Reviewed: June 2018
Released: 2018, No Remorse Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
One look at the history of Traitors Gate will more than likely immediately call Hell to mind. Both are NWOBHM bands originally formed in 1982, barely released anything in the day, then reformed more recently and started to put out full-length releases. Where they differ is in the quality of their offerings: where Hell put out the kind of stuff that reminds you just why classic heavy metal was so good in the first place, Traitors Gate sadly seem to represent the less memorable releases.
This isn’t to say Fallen is an awful record by any means. It’s classic heavy metal through and through, and the authenticity of a band (mostly) right out of the 80s is clear. For big fans of this sort of genuine throwback, this is still going to be a passable record.
In terms of general style, this is traditional in every sense. Cloven Hoof, Metal Church, Pretty Maids, these are the groups that come to mind for immediate stylistic comparisons. Traditional metal with the emphasis on hard rocking over fast-paced fury or metallic eruptions, although “Retribution” does offer a sharper, more metallic approach, and packs a bit more punch as a result. Most of the tracks are content to march along at a mid-pace.
The production is one of the album’s major weak spots: the drums are most often a distracting click rather than a pounding beat, and the riffs are lacking in power. This leaves the vocals especially prominent in the mix, and while they aren’t bad on their own (vocalist Sy Davies is the only new member of the band, but fits in perfectly in tone), they feel too dominant, and aren’t powerful enough to carry the album on their own.
Fallen is certainly old-school, but old-school doesn’t automatically mean good; it’s important to note that not all classic 80s releases were great, we just tend to remember the best ones. For every Heaven and Hell, Screaming for Vengeance or Gutter Ballet, there’s a Born Again, Point of Entry or Fight for the Rock.
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