Published on December 3rd, 2016 | by Justin G.
Originally released in 1985, Traitor was the fifth album from Dutch heavy metal warriors Picture. The band had just come off a pair of near-perfect heavy metal albums in 1982’s Diamond Dreamer and 1983’s Eternal Dark, but by the mid-1980s the musical landscape was shifting. Bands like Motley Crue were tearing up the charts and even long-running metal bands like Judas Priest were adapting their sound, so it’s not really surprising that Picture bent to pressure from their label.
That’s not to suggest that Traitor is a “soft” album, or even that it’s not metal. But it is more commercially accessible than say Diamond Dreamer. Hard-charging metallic anthems like “Dyin’ To Live” and “Loud and Proud,” which would have fit well on Judas Priest’s Defenders of the Faith, are paired with more melodic rockers like “Fantasies” and “Lost in the Night” that you might expect from a band like Fate or Shogun. In other words, it’s a pretty typical mid ‘80s effort from a veteran metal band.
Traitor may not hold up quite as well as the earlier Picture albums (and it sure didn’t put them on Motley Crue’s popularity level), but it’s still a really solid, really fun melodic hard rock album. The lines between heavy metal and hard rock were awfully blurry in 1985, so this is an easy album to like if you’re a fan of either sound. Fans of bands like Saxon, Highway Chile, Fate, Shogun and of course Judas Priest should especially enjoy this overlooked Picture album.
Reissue Notes: Traitor finally got a proper CD reissue in 2016, more than 30 years after its initial release, thanks to the Divebomb label, who also gave us such nicely-done reissues of the first four Picture albums. Divebomb’s reissue features newly remastered audio as well as the rare 3-song Limited Edition EP added as bonus tracks. It also has a nice booklet with a new interview with vocalist Pete Lovell and some vintage photos. Just having this album on CD for the first time is a win, but the sound quality and extra tracks make the Traitor reissue an even sweeter deal.
Summary: On CD at long last