Traitor's Gate

Traitor’s Gate-Fallen Review

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From 1984 to 1989, Traitor’s Gate was one of the seminal New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands, but then like many bands of that era, they decided to take some time off. They reformed for a one-off show in 2016 and then decided to get to grips with some new recordings. Fallen is the result of that.

Retribution the first song on this most hotly anticipated record starts with rain, and a synth impression of a choir before the guitars kick in with a mother of all riffs, heavy, thumping, the drums are furious throughout and the vocals paint a chilling image. Homeland is fast, furious and riff central, a brilliant song and one that is sure to get people moving when played live. Deceiver has an infectious groove, the guitars and the drums complete this sense with their boundless energy, the vocals build up the sense of something serious and forlorn with the lyrics. Mean Streets is a rocker, the guitars are chunky, and the rhythms are solid. Edge of Destruction is epic, from the acoustic guitar introduction to the soaring vocals paint a tantalising picture.

Solar Plains is a monster of a song, with big booming riffs, driving rhythm sections and a solid vocal line. Fall From Grace is a great boomer of a song, with soaring guitar leads and a solid riff, the vocals paint a compelling image, and overall this is a song that should go down well with the crowds. Sign Of The Cross is a rocker, brutal riffs, thumping drums, and a precise and sharp vocal melody paints a fabulous picture. Only The Strong starts with a harmonised vocal line, before moving into rocker territory. A brilliant song that mixes up elements perfectly well. Fallen is epic, the Kashmir of the record. Driving riffs, and pulsating rhythms fill the song, with the vocal line being all bombastic and to the point.

Be sure to get this cracker of a record when it is released on 25th May, 2018 via No Remorse Records.

 

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Traitor's Gate

Traitor’s Gate Interview

 

 

 

I sat down with Andy D’Urso, the guitarist for Traitor’s Gate, to talk about the band, the music business and their EP Only The Strong:

 

Respondent – Andy D’Urso – Guitars

  1. What inspired the name of the band and what are your influences?

Well, to be honest, I don’t think anyone thought too hard about the name.

Traitors Gate in London is a famous landmark, and it just sounded very ‘Metal’ back in ’83!

As for influences, back in the early ‘80s you couldn’t help but be influenced by bands like Judas Priest, Saxon, Maiden, Motorhead. Those bands were everywhere, and being much younger men, we attended as many shows as we could.

35years later, I guess some of those bands still have an influence but it’s natural to pick up influences along the way. Bands like Queensryche, Dio, Accept, etc. My personal all-time favourite for straight ahead, no nonsense riffing will always be Priest, because that’s the era I came from.

 

  1. Where do you find influence for music and song writing?

Good question. This one is never easy to answer for me. If I keep my answer to the present day, I’d say I’m definitely influenced by a lot of bands and guitarists I grew up listening to because it’s just naturally a part of me, and it’s impossible to ignore.

For me, the riff is the most important part. It has to have ‘something’ that gives me a feeling of ‘f*ck, that’ll sound awesome live!’. It could be as simple as something I do when I’m tuning up that just triggers something, or working off a drum beat I’m feeling on the day, or even a story theme I have in my head. I think most writers will tell you there’s no one way to do it.

I will say though there is one big difference between how I wrote in the early days, and how I write today…

I literally try not to listen to any other bands when I’m writing.

It’s far too easy to unconsciously write a poor copy of something you heard somewhere else. The guys in the band are my sounding board for anything I start writing because they have a far more eclectic taste in metal than I do!

 

  1. What was the process like for writing the EP Only The Strong, and are there any songs that stand out?

Another good question. This is probably going to be a boring answer, but I can honestly tell you, I simply wrote down anything and everything that came into my head. Hours of just sitting in the studio playing around and trying to get something finished. You have to remember that we only reformed at the end of 2016, after nearly 30yrs apart. I hadn’t been called upon to write anything for years.

In the end, the music just happened, and I think I wrote around 17 tracks in about 4 weeks. Inevitably of course, some of those fell away as we worked in rehearsals, but it did kind of set out what our style would be for the comeback.

