RELEASE: Zero The Traitor
LABEL: Realize Records
REVIEWER: Aaron Birkin
FIND MORE INFO HERE: https://www.facebook.com/traitordeathmetal
PICK UP THE MUSIC HERE: https://traitorbsdm.bandcamp.com/
Lurking in the shadows of South Korea’s second-largest city, Busan, are death metal heavyweights known collectively as Traitor. With their brutal sound and devasting vocal approach courtesy of Irohana, Traitor exploded onto the Korean metal scene in 2018 with their 5 track EP entitled ‘4th Rated Waste.’ The songs themselves wasted no time in pummeling the listener into submission with no song reaching the 3-minute mark.
Inspiration from bands such as ‘Cannibal Corpse’ and ‘Suffocation’ could be heard not only in terms of lyrics regarding themes of death, war, and violence but also in terms of how the songs themselves sounded. Tracks such as ‘Maggots Bleed’ and ‘FxxK I’m Pig’ really drove home this heaviness with their pummeling drums and low-tuned guitars. The latter song also included pig noises courtesy of Irohana towards the end of the song. One wondered then how they could possibly top their previous EP in terms of heaviness and the raw feeling the band conveyed. Not only have they become much heavier on their first full album release, but they also have started to experiment a bit more in terms of their approach to songwriting.
‘Uroboros’ is a song that initially sounds like it could be a continuation of a song on their EP, the drumming and riffs remind one of ‘Maggots Bleed.’ The song’s breakneck pace seems to have taken inspiration from bands such as ‘Human Rejection’ although in a much rawer sense as it sounds less polished. Even in a vocal sense, Irohanas delivery here could also be compared to the vocalist ‘Alex’ from Human Rejection. However, she somehow manages an even lower and more filthy delivery that sounds like it was plucked from the gutter itself which matches the feeling of uneasiness conjured up by the lyrics regarding hunting someone or being hunted perfectly well.
The aggressive nature of vocals on songs such as ‘Breed and Butcher’ is similar to the pure hatred spat out by a vocalist like ‘Todd’ from the band ‘Nails.’ Irohanas approach here is much different when compared to any song from their previous EP. The kick you to the curb pace of the instrumentation can be felt all the way to the marrow of your bones as it is meshed perfectly with the rapid-fire pace of the vocal delivery. The sample of a chainsaw being reeved up with police sirens in the distance is a welcome addition at the start of the song as well as it gives it a nice slasher movie vibe. The razor-sharp song title itself portrays the horrific nature of the lyrical content perfectly as well.
However, the darkest and heaviest song on the record is arguably ‘Enormous Rift.’ The opening vocal delivery sounds like Irohana took inspiration from the movie ‘The Exorcist’ as she sounds like she is being exorcised herself. The tuning of the stomping drumming patterns meshed with the slower-paced riffs sound similar to songs from bands such as ‘Carcass’ and ‘Entombed’. The menacing atmosphere created in this particular song is especially nasty towards the end when the song slows to a crawl and Irohanas vocals become even more strained before strangled choking sounds can be heard emanating from her throat. This is truly the most frightening song on the album, and I haven’t felt this terrified since witnessing ‘Kyo’ from ‘Dir en grey’ perform ‘Inward Scream’ in a live setting. It is truly unsettling.
It is also worthy to note that the CD version of the album contains a reworked version of the single ‘Betrayal,’ which sounds even more intense than before as everything has been tuned a bit lower and vocally the deeper growled approach pushes the intensity to the forefront even more than before. The reworked version of the song abruptly ends which is in contrast to the fade-out/fade in vocal approach employed on the previous rendition of this song.
It must have been a difficult decision to release an album at the end of 2020 due to the ongoing state of the world, however we should be glad that ‘Traitor’ decided to release their debut album at that time. Whilst the production has been stepped up a notch when compared to their previous EP, it still possesses enough rawness and aural violence that any fan of brutally heavy music will enjoy. It is a record that can provide cathartic relief to all those brave enough to lend an ear or two to its incredibly raw production, brutally heavy instrumentation, and the terrifying sound of the monstrous vocal ability of Irohana will linger on in your nightmares long after the record has finished.