Crusades are suitably eerie. From a delightfully gothic EP cover to some serious Halloween sound effects, they seem dead set on claiming the mantle that has been abandoned by The Misfits, AFI and their contemporaries. And yet, for all that, Parables really is an EP of two halves.
Opening track, Parables I (Rites Of Atonement), with a creeping acoustic intro, bursts into a speedy, but melody-ridden punk affair. The lyrics are suitably gloomy, but the track itself is far more upbeat. Almost in opposition to its atmospheric beginnings, it feels like one of Alkaline Trio’s less spooky tracks but with a dual guitar approach. The call and response chorus is suitably catchy and simply doesn’t prepare you for Parables II (Gods, Too, Decompose). The heavy bass intro and a far doomier guitar tone feels more like that early AFI sound, but the band introduce some insane tapping that requires a double take. Vocal duties are passed around the band more equally in Parables II and lead to an echoing, haunting chant followed by some seriously blood curdling growls at the end. It’s in this moment that I realise Crusades aren’t just AFI/Samhain 2.0, but have managed to eschew the weaknesses of those acts and hollow out their own niche in the horrorpunk gravestone of destiny. Lyrically, it’s far more impressive than those bands have been in years; Crusades are challenging notions of religion and the failures and hypocrisy of religion in the modern day to superb effect.
If you’re a horrorpunk fan, then Parables just can’t be ignored. It’s clever, dark and is truly reclaiming the “punk” in horrorpunk.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!