Traveler / Coronary – Traveler / Coronary [Split] (2018) REVIEW

Through some cosmic kismet or shared lifelong pursuit of classic heavy metal both Traveler and Coronary formed through similar inspiration along nearly identical timelines as they formed in 2017 and managed to both release impressive old school heavy metal demos in the spring of 2018. Spiritually similar but representing two very different poles of melodic 80’s metal the two bands pair together like the finest blended wine and each introduce themselves with impressive songwriting throughout. Whether you arrive upon this vinyl split release of each demo as a ‘retro’ enthusiast fueled by nostalgia or a jeans-jacketed, porn-stached newcomer it’ll be a good time.

Canada has no great shortage of fantastic young speed metal bands hungry for spandex snapping dual-guitar satisfaction and Traveler comes from the mind of already fairly prolific musician Matt Ries (Gatekrashör, Hrom) who brings in former Hrom drummer Jon Loncik for session work here alongside former Borrowed Time, and current Gatekeeper vocalist, Jean-Pierre Abboud to round out the trio. Their sound is a cross between the thoughtful intensity of Deaf Dealer‘s ‘Keeper of the Flame’ but with a touch early US power metal’s anthemic quality a la Omen‘s ‘Warning of Danger’. At first I’d been reminded of post ‘Kill ‘Em All’ speed metal records like the self-titled Maniac or early Exciter but Abboud‘s voice is just leagues more refined than of anything in that vein. It is unabashedly classic heavy/speed metal that is assuredly more post-Maiden than Coronary’s nigh ‘Killing Machine’-esque bridge between the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Speed metal is no less popular in Finland than Canada and a chance reunion between old friends Aku Kytölä (Prestige) and Pasi Vuorio (Rytmihäiriö) lead them towards realizing a shared interest in classic heavy metal in the form of Coronary. As much as I was expecting a sort of scraggly speed metal, these Finns are serious and precise in creating a viable example of the shared history of and interconnection between heavy metal and hard rock in the early 80’s. As much as “Firewings” channels late 70’s Priest with a nigh power metal panache, the balls -fully- drop on the table with “Bullet Train” with it’s hump-worthy basslines and anthemic Accept and Scorpions appropriations. Vocalist Olli Kärki (ex-Ruinside) is just right there on the edge of early Whitesnake-era Coverdale and it really helps Coronary to stand out on the split. In fact I really enjoyed this split for the juxtaposition between musicians who were born/grew up in the 80’s and those who lived them as adults. It isn’t so much a contest of authenticity but a celebration of influence and heavy metal’s most powerful, lasting traditions.

Artist Traveler / Coronary
Type EP, Split
Released July 27th, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Cruz del Sur Music/Gates of Hell Records store! Traveler on FB | Coronary on FB
Genre Heavy Metal,
Speed Metal

Time for steel, stop at nothing. 4.0/5.0


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