Traveler – Termination Shock (2020) – Review

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Ah, yes. Finally, I have that warm, cozy glow back in my chest. It kinda went cold with this confinement muckfest and all its implications for the music industry. So, what else can you do than hitting the turntable and search for that chunk of metal that’ll do your inner spirit good?

And why not reach back into the distant past when metal was easy, fast, and blazing hot. Back into the bosom of NWoBHM where superchargers like Cirith Ungol made that mighty impression. One that just revived itself lately, much to our delight. A place where The Number of the Beast will forever reign supreme, even if today these maidens kinda lost some a lot of their luster.

Here is where Traveler from Canada come in. These newbies just released their sophomore record Termination Shock after a short 14 months of anxious waiting. Their sound is so ’80s Heavy Metal that it made me wonder if we’re truly talking about a 2020 record. But alas, yes we do.

The band pushes all those shiny metallic buttons. The screechy riffs, soaring solos, and we’ll even get a metal scream or two. Not quite at Ms. Slayes‘ levels, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing right there. And all that goodness comes on high-speed alert. Ready to burn all that rubber off your tires once you take off to race along that sunlit highway.

JP Abboud, the lead vocalist, really is in control of that shiny gas pedal with his stellar pipes. Yet, he often sounds more like Dio than he would ever resemble Dickinson. Because – guess what – it’s pretty easy to figure out what metal altar this band really worships on. But more to that later.

Yet, sometimes and for some dark, brief moments only, their tune almost veers into those garish corners the neatly manicured Glam Metal folks once occupied. By Jove, I almost pronounced that terrible G-word. Which would invoke the one-that-must-not-be-named. Because once He is called, there will be no going back, even if he did a pretty decent job with AC/DC recently1).

Yet, apart from some minor impurities (probably) due to an exuberant joy to hit the Heavy Metal speed button all over again, there’s not much amiss with the production. And besides, this type of metal needs to be rough and to heel over some. Or you’ll end up in Charly’s weirdo chocolate factory or something. But boy, I wish some other bands would cut themselves a slice of this metal energy. It would do them good, ain’t it, Ty Morn?

You see, the #1 track Shaded Mirror did not quite hit our metal taste buds yet, far from it. Way too dime-a-dozen to really impress, a metal gummy bear of sorts. But things changed completely once Termination Shock – the title – roared off the stage. That’s the real thing, with Abboud who kinda wheels himself off into space, too.

Metal screams galore, and a number of friggin’ solos by the Ries / Schadlich power guitar team. I could have done without the blob of cheese lobbed by the yellow bilge monster and its throaty laugh, though. But hey, them clichés are like genes, and a true ’80s fantasy Heavy Metal space hero cannot do without them.

But once the horses leave the staging post and gallop forth on Diary of a Maiden, it becomes clear where Termination Shock’s bread is buttered. Do I even need to name the band? I thought not. This is one track where you forever expect Eddie’s frazzled visage to appear on top of the hedge.

But one of the real smokers rushes to the scene kinda late in the game. Deepspace gets you a piece of trve Speed Metal that almost singed our headphones off our ears. And – boy – the RMR deck crew almost missed stays once that monster let loose. That one’s a true fucker, high on Speed Metal and that overbearing joy to make loud and totally heavy metal music. Oh, and wait for the boom at about 2/3 down the road, that where’s the warp drive finally kicks in. Yeehah!

So, in a way, Traveler wins that reenactment prize. They invented nothing new, make no mistake. Yet, Termination Shock assembles the best and most powerful elements that speedy Heavy Metal has to offer. An absolutely delightful medley of all that the ’80s era stands for. The band whipped this into shape briskly. And not by stealing from others, mind you, but by concocting a friggin’ thunderous record with melodies all their own.

A true reminder of a time when metal was so much better. Or was it really?

Ed’s note: Hunger for some trve old-style heavies? Try some Jones Street.

Record Rating: 7/10 | LabelGates of Hell Records | Web: Facebook
Release date: 24 April 2020


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