Traitor’s Gate - Only The Strong

Traitor’s Gate - Only The Strong

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(CD, Private, 2017)

There was no chance I would turn down the opportunity to review the TRAITOR'S GATE EP “Only The Strong” when I was asked to. Getting the record in the mail with the directive to be honest when writing about it, the conditions kind of changed. Not that I'm not being honest when reviewing records but it made me want to make sure about it all. So, the EP has been spinning day and night around the house and in the car...

Seeing TRAITOR'S GATE at ‘Keep It True’ earlier this year I thought they were good but a bit too soft for my taste, something that made the first spin of “Only The Strong” a surprise. Opening “Retribution” is really heavy and dark and it also holds a lot of good melodies which was one of the things I liked when I saw the band onstage. The track has a rather laid-back groove but it is definitely heavy. This is not how I remember the band from the stage. The heavy feeling in the music has very much to do with the guitar sound. It touches upon the '90s foul and grunting character and feels outdated and not at all suitable for the band's classic origin. It’s more JUDAS PRIEST “Demolition” than “Screaming For Vengeance” or something like that. It becomes even clearer with “Deceiver” that follows; the contrast between the initiating riff compared to the mellow and melodic verses and passages up to the chorus becomes too big. I think the verse and the bridge are fantastic, they are vibrant and the nerve in both the music as well as Sy Daviea's voice is fabulous while the chorus falls a bit flat in comparison.

The rest of the EP feels different; “Fall From Grace” has a lighter character and than the first two and the sound works. Perhaps, someone more into melodic Hard Rock than me would have the same issue with this but for me it definitely works. And I really like the melancholy in the vocal melodies; this is certainly high class song-writing we're talking about. After the mellow intro in “Edge Of Destruction” the song takes off in full speed. Both the phrasing on the vocals as well as the nature of the riffs remind me very much of BLAZE BAYLEY. It's definitely classic Heavy Metal with a modern touch - a mean track and this hits spot on for me. The title track and EP closer “Only The Strong” has a little of that annoying guitar-sound also but since the heavy riffs are covered with more fantastic melodies (both guitar and vocal ones), it works a lot better than the naked chorus in “Deceiver”.

To compare “Only The Strong” with TRAITOR'S GATE's sole release prior to it, the 1985 EP “Devil Takes The High Road”, surely differs; this new one is cleaner and more melodic. Common though is that it felt heavier when compared to the ‘KIT’ show. “Only The Strong” is an impressive piece of music, great songwriting, fantastic melodies that holds for a lot of spins.





01. Retribution
02. Deceiver
03. Fall From Grace
04. Edge Of Destruction
05. Only The Strong


Sy Daviea - Vocals
Andy d'Urso - Guitar
Stephen Colley - Bass
Paul House - Drums