you could say that Crusader are part of the Hammerfall school of metal, but to my ears they are closest in sound to Akilles, a band I reviewed back in September 2000. Actually, no, scratch that. Akilles I liked...Crusader, not so much. Why? Well, the first culprit is always lack of originality. There isn’t a single lyric or riff on this CD that Crusader can truly call their own, just your typical medieval metal band banging away. The second knock on this CD is the track “Beast from the South”. This song easily qualifies as the most irritating song I’ve heard so far in 2001. It’s a stop/start kind of song that just makes you wish that it would plain old stop. Finally, David Walgrave’s vocals are, bluntly put, not good. More creatively stated, one could say that his vocals are uneven. Within the space of a single song he can go from cool to godawful and tuneless (see “Dragon’s Tears”).
All of that being said, there are some enjoyable moments on this disc. “Call of the White Wolf” opens the CD in rousing fashion, and is quite catchy, as is the slower “The Ally”, which shows off some nice harmony singing come chorus time. “The Knight who wouldn’t Die” makes a nice bookend to the album, managing to close it off with a bang. As for everything in between those songs...man, don’t bother because you’ve either heard it before or don’t want to. A lot of “true” metal bands are going to get swept away in the near future; count Crusader among them.