Trivium wanna be Metallica so bad you’re almost embarrassed for them, like you’ve walked in on frontman Matt Heafy air-guitaring to Ride the Lightning in his bedroom. At the same time, you have to wonder why they’ve set the bar so low for themselves. They’re ferociously talented players, more than capable of advancing metal far beyond its current nu-emo-metalcore rut, and the genre’s come a long way since Master of Puppets. So their decision to spend most of their time aping their idols, right down to vocal timbre—seriously, check out “Ignition,” or really, half the songs here—is a little baffling. It’s not like “Becoming the Dragon” and “To the Rats” are bad pastiches of Hetfield-Ulrich Inc., but why not go for more? Yes, The Crusade has a few breathtaking moments, most notably the eight-minute closing instrumental and “Anthem (We Are the Fire),” a fist-pumping track that’s pure Scorpions. And the clean metalcore choruses that marred their early records are gone, along with the overwrought, overlong song titles. Still, it’s frustrating to listen to this disc and realize that Trivium aren’t going to fully live up to their huge and unmistakable potential until at least the next one.
Trivium play the Nokia Theatre Tuesday at 7, $18, nokiatheatrenyc.com.