Given Germany’s rich thrash history, it’s really surprising that they haven’t been able to pump out new bands all that quickly. While there are certainly new good thrash bands from Germany, it’s much more difficult to list them off compared to countries like the US and the UK. In fact, Traitor is one of the first I’ve come across. Released in 2012 (and re-released in 2013 by Stormspell Records), “Thrash Command” is the band’s debut full-length, and is sure to satisfy fans of Bay Area Thrash.
The title track of this record is the opener, and it does a mostly solid job of summing up the rest of the record: fast, predictable riffs that are contrasted with more melodic slower moments. The vocals were a bit of a surprise considering they’re from Germany. You would expect them to be quite brutal, but vocalist Andreas Mozer is using a cleaner voice. He is by no means a melodic singer, but he mostly uses a fairly high register for standard thrash. Then, the very next song, “Brutal Exorcism” kicks in, and Mozer is able to deliver the vicious sounds that Mille Petrozza and Tom Angelripper used to pull off. He tends to switch between these two sounds almost at will, and it works so well that you won’t even notice he has changed his style. The riffs are generally pretty similar throughout: they take influence from bands like Exodus, Testament and Metallica. There are also hints of Slayer in some of the faster songs (the main riff of “Merciless Hate” manages to be particularly evil despite its breakneck tempo). With that said, most of the riffs tend to involve relentless muted downpicking with ever changing power chords and accented notes. A major highlight on “Thrash Command” is the production. This is because the bass is audible throughout almost every second of the record, and the low-end really increases the heaviness of the often-used chugging riffs. On the speedier riffs, however, having a louder bass guitar allows the guitars to use a higher register.
Perhaps where “Thrash Command” won’t wow you is in the fairly foreseeable songwriting. This is nothing you haven’t heard before, nor is it something that hasn’t been better executed by other young new bands. It is by no means monotonous like other releases, and is actually very easy to listen to and come back to. Unfortunately, however, there are not quite as many highlights as I had hoped for. There is the soul-crushing “Virtual Tormentor”, where Mozer commands you to “tell [him] your secrets” with conviction. Likewise, “F.U.A.D.” (I think you can figure out what that stands for) is a truly hate-filled experience. The only real surprise on this album came in "Temples of Doom" where a completely old-school heavy metal guitar solo takes over the song. After that moment, however, it's back to thrashing! When all is said and done, “Thrash Command” leaves you with a 41-minute period where you can headbang to your hearts content, just don’t expect this record to hold up next to “Bonded By Blood” or “The New Order”.
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3.7/5 or 74%.
Written by Scott