Tracer: El Pistolero

Grungy Germans clean up on their second album

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Pitching up somewhere between Soundgarden and QOTSA, Tracer have made a major leap with their second album; every aspect is stronger than 2011’s Spaces In Between. You hear this on the thrusting Lady Killer, which has forthright vocals from Michael Brown, as well as a blazing guitar solo.

Dirty Little Secret then struts right in your face and Suite Del Desperaro – featuring the four-way threat of the title track, Ballad Of El Pistolero, Santa Cecilia and Until The War Is Won – has the haunting, menacing quality you’d expect on a spaghetti western soundtrack.

Tracer’s songwriting shows delicacy, as well as bravura, their musicianship is both sophisticated and also sparse and Kevin Shirley’s production adds depth and value to every riff, melody and lyrical twist. El Pistolero is Tracer refusing to conform and moving at their own pace.

Listen to the way they imbue the softness of Scream In Silence with a rampant roar of pain – it’s clear that Tracer are about to make their mark.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021