Punk 2011: 14 Best Albums
Ottawa, ON's conservatism inspired a dark and savage debut from Crusades. It helps to know that the band's name is indeed very deliberate; in fact, they had lyrical and thematic intentions from the get-go, inspired by personal and historical experiences with Christianity, and here they've created a narrative through a "spiritual voyage" from belief to rejection and everywhere in between (and beyond). And it's not only lyrically provoking ― musically, The Sun Is Down and the Night Is Riding In is dual intensity and accessibility, running the gamut from three-chord power-punk blasts ("Sacraments") to darker metal-tinged meandering ("Remedy") and '80s gloom-gaze ("Serpentine"), all without losing the thread. As a four-headed creative machine of individuals who have played in various bands together across handfuls of years in the incestuous Ottawa scene, Crusades master diversity as well as they do precision, and their spirit, so to speak, is still so alive. Together they've created a work that's at once expansive and jarringly immediate. Any caution with which you might approach a weighty concept album about religion and atheism disappears when you hear the passion and the focus, and you realize that you're actually being let in on something really personal. There's no preaching going on here. What we're witnessing is an exorcism.
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