Danny Vaughn – Traveller

danny_travel_album.jpgIt’s been said that the greatest albums are the ones that take listeners on a journey. By that standard, Danny Vaughn has delivered one of the best rock/metal albums of the year with Traveller.
 
Vaughn is best known as the former singer of the woefully underrated Tyketto. Like other melodic metallers in the late ’80s, Tyketto became a casualty of the public’s changing musical tastes before their career could gain momentum.
 
On Traveller, Vaughn leads a band of British musicians for the third and boldest release of his solo career. From the opening track “Miracle Days”–with its soft fade-in of bagpipes and African-inspired vocal chants–the quintet takes listeners on a musical excursion driven by a whirlwind of emotions and sounds.
 
The first third of the album delivers upbeat and driving rockers that easily carry on the Tyketto legacy. From there, it’s anybody’s guess where Vaughn & Co. are headed next. There are elements of Americana saloon swagger (“The Measure of a Man”); a folksy, mandolin-laden rumination on life and death (“Better By Far”); and a poppy, self-deprecating acoustic tune about new love (“That’s What She Says”).
 
Just when it’s all getting too rootsy, musical counterpoint comes in the form of “The Warrior’s Way,” with its staccato, nü-metal riffing, and the hard-hitting, atmospheric “Death of the Tiger.” Clocking in at nearly seven minutes, the latter tune moves through a variety of prog-metal moods–with ominous synthesizers and backwards guitars setting the tone for this unsettling tale of predator becoming prey.
 
Coming completely out of left field is “The Touch of Your Hand.” Employing a less-is-more aesthetic, the memorable tune puts the “ballad” back in “power ballad.” The sultry crawl of Vaughn’s words is reminiscent of a torch singer, yet he delivers a simple and anthemic arena-rock chorus by song’s end. This license to experiment might go awry in a lesser singer’s hands, but Traveller stays on course by keeping the emphasis on strong vocals and stellar songwriting.
 
Review By: Theodore Thimou

[Rating: 4.5/5]

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