Review Summary: Betraying The Martyrs offer an album that has some very bright moments (Man Made Disaster), but the remainder is plagued by bland songwriting and no defining direction. Maybe next time.
I actually discovered this band by seeing them live on the Born of Osiris tour a while ago. I had never heard of them before, and after a half decent live show, I went home and decided to check out some of their songs at a reasonable volume. The first song that came up on youtube was the video for Man Made Disaster. Lo and behold, this song was very very strong and had me listening to it a few times in a row actually. The vocals in the song struck me as quite good. The screams are harsh and aggressive, and the cleans from the keyboard player were unique and a nice change of pace. The guitar parts were surprisingly pretty decent and kept things interesting even from a guitar players viewpoint with some nice riffage and melodic tremolo picking. The first breakdown with the nice keyboard part actually had me grooving in my computer chair like a complete doofus. The song shines as a whole and I thought this band had a lot to bring to the table. Unbeknownst to me, this song was deceivingly good and after listening to their other video for tapestry of me, I jumped the gun and got the whole album assuming the other songs were going to be up to par. Strike one for me.
The rest of the songs on this album aside from tapestry of me, have some glaring issues. For starters, I failed to recall any resemblance of the other track names, which indicates that the songs themselves fail to stand out. The other 7/11ths of this album (filler songs omitted) is a dull hodgepodge to say the least. There are almost no defining moments in the remainder of the play time. It is full of boring breakdowns, uninspired instrumentation and poor, repetitive songwriting. There is no movement and the album flatlines. I honestly felt like putting in a false advertisement claim for this album. I was quite confused at how a band could make 2 VERY strong songs in a played out deathcore genre, and then completely lay a steaming loaf for the vast majority of the tracks. Go figure.
Apart from the mostly soft songwriting, there were a few things I feel like I have to give this band credit for. I found the production on this album to be quite tasteful. The guitar tone is very heavy, but not too muddy for the most part. As far as the bass goes, I don't know about you guys but I could actually pick out the bass part quite easily which is a rarity. This added to the heaviness of the album in a very positive way. The drummer wrote some tasty parts as well considering how weak some of the songs get, so i'll give him props in that department. The guitarists actually come up with some pretty decent parts every once in a while, but then take 10 steps back by putting a half assed idea in afterward. Lastly, the vocals came out as being a strong part of this album. I rather enjoyed the combination of Aaron Matts' overly harsh vocals and the keyboardists full, clean vocals. I feel as though it would have been easy to ruin the vocals by having a whiny, high pitched singer but they compliment each other nicely. Finally, and completely unrelated, the interlude Liberate Me-Ex Inferis is actually pretty cool.........just saying.
In conclusion, if this album didn't have Man Made Disaster and Tapestry of Me, then this album is a giant waste of everyone's time. The strength of these songs has me wondering if they can pull together and put out a more driven and organized product, but don't hold your breath.