(CD/LP, Gates Of Hell Records, 2020)
With new albums popping up in a frenzy pace, it’s totally ok to miss one or two, the moment they see the light of day – Just make a mind note to check ‘em out later. I had marked my calendar for the release of TRAVELER’s sophomore LP “Termination Shock”, but it took a month before the vinyl had found its way to my turntable. So, what do the Canadian metallers offer, almost one year after the impressive and self-titled debut?
“Thundering NWOTHM with a fresh Speedy twist” is the correct answer and this could easily be the final words of this album presentation. I mean, if “Traveler” wowed you last year, “Termination Shock” will blow your mind by being a tad more dynamic with a wide range of songs, spanning from blasting-fast all the way to slower, moody-tunes. Album opener “Shaded Mirror” feels like it’s picking up from where the previous release had stopped, figuratively smacking the listener hard on the face balancing between STRIKER and early FIFTH ANGEL, while delivering that vintage ‘80s Heavy / Speed Metal feel. Jean-Pierre Abboud’s vocals get sky-high intense here and you should brace yourself for the ‘fast-as-a-shark’ title track during which you will fully appreciate this fine gentleman’s singing skills (feel free to think of Joe Comeau in his “Master Control” LIEGE LORD days). Yes, I totally get it why TRAVELER chose “Termination Shock” as the album’s title track; it’s full-on RIOT-esque, super-fast, and carries that ‘80s nostalgia from start to finish – and all the 40+ aged metalheads will definitely get it. The five minutes of “Foreverman” are packed with anthemic / fists-in-the-air Metal energy, and because of this, it’s an instant favorite. The double-guitar action has the ‘80s in-your-face energy and the riffs are catchy (exactly as they should); I couldn’t help it but imagine this one on a live setting – amazing!
“Diary Of A Maiden” (I dunno why I read this as ‘Madman’ every time, he) was one more track that got stuck immediately, basically because of the MAIDEN-like intro with the “Children Of The Damned”/ “Remember Tomorrow”-esque guitars, the higher on the mix bass, the galloping guitars during the verses, and its PRIEST-laden chorus that stands somewhere between “Victim Of Changes” and “Diamonds And Rust”. The PRIEST references do not stop there; “STK” hits the “Screaming For Vengeance” nerve, being topped off with an almost epic atmosphere, especially when Jean-Pierre lowers his singing pitch a bit. In case you’re in for a couple of surprises, hit ‘play’ on closing “Terra Exodus” for example, and let its WARRIOR SOUL-like intro to do the talking...
It’s an amazing feat to highlight that these Canadians have released two stellar albums in 13-month time and this palpable proof of how talented and passionate musicians TRAVELER are. In case you’d like to compare the two releases, please don’t, because each one has specific characteristics that you’ll love, no matter how many years will pass. As expected, Canada (still) delivers the goods (PRIEST reference fully intended).
01. Shaded Mirror
02. Termination Shock
04. Diary Of A Maiden
06. After The Future
08. Terra Exodus
Matt Ries - Guitars
Jean-Pierre Abboud - Vocals
Dave Arnold - Bass
Chad Vallier - Drums
Toryin Schadlich - Guitars, Backing Vocals