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

Crusades have been a favorite for some years, so I’m always curious to see what they come up with. For their first release in three years they’ve produced an album about death and loss. These eight songs (one of which is a short instrumental) clock in at thirty-two minutes, making it a bit on the short side. Given my love for Crusades and the time it’s taken for this new release, it would’ve been great to have more quantity. Nevertheless, this is a solid release with strong, emotional tunes. Yet, it’s quite far removed from who Crusades were when they put out their first full-length in 2011. While there is a punk heart to this album and some of the songs are fast and driving (“1866 [Porch and Portal]”), there’s an orchestration to the sound. There are strings, keyboards, and what sounds like an organ. Crusades is aiming for something larger than who they were upon their genesis. Call it progression if you will, but at times I felt like I was listening to a rock album more than a punk album. This sound shows the band is willing to extend themselves and pair it with a reflective subject content. I’m all for change and progression but those expecting something like Crusades’ debut may not be happy. Punk should be a big tent, though, and I appreciate bands bringing in non-punk influences, so this is a winner by me. –Kurt Morris (Anxious And Angry, anxiousandangry.com / Countless Altars)