Betraying the Martyrs
Phantom


2.5
average

Review

by Betray USER (6 Reviews)
July 17th, 2014 | 64 replies


Release Date: 07/15/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An identity crisis in musical form.

Betraying The Martyrs are a six-piece metal act that hail from a land known for it’s iconic tower, art, and fine dining. Paris, France; quite a long distance away from the band’s counterparts residing in the United States and Australia. With 2014’s Phantom, Betraying the Martyrs look to stand out in the ever crowded scene with their signature fusion of many extreme metal elements into their root deathcore sound.

From the onset of the first track Jigsaw, the listener’s first observance will likely be the harsh vocals. Aaron Matt’s growls are overlaid by heavy distortion - amongst other effects - the end product being a robotic, metallic howl reminiscent of someone being possessed by dark forces in a horror movie or a computerized text-to-speech tool. For the vocals to sound like this through the entire 44 minute duration of the album is without a doubt incredibly unnecessary, but at the same time seem to fit the bill for the sound the band is going for. While the vocals are indeed extremely overproduced, they do sound menacing and evil - accomplishing exactly what the band intended for Phantom. No matter how ‘cool’ the vocals might sound with the extra production, I think any listener would have preferred vocals akin to Matts’ performance on debut record Breathe in Life; not to mention the fact that there is no way this nefarious sound can be reproduced live.

Victor Guillet provides the clean vocals and keyboards on Phantom. It almost seems unfair to criticize and discredit a band member's complete performance - especially a multi-instrumentalist, but Phantom and Betraying the Martyrs as a whole would be much better off without Guillet. His clean vocals seek to provide harmony or a memorable chorus amidst the demonic harsh vocals. His keyboard work means to supplement the rest of the band and enhance the ‘epic’ sound that Betraying the Martyrs aim to achieve. Unfortunately for Victor, he fails in both regards. The clean vocals come off as annoying and the keyboards do nothing but further clutter the mess that is Betraying the Martyrs sound. A decent idea begins to build up only to be crushed back to sea level by vexatious clean vocals. Most notably ruined by the awful vocals is the track ‘Walk Away’ - in which a promising beginning collapses within seconds of the first chorus.

The guitars here - much like in many deathcore albums - are nothing to marvel at. Guitarists Lucas D’Angelo and Baptiste Vigier provide a catchy lead or a interesting technical riff here and there but for the most part you’ll catch the guitarists going through the motions providing superficial chords and tremolo until it’s time to slow down and chug for a massive breakdown. Breakdowns on Phantom seem almost randomly placed throughout the songs, and it’s only made worse by the band seemingly refusing to develop a transition between different parts of the song. On a positive note, there are a few decent solos to be found on Phantom and there’s an instrumental track driven by some somber guitar work that anyone can appreciate.

This is the first release of Betraying the Martyrs to feature their new drummer Mark Mironov. Mironov delivers an overall unimpressive debut performance. He fills, he blasts. he drives the breakdowns, he calls it a day. The drumming on the album is not bad, just very run-of-the-mill. On the topic of apathy and indifference, the bassist Valentin Hauser is - not surprisingly - inaudible. Hauser doesn’t exactly crush anyone’s expectations of what the bass guitar’s role could possibly be in an album like this, other than to thicken the sound.

As a whole, Phantom is a mess. Betraying the Martyrs commit the exact opposite offense that their peers are guilty of. Whereas most bands in their genre do too little to differentiate themselves with one another, Betraying the Martyrs do too much. Piled on top of their base deathcore sound are obnoxious symphonic elements, discordant clean choruses, overly technical palm muted riffs, and easy, unnecessary piano licks, just to name a few of the many glaring mistakes. To make matters worse, all these conflicting elements are thrown into a overall lackluster dual production job by guitarist d’Angelo and Nicolas Delestrade.

Betraying the Martyrs are full of good ideas and backed up by a fair level of talent, but Phantom is ultimately hampered by an over complicated and conflicting sound in dire need of simplification and clean-up.



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user ratings (61)
Chart.
2.6
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Betray
July 17th 2014


3583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This was a bit of a tough review to put into words from the thoughts in my head. So please feel free to point out any screw-ups I missed.

Feedback is appreciated as always.

Digging: Between the Buried and Me - Between the Buried and Me

Grizzlypyro
July 17th 2014


166 Comments


Nice review, I was considering writing one for this, however it proved pretty difficult to get through.

Devastator
July 17th 2014


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Harsh vocals ruin it. It's a decent album but all the effects are ridiculous.

Betray
July 17th 2014


3583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks guys. Didn't find myself enjoying this much at all but it's not the worst thing I've ever heard.

SourAK
July 17th 2014


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

they covered a disney song

SourAK
July 17th 2014


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

good review tho

Betray
July 17th 2014


3583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah. They did. And it's probably the best song on here lel

Thanks man!

wwba
July 17th 2014


355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"discordant clean choruses"

what? where?

SourAK
July 17th 2014


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

best new user

Betray
July 17th 2014


3583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Fucking everywhere wwba. I know you're a troll but the clean vocals on this album suck.

SourAK
July 17th 2014


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

7th tier troll agreed

wwba
July 17th 2014


355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hahaha I like how you criticize Victor yet you couldn't produce half as good vocals / piano themes as him...

Devastator
July 17th 2014


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

wwba with the average YouTube comment.

SourAK
July 17th 2014


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

looks like the ratings chart is a black flag fan

tresm87
July 17th 2014


1101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

(Betray) ing

Digging: Fit For A King - Slave To Nothing

Betray
July 17th 2014


3583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thx for the neg bro

Futures
July 17th 2014


11684 Comments


good review pal. their old stuff actually used to be my jam. this sounds bad tho

Digging: Mock Orange - Nines & Sixes

Kronzo
July 17th 2014


993 Comments


I've always really wanted to like this band, they have a way with riffZ but can't seem to structure songs decently

Betray
July 17th 2014


3583 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Futures Thanks man. Their older stuff is way better, and yeah, this is pretty bad.

@Kronzo, that's the problem exactly, only amplified on Phantom. The good guitarwork is there, but almost every song is structured terribly.

ScuroFantasma
July 18th 2014


2243 Comments


Great review Betray, pos'd.

Digging: Opeth - Deliverance



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