Now I think, with the addition of more tracks to form the upcoming album, I think we have definitely arrived at exactly where we want to be musically.

As for stand out tracks on the EP, I’m particularly proud of all of them but, if I had to choose, it would be Retribution, Edge of Destruction, and Fall from Grace.

 

 

 

  1. How has the music scene changed since you started out?

You know, as far as the metal genre is concerned, guys of a certain age understand the journey that took place from the NWOBHM era, through Hair Metal, through Thrash, and then onto every other metal genre (Speed, Death, Doom, etc), and even the resurgence of ‘Punk’.

I may not be a fan of it all, but I do think every incarnation of rock/metal from around 1979, right up to the present day, had an important part to play in forming the current metal scene. What we see and hear today, coming out of places like Germany, Scandinavia, South America, the US, the UK, etc, is strongly related to all of those influences. I’m so impressed by the people (bands, fans, promoters, etc) that are determined to, not only keep the movement alive, but are actually working hard every day to make it grow.

As for the business itself, well, I think we can all agree that the main difference between then and now is that the power lies with the artist, not the company. The advent of the internet opened up the world to every artist wanting to share their music, and that has to be a good thing.

 

  1. How has the band changed?

Hmm, the obvious change is the guys have all got older. Unlike me, they haven’t been able to hold on to those devastating good looks they once had, so that’s a real shame I guess (he he, that’s one beating I’ll be getting next rehearsal!).

Seriously though, as people we haven’t changed much at all. We still laugh at the same stupid things we did back in the day, and we still have the same enthusiasm for the music we listen to and play.

I would add that, as you would hope, we are all better players than we were back in the ‘80s, and with age comes more patience!

 

  1. What plans do you have for the future?

To be honest, making plans is good but staying in the present suits us also. We’ve only been back for 18mths so we are still learning how the new scene works, as far as getting shows, etc, and we still need to work harder to get onto the radars of those people that could benefit us the most going forward. The commitment is definitely there to take this as far as we can, so more shows in and outside the UK is a definite goal for us.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget our album ‘Fallen’, due to be released on the No Remorse label May 25th this year, which just so happens to coincide with our appearance at the Up The Hammers event in Athens!

 

Personal Note

I would like to say, on behalf of the band, that we are sincerely grateful to everyone that made the comeback possible, that continue to support the band, and continue to show their support for the band, live or otherwise.

And to guys like you Vivek, giving bands like us a voice.

Metal Forever!

Traitor's Gate

Traitor’s Gate-Only The Strong Review

Image result for traitor's gate only the strong

Traitor’s Gate is a band that was steeped in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they were big for a time, then disappeared before returning in the new Millenium, as the new wave saw a revival, and now they are back with their EP Only the Strong.

The first song on this five-track EP is Retribution, the guitars are heavy, the riffs are moving, filled with the drag and sludge of classic Sabbath, the vocals Sy Davies create a haunting image of a man seeking retribution desperately. Deceiver as the sound of feet walking on wood and a door opening as its intro, before moving gears into a head moving riff, the lyrics paint an image of someone coming to terms with a liar and a con artist. The clean licks that accompany part of the lyrics are brilliantly phrased. Fall from Grace starts with a good riff and solid lead intro. Andy D’urso, the guitarist for the band really shines through on this song, kicking the band into gear at the right moments. Sy Davies is on fire as well, his vocals are brilliant and fit right in with the mood of the song.

Edge of Destruction begins with an acoustic lick, with Sy singing about darkness and the fall over the Earth, the heavy riffs play in the background, building the sense of anticipation amongst the listener. The heaviness when it comes is catchy and in a swinging groove, a brilliant take on the classic soft then heavy make up. The band is in fine fettle during this song. Title track ‘Only The Strong’ States with harmonised vocals, before moving into crushing overdrive for six minutes of brutal rock and metal, a  brilliant closer to the record.

The EP is a strong record, carrying quality songs and strong tones, a brilliant piece as the band prepare the release of their new album on 25th May. Only The Strong is out now!