If you listened in on our 2015 Bracket discussion, brought to you by Brown Bear on the Air (http://brownbearontheair.blogspot.com/2016/01/change-rotation-guest-episode.html), you heard me proclaim the February Alphabet of Random Records. Not one of my brightest ideas, but I’m on record of saying it, so I’m stuck.
So the idea is this: in the month of February, I give you a Random Record for each letter of the alphabet. We’ve got 29 days of February this year, so I get three days to be lazy. Three strikes and I’m out, if you will. The point of Random Records is to either write about records I love to highlight bands or records that might have escaped your attention. I try to do the latter more with the February Alphabet.
So, without further ado…
C is for Crusades
Perhaps You Deliver this Judgement with Greater Fear than I Receive It
No Idea Records, 2013
If you have been paying close attention, you’ll know that this record earned a spot on our initial bracket back in 2013. If you’ve been paying really close attention, you’ll know that members of the Ottawa (that’s Canada, eh) quartet haven’t been resting at all. In fact, they’ve been busy enough to earn a spot on both the 2014 and 2015 brackets with the Creeps and Black Tower, respectively. Now all three of those bracket spots were filled by my votes, so that gives you an idea of what I think of the work of Skottie Lobotomy (who appears on all three), Dave Williams, and Jordan Bell (two each) and company.
Crusades are a dark, atheistic punk band. I guess it would usually have the “pop” qualifier in front of punk, but there’s really nothing poppy about Crusades. It’s dark, gloomy, mournful, and intimidating, from the spooking opening of “Exordium” to the final chords of “Exitus.” But there are hooks that bring you right in, starting with the distinctiveness of the vocals, a shared job amongst all members. Personally, Lobotomy’s melodic lines are my favorite, as they create a great dynamic with the rest of the voices. The choruses are simple and appear often and will get stuck in your head with little effort. And the fact that some parts reprise themselves in other songs only makes it harder to push out of your mind. The “mallet” and the “wedge” insert themselves in both “II. The Signs of the Times” and “VIII. The Art of Memory.”
The reason for this repetitiveness lies in the storyline that Crusades have developed here. Perhaps You Deliver this Judgement with Great Fear than I Receive It tells the story of Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher of the 1500s who was killed by the Church. Bruno was not only a fervent supporter of Nicolaus Copernicus’ model of the planets rotating around the sun, but he went farther in his astronomical theories, saying that other stars could be suns with their own sets of planets orbiting them. Clearly, this was a big no-no in the days of ‘science cannot contradict religious doctrine,’ for which, amongst other heretical beliefs, Bruno was burned at the stake.
The record largely concerns itself with Bruno’s trial for heresy and subsequent execution, hence the record’s title. The most poignant lines are to be found in “VII. The Expulsion,” which tells the handing down of Bruno’s death sentence and his execution. “Eight years in the darkness - tortured, confined and alone / Led to the palace - the word handed down from the throne / Above the roaring masses - the flames now cast toward the sky / His final performance: to shun the cross he’d forever deny.” Heady stuff, but par for the course in regards to Crusades ability to craft thoughtful lines disputing religion. Few, if any, punk bands do it better.
Give Perhaps You Deliver this Judgement with Great Fear than I Receive It a listen, and be sure to give the rest of Crusades discography a listen too. Proof that spectacular, atheistic music doesn’t have to be black metal.
Also, watch their set from Fest 12 here: