Reviewed: September 2022
Released: 2022, Violent Creek Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Traitor’s Exiled to the Surface is an album that takes me back to a time that took me back, and does so with guts, skill and an ammo case packed with catchy riffs.
It’s thrash, very unashamedly so, and harkens right back to that time around 2000-2009 when thrash was making its big comeback. Young bands were springing up eager to join the ranks of their favourites growing up, and those favourites were themselves starting to return to older styles after the more experimental 90s. Exiled to the Surface sounds straight out of that era: it’s full of infectious riffing, the production quality is high and it comes with a sense of fun reminiscent of the likes of Municipal Waste or Gama Bomb. We’ve got the thrash assaults about pieces of childhood pop culture (“Zordrak”, covering the villain of the Dreamstone cartoon, and “Metroid”), songs revelling in their passion for the genre (“Total Thrash”, “Decade of Revival”, and “Teutonic Storm”, full of references to fellow German thrashers), and even a thrashed-up cover of “Careless Whisper”. I’m still not sure that’s something I ever wanted, but I will admit I got a chuckle out of “I’m never gonna mosh again, the way I moshed with you”.
Despite being a German band (and wearing that on their spike-studded sleeves), they have a lot of the U.S. ear for classic metal melodies buried amid all the frenzy and mania. But the riffs are always king here, especially in the likes of “Metroid” and “Into the Nightosphere”, which take me right back to listening to the wild debuts of Evile, Bonded by Blood or Fueled by Fire.
Exiled to the Surface is just a fucking good time. It’s not breaking any moulds, and maybe there’s some nostalgia talking here, but I had a blast with it. If you’ve a taste for that explosive thrash resurgence from the mid-2000s, then flex your neck, crack your knuckles and get banging like a maniac again.