CRUSADES: This Is a Sickness and Sickness Will End: LP

Admittedly this is very selfish, but I just wish Skottie Lobotomy would sing in every band—not just the myriad of ones he’s already in. There’s just something so gorgeous and painful about the tones he carries, which is blissfully perfect for this third full length from Ottawa darlings Crusades. Well-known for challenging organized religion in their lyrics; as a whole, this record takes a small departure from that theme. It instead focuses strongly on grief, death, and remorse without a “higher power” to find peace with. In no way do they rest on their laurels, but instead amplify what they are aces at: building a wall of sound to create intense, atmospheric music. For those of you who want more of a return to their first record, “1866 (Porch and Portal)” is it. The track—just before it ends with stark guitar melodies—pulls in what sounds like a timpani that creates tension, and bleeds into a full-force pummeling with angsty, thrashy punk. Dave Williams is no slouch vocally either, and certainly brings this song to heightened aggression, before easing off the gas to end with a gorgeous refrain (“How long will / How long will we carry on?”) with stringed instruments. Each track is named after and pulls from poems that Williams handpicked as exemplary bouts with losing loved ones. The record as a whole is wonderfully cathartic. Two stunning color variants exist depending on what part of the world you order it from. Both come in a lovely gatefold vinyl with a full lyric sheet. –Kayla Greet (Anxious & Angry, anxiousandangry.com / Countless Altars)