Thursday, July 6, 2017
Traitor - Delaware Destroyers
This thrash band from the Philly area has been relatively consistent when it comes to their live material. I've seen them three or four times and each time was faced with an admirable performance of traditional sounding thrash by a group of exceptionally nice guys. Greg has always been a capable front man and the rest of the band, consisting of ex-Hessian guitarist Brian, drummer Joe, and bassist Tony* follow in suit. Yet, as is often the case when it comes to thrash, what sounds good live often sounds tepid on format. Delaware Destroyers is an average sounding release, highlighting the instrumental ability of the band and a lean towards good songwriting but lacking the certain spark necessary to ignite excitement. The whole overall release is a bit of good and bad in every respect and thus some of the material is worth exploring deeper.
The mixing of the record may be partially to blame, with the high-hat being the most powerful sounding drum component at times, for example in opening track "Defy The Gods" we are often hard pressed to discern what is happening under them. "Blackened Kings" has a somewhat lopsided rhythmic movement through the verses which, having been smoothed out in the writing process, would have really aided the track - particularly because I find the middle part of the song my favorite segment on the record. Also an issue is some details with the presentation - on my version "Traitor" and "Defy The Gods" are swapped in reality on the disc. I don't know if this was on purpose or not, and there is no clear lineup listed. Also unique to Traitor would be Greg's vocals which would best be described as a clenching sneering yell; one sneeze away from Mustaine's vocals on Countdown To Extinction.
The best overall song on the recording, "Traitor," has a lot going for it. First, providing the clearest point of reference for the band's influences on the record, it hearkens back to Kill 'Em All's opening "Hit The Lights," before tossing around a fairly memorable chorus. Then substituting the Metallica influence for Megadeth during the solo section in very recognizable homage to "In My Darkest Hour," of all things. Also worthy of praise is the decision to include the lyrics in the booklet - something often ignored. The lyrical content of the songs displays a band taking themselves seriously enough to not write about pizza, boogie boards, or boozing. With the exclusion of Dylan, the entire band contributed lyrically making the thematic content well rounded.
This was released nearly three years ago, and I'd be curious to see what the band would put out now given an opportunity to record again. Though Delaware Destroyers is an average release, I could see a much more proficient and powerful follow up were the band to record and release something now. Traitor's best material should be before them, I hope the world gets to hear it soon.
*The bassist on the album is original bassist Dylan.