Traveler - Official Website

Prequel To Madness

Canada Country of Origin: Canada

1. Mayday
2. Take The Wheel
3. Dark Skull
4. The Law
5. Rebels Of Earth
7. No Fate
8. Vagrants Of Time
9. Prequel To Madness

Review by Raphaël on April 13, 2024.

In this god-awful year that is 2024, so far, at least one thing has definitely not been terrible! Metal! Metal will always be here to help me escape this barbaric reality. Metal as something for every emotion, whether it be getting over a breakup, release all that built-up anger from whatever is going on in your life, there is a style of metal for you! However, helping me getting through the witnessing of the brutal genocide campaign the world has been seeing for the past 6 months is… quite the challenge! Since February however, the Canadian band Traveler has done a phenomenal job, considering the gargantuan task! This Calgary based band offers us their third studio album, Prequel To Madness and it’s everything you could wish for. Soaring high vocals, dual guitars harmonizing, shredding solos, catchy as fuck choruses, extremely fast and energetic drumming and a nice bass sound to tie everything together. Sometimes, what you need in life is just a bit of pure, unadulterated fun that offers a few minutes of escape from this terrible reality.

Let’s first introduce the band: we have founding members, Matt Ries on guitar plus songwriting and Jean-Pierre Abboud providing vocals and lyrics, as well as the songwriting (for tracks 2 to 9). Completing the guitar duo is, almost founding member, Toryin Schadlich. And finally, newcomers since the last album, Nolan Benedetti on drums and Jake Axl Wendt on bass. Special mention to their last drummer and bassist, Chad Vallier and Dave Arnold, who played on track 1 to 5.

The album opens with 'Mayday', a short intro track. The moment you press play, you hear distant sirens followed by a drumroll that leads to a super simple riff, slow drum play on toms and then it explodes, with super-fast double kick drums and equally fast guitars. And that’s it, one minute and 15 seconds later and it’s over, leading immediately to the next song. And right there, with this short intro you get a good idea of what’s to come: fast, melodic, catchy and energetic heavy metal. The next song being, 'Take The Wheel'. With its Iron Maiden-esque intro riff, grandiose chorus and superfast paced, technical solos, it makes you feel a certain type of way. It’s the musical equivalent of riding a bike at full speed with the wind in your hair and that’s exactly what the lyrics are about. Everything works perfectly together and is a testament to the skillful songwriting that you will find everywhere on this album. I’m having trouble choosing which song to talk about since they’re all completed bangers! They could’ve chosen any song as a single and it would’ve worked! Speaking of singles, they made a video for the song 'Heavy Heart', simple, fast paced shots of the band playing their instruments. That’s it, nothing extravagant, but it perfectly highlights every part of the song, whether it be the buildup leading to a superhigh pitch yeeeeeeah, the infectious chorus with gang vocals, the many fast and melodic solos, dual guitar style and the bass that is present everywhere on the album, but especially shines on this song with moments dedicated to highlighting it.

One of the things that makes this album particularly awesome is the overall sound. The production makes everything sound so good, it’s crystal clear, so you can hear every instrument but still retains that organic old-school vibe! Mixed by Daniel Tsourounis and mastered by Dajaun Martineau, these guys made one of the best sounding modern heavy metal I've heard in a long time! Also, the bass was recorded by Jake Wendt. I think it shows how much care they put in for this instrument! Prequel To Madness is an impressive work of art, from the lyrics that tells compelling stories, to the masterful songwriting and musicianship, down to the cover art made by Dylan Barstad, this album is quite simply perfect. It has been in my playlist nonstop since February and I don’t think I’ll stop listening to it until the end of the year, so it’s definitely going to be in my end-of-the-year list! Do not skip this one if you’re a fan of heavy metal with a modern edge.

Rating: 10 out of 10