Album Review: Crusadist – “The Unholy Grail” 7/10 (Death/Thrash)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Crusadist
  • The Unholy Grail
  • Death Metal/Thrash
  • Chicago, USA
  • November 29th, 2019
  • 7/10

A solid name combining the ideas of violent holy crusades and pure human sadism, Crusadist are a Chicago based death metal band with a helping of thrash influence. Their debut LP The Unholy Grail is generally a modern style of death metal but with the old school thrash metal hooks. It’s here that people may divide, depending on how they feel about thrash metal in general, personally I find it to be a stagnant genre that brings a lot of repetition to this album. Others may say it brings more groove to the album. In reality, it’s likely to be somewhere in between with the solid mixing and recording evening it all out. It’s an interesting album either way and a hearty independent release, check out the new lyric video for the track “For Blood And Conquest” below. The Unholy Grail drops on black friday 2019 (29th November).

Artwork by Par Olofsson

This is a thematic album that matches the premise of their band name, and they even write song titles sharing these concepts. As a band and in the sound however they don’t seem to embody this theme in the way Amon Amarth or other battle metal type bands do. I’m not seeing Crusader outfits and I’m not hearing any flavor audio or samples to help create a thematically appropriate atmosphere. This in combination with the long track length padded with thrash metal, doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I can think of a bunch of people for whom it would though, I really can. Cool metalhead Dads should probably just go ahead and pre-order this one. 

The high point really is the mixing and general production quality, the team on that are clearly seasoned professionals and have salvaged so much from this album. It’s a super clean listen. The people behind this aspect of the album are as follows; Belle City Sound producer/engineer Chris Djuricic (Origin, Jungle Rot, November’s Doom, Gorgasm, Against The Plagues). Mixing and Mastering by Jeramie Kling (The Absence, Venom Inc.) and Taylor Nordberg (The Absence, Soilwork) of Smoke and Mirrors Productions. They’ve done well to really bring everything forward and make it sheen, particularly the heavy metal toned guitar solos. Even thrash filler or predictable transitions become highly listenable. 

Crusadist: Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter

Overall it’s a competent death/thrash album, especially for a band’s debut album. The artwork by Par Olofsson (Immolation, Exodus, Unleashed, Aborted, Braindrill, Against The Plagues) reminds me of a lot of old classic death metal covers you’d expect from Seagrave, it helps this album stand out a lot. There were some great choices for staff across the board that elevated the whole release. I’m expecting a lot of improvements with any follow up releases, hopefully keeping the same team but just maturing their songwriting approach more.

Crusadist strike me as stars in the making that just have a bit more work to put in and a few more miles to tour. I’m certainly on board and will keep up with their music to see where they take it. 



  1. Great Review Sir. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing these guys. It was a ton of fun and as well bringing excellent audio (apparently I liked the album a little more than you seemed to have) to the table they also have a great sense of humor, albeit a little “naughty”. I’m expecting to hear their name a great deal more in the future.

    • Thanks for reading! I’ll have to check out that interview (feel free to leave the link here). I did enjoy the album overall but as a debut I could feel there is room to grow, which is probably the best way to progress as a band.

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