What a fool I am for sleeping on Traveler last year. Their debut album is pretty magnificent, but it would have made the newest effort even more fun, had I immersed myself into the rawer debut of this band. Termination Shock uses the same traditional metal formula, but builds on it with early USPM vibes and loads of melody and harmony alike. Even traces around the likes of Steeler can be found, with a bit more push of the speed metal here and there.
Conveniently, the aggressive songs are scattered throughout to keep a steady flow and avoid redundancy. “STK” lets this on with more abrasive vocals and a solo with two sides to it. Half of it simplifies things, acting like a breath of air before diving deeper into the pool of shredding. The melody always works its way back. If that wasn’t enough, “Deepspace” is all but a thrash metal banger, boasting the most raging force with riff after riff ‘til the end.
But what’s nice about Termination Shock is its multiple dimensions, and the warmer tunes similarly comfort the soul in a different manner. “Diary Of A Maiden” is a calm breath of life that still holds onto the power with strong bass licks while dialing back the lead guitar and vocal push. The clean melodies develop into stellar gallops, and the construction of this longer tune is pretty advanced. “After The Future” does the same thing, if not even better. I’d consider this a full-on ballad for the first half, with emotional sweeps that last the whole ride. The solos and bass explode into an epic ending, likely making this the best song.
Truth be told, another thing that makes this so special is how much the bass adds, which you can probably gather by now. The more straightforward and balanced numbers manage to sport this by crafting bouncier rhythms. See “Foreverman” as an example, and this one also captures the overall album energy flawlessly. And the best part? Traveler managed to do this in a digestible amount of time, drowning out any chances of overstaying its welcome.
This is basically my idea of a perfect record. Traditional formulas, subtle changes, hooky leads, and massive levels of harmony added to clean vocals. Anyone who likes bands that push boundaries without straying too far from their comfort zone should eat this up. Don’t make the same mistake as me by overlooking something just because it appears to be too typical on paper.
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