Betraying The Martyrs


Written by: CEM on 02/09/2014 21:48:25

The glorified opportunity, especially as a European metalcore band, to have a debut album tour of the United States under an American record label is considerably good way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the bunch. Defying economic barriers and really captivating new audiences quickly is tough, but an accomplished task by the six Parisian men that call themselves Betraying The Martyrs. All of whom have been consistently altruistic, outspoken Christians and absolutely hell-bent on providing the world with their idea of the most immersive symphonic metal experience. Crusading through tours with highly regarded bands such as Carnifex, Born Of Osiris, Unearth, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, and Emmure their name is beginning to stick. Since their debut album “Breathe In Life” my assumption that they would elaborate on their instrumental prowess and artistic energy had been created in confidence, but has some how completely dematerialized after their newest full length release “Phantom”.

The introductory track “Jigsaw” opens with a sonic assault of blasted snares and a barrage of alternated crash cymbals. Parts feel randomized but cleverly controlled by their new Russian drummer Mark Mironov (ex. My Autumn) whose precision and speed are applied decorously throughout. The ubiquitous tremeloed leads coil the mix like loosely threaded sheaths of cotton, only just failing to lift the band out of a plain replication of their previous work. Soul crushing breakdowns after apocalyptic overtures have become a signature of theirs and marks a difference between them and other Sumerian-core bands. Although a meager formulation of what sounds like leftover signature parts is a considerably close evaluation after observing this album in is entirety.

The listening experience is at times overwhelming and can only be appreciated holistically. Meaning that rather than giving each musician their allocated time to shine they all seem to be desperately grasping for attention simultaneously. The pre-chorus in “Walk Away” splits your attention between two bars of snare and hi-hat blasting countered by two bars of a Born of Osiris “Discovery” sounding riffs that leave you stunned by confusion. Contrasting their album production values allows for some success to be noted, but basically boils down to using live drums and refined guitar tones. There is, however, a general online consensus that the vocals are too digitally manipulated and ultimately disintegrate the acknowledgement of their improvements. As for the synths, if I could tell whether or not they are constructed from scratch or basically found by scrolling through a list of edited Massive presets I might begin to feel sorry for how deeply layered they are in the mix.

A boiling cauldron of extreme metal genres, singing styles, major key changes and forced technicality are the bullet-points that could lead to their untimely suicide. Garnished riffs come off as inorganic and sound undefined compared to the standard of harmonic leads that flourished throughout “Breathe In Life”. For example the solo in “Our Kingdom” would leave any guitarists face in a constant grimace, especially since its the second solo on the album and we're ten tracks in. The first being on “Where The World Ends” which was in fact very impressive but not particularly ear-catching. Tracks without oversimplified celestial piano parts are in-existent and the Disney's Frozen cover song “Let It Go”, “Your Throne” and “Where The World Ends” reveal just how much unnecessary cinematic film score makes up their sound as a whole. The rest quickly becomes too chaotic to follow and leaves the listener wandering in search of something more substantial in terms of progression and structure. While it does deliver downright brutality, exceptional screams and unique atonal chord sequences, let's just leave it at this; if the most memorable song of your album was written by a production house that caters to unsophisticated prepubescence I doubt you're moving in the right direction musically.


Download: Jigsaw, Phantom, What's Left of You, Where The World Ends
For The Fans Of: Behemoth, Born of Osiris, Whitechapel, Winds of Plague

Release date 15.06.2014
Sumerian Records

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