About a month ago, I took it upon myself to make an inaugural visit to The Doom Room in Lafayette, Indiana. The band that piqued my curiosity was Chicago’s Crusadist. A few days prior, the promo for their debut album The Unholy Grail was waiting in my inbox, and I wasn’t disappointed in the album or in the band’s subsequent performance. To celebrate The Unholy Grail’s Black Friday release, I got to speak with Crusadist vocalist Shaun Albro and get some information on their plans for conquering the metal realm.
Indy Metal Vault: Hey Shaun, glad you could stop by The Vault. The Unholy Grail was just released, would you be cool with sharing some information on the band’s origins and musical backgrounds?
Shaun Albro: Thank you very much for having us! We would love to share some information with you and the readers! Fire away!
IMV: How did Crusadist come to be named Crusadist?
SA: I came up with the name a few years before the band had actually formed. After a few years passed and not knowing if the idea would ever be used for a band, I almost used Crusadist as a song title in another project I was doing vocals for. Something told me to save it for the right time. I’m glad I did! When Aaron (guitarist), Kevin (bassist), and I decided to start a new project, I knew it was the right time for Crusadist to be born.
Crusadist is a combination of Crusader and Sadist. It is meant to describe a noble or divine warrior who has grown sadistic from a life of constant battle — the struggle with the duality in being a good person and also a vicious killer when necessary.
IMV: The Unholy Grail’s overall presentation is very blunt in having a dark medieval aesthetic. I even described it to a friend as “music The Mountain kills people to.” Are any of you fans of fantasy works and/or gaming?
SA: Yes, definitely! I grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy, Chronotrigger, Magic The Gathering, and just always loved medieval history and fantasy. Aaron Nobles and I were playing Magic in the studio during breaks. Luke (guitarist) is a big fan of The Witcher, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne.
IMV: The Unholy Grail features several quality tracks, one of the coolest being “A Moonlit Brigade”. Going along with the previously mentioned dark fantasy observation, there’s a lot of bloodlust on The Unholy Grail, what inspired this approach?
SA: The overall theme of the album is a savage pursuit of an unholy power that grants immortality. The Unholy Grail is depicted as an ancient relic that must be filled with the blood of war to be activated. An elite force sets out to find this relic and harness its might. In the real sense of the story, we as musicians and as a band are striving to create something profound that will live far beyond us. The sacrifices and struggles to do so are our constant battles, making us savage and relentless. I love tales of heroism — stories of overcoming adversity, defying the odds, and perseverance through hopelessness.
A Moonlit Brigade is the part of the story where the elite band of warriors arrive at the tyrant’s fortress, with plans to defile the throne by beheading the king and eliminating the entire royal bloodline.
IMV: Per the promotional material, Crusadist is considered a death-thrash band. What are your thoughts on that categorization? Are there any bands, either death or thrash, that Crusadist is influenced by?
SA: I’d say that’s a pretty accurate categorization. We have many elements in our music, such as Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Traditional Heavy Metal, Melodic, and at times Technical Metal. Full of groove with an overall blackened edge. We are influenced by so many bands; it’s so hard not to be cliche and rattle off the trendsetters in our upbringing. We owe our roots to bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Unleashed, Amon Amarth, The Black Dahlia Murder, Children of Bodom, Lamb of God, GWAR, Arch Enemy, etc, etc, etc. We are fans of Metal and love all the facets of the genre.
IMV: You guys did a show in Lafayette, Indiana recently with Vital Remains. How was the response from the crowd? Any upcoming shows that you’d like to plug?
SA: We always enjoy performing in Lafayette. Nick Maxson and The Doom Room have always been great to us. The Vital Remains show at North End Pub was awesome! The crowd in Lafayette is always enthusiastic and show us mad love. We actually won The Doom Room’s Favorite New Band in 2018 voted by fans! We will always come back for more shows!
We are filling up our dates for 2020 quickly. We have a few shows in January and February is almost booked solid for every weekend. We set out for tour on March 20th and will be doing 16 dates from Chicago to Florida and everything in between! We are also booking festival appearances and will be announcing them at the beginning of 2020!
The Unholy Grail was released on Black Friday and is still available for purchase through Crusadist’s BandCamp page.