Album Review: The Eyes Of A Traitor – Breathless

Just over a year on from their debut full-length, The Eyes Of A Traitor (or simply Traitor) are back with their sophomore offering. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you have to admit these guys put a different spin on the much-maligned deathcore blueprint and pushed it in a new direction. On ‘Breathless’, the Hertfordshire fivesome push the experimental envelope even further, whilst simultaneously going heavier than ‘A Clear Perception’.

Usually when there is such a short gap between albums, one wonders if the band has enough ideas to offer up something fresh and interesting. Not Traitor though. ‘Breathless’ still bears enough hallmarks to be instantly recognisable as a Traitor album, but is just that little bit more prog, avant-garde and crunchier. Vocalist Jack Delaney might still have that annoying half-growl, half-screech delivery most of the time that can grate like nails on chalkboard but it’s the song structures, or lack thereof, that take centre stage here. Hated ‘core for being one-dimensional? This is the band for you. There’s never a clearly defined verse or chorus and each ‘song’ is more like a movement of riffs, punctuated by breakdowns.

Because there aren’t any boundaries on how they write songs, Traitor are also able to incorporate a variety of influences into their music – everything from Gothenburg to Pantera-inspired groove. Each song hits just a little harder than ‘A Clear Perception’ did, thanks in no small part to production that gives every hit a behemoth-like epic feel. ‘Nothing To Offer’ is one of the ballsiest tracks on the whole album with a straightforward (for Traitor) groove and high headbang quotient, while songs like ‘The Birth’ are tracks to really listen to, and not just hear, because of the carefully crafted structures that defy all expectation.

‘Breathless’ still doesn’t feel like it is Traitor’s ultimate statement. Much like ‘A Clear Perception’, this album promises bigger things to come whilst edging closer to that zenith. In that sense, this album is reminiscent of the early days of Mastodon – lots of bluster and potential, but not quite hitting the high you knew they could. Traitor might still be waiting for their breakthrough ‘Leviathan’ moment, but that doesn’t mean this latest offering isn’t great. A band that can take the overused ‘core template and give it a completely new twist is always going to produce great albums, and ‘Breathless’ is no exception.

Rating – 7

     

About Abhijeet Ahluwalia

Abhijeet Ahluwalia – I’m a freelance journalist who goes back and forth between London and Bombay. A huge metalhead, but I have an eclectic taste, from reggae to punk. Oh, and Manchester United are the greatest team in the world. Follow me on Twitter or drop me a line via Email.

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