In August 2017 having completed a farewell tour and laid the band to rest some 5 months earlier, Floridian Deathcore crew Traitors announced their return. Shortly thereafter, they announced a tour run and released new single “Lashing Out” before heading back to the studio. “Anger Issues” was then Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Jesse Kirkbride & Chris Whited (both of King Conquer) at Kirkbride Recordings. The album’s run time of 17 minutes 52 seconds is a short and sharp system shock with the longest track being “Blatant Disrespect” at 3 minutes dead.
Things get going with the album “Intro” which instantly brings the headbang with a brutal breakdown and clean, crisp drum work to set the tone. “Short Fused” then kicks in with a very short intro before the vocals from Tyler Shelton (ex-Visionaries) start. As vocals go, they’re probably the most brutal uncleans around where the lyrics are still comprehendible. Lyrically discussing all of the rage that occupies the mind and letting all that hate and anger out over guitar breakdowns piled upon breakdowns with clinical dissonant and subtle leads. “RIP” comes in with a riff that borders on tech-metal. Guitarists Alan De La Torre and Mikey Ingram are shinning at this point, their ability to lay down both the brutal and the nuanced subtleties that you get with repeat listens while allowing plenty of space for the vocals is a joy. “Blatant Disrespect” talks about how people are the root of all evil through the way we treat others for our own gain. It’s intelligent and thought provoking while also being circle pit material. “Interlude” then brings a crushing 65 seconds Segway of riff pile drivers before the band up the pace into “No Peace”. Stephen Arango’s drum sound is clean and crisp with a real edge that lifts the sound in the same way that the drum sound on “Nomad” by Kublai Khan does. Again it’s the subtleties and nuances in the guitar sound that you hear on the repeated listens – it’s not just about the breakdowns, the leads and atmospherics are a real pleasure here. “Medicine” features a hardcore styled gang vocal part as well as a cleaner unclean vocal from Chris Whited of King Conquer. Overall the song has leanings towards the heavier end of Knocked Loose, it’s punishing riff will have your neck in pieces. “Lashing Out” features a more structured lyric and a clear verse-chorus structure that isn’t always stuck to. It’s the only song to feature what I will describe as a pig squeal, but is more of a pig strangle.
“Anger Issues” as an album title couldn’t be more apt. The album simmers along gently and brutally while never dropping it’s uneasy, off kilter sound. Traitors don’t play to any gimmicks. There is no reliance on a trick or a sound or temp change within each song, there is no signature or requirement for a clean vocal or big lead. The band aren’t overly technical, instead utilizing some tech-metal influenced riffage to and brutal guitar tones to highlight their sound while being anvil heavy. “Anger Issues” is pure vent but not in a nu-metal way, instead, like the best of therapies, discussing the struggle, the hostility, the need for restraint and the disruptive moods. There is no woe-is-me from frontman Tyler Shelton. Instead there is a vocal that crushes opposition while having intelligent and well thought out lyrics that are genuinely thought provoking. There is an undeniable groove, energy and a vigour that other bands of Traitors kind sorely lack. [8.5/10]
2. Short Fused
4. Blatant Disrespect
6. No Peace
7. Medicine (Feat. Chris Whited of King Conquer)
8. Lasing Out