So, for some reason, I’ve always had this preconceived distaste for BETRAYING THE MARTYRS. I’ll be honest, I really don’t know why either. I guess one of their songs didn’t really ring right with me? Maybe an album didn’t? I don’t know. Either way, they’re back, they’re doing that thing that they do on The Resilient (out now, Sumerian Records), and they’ve pushed that random aversion I had against them out of my mind.
BTM really dives in with orchestral elements in all of their songs, which certainly gives this album a unique feel. It definitely helps things stand out, and with metal being as stagnant as it can be, it’s really neat to hear something so flamboyant, and so focused on the production elements to really give the songs a certain Shakespearean dramatic tension. The lyrics get a bit chummy for my taste, so that pretty much immediately counteracts the previous statement, but it’s not bad enough to really pull me out of the experience of the album, so that’s passable I suppose (also, based on the pronunciation and syntax of some lyrics, I’m about 90% sure English is not their first language, so I give respect to them based on the fact that they pursue their art regardless).
I do have to say, some of the songs really blend together to the point where I didn’t realize they changed, which is something I’m not particularly fond of as I prefer albums with as little filler as possible. However, these boys really do throw around some interesting parts, covering everything from blast beats, to breakdowns, to string melting solos, to orchestra laden barked out vocal runs, and soaring choruses. The whole record carries a very unconventional feel, which is refreshing, and something I stand behind.
The production quality is very pleasing for such a dense mass of music. It’s incredibly difficult to have “everything louder than everything else” as some musicians put it, and with multiple layers of strings, guitars, thundering bass, track after track of vocal parts, and all the intricacies of drums, finding a balance is a true art in and of itself.
All in all, this isn’t going to be my album of the year or anything. I’m not BLOWN away by it, and I’m not chomping at the bit waiting for more, but it is certainly not a bad album by any means, and really stands on its own two feet because of how unique it sounds. I may not jam these guys every day from here on out, but they’ve thoroughly convinced me of their musical prowess and execution, which is all I ask out of albums and the artists that make them.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Take Me Back”, “Unregistered”, “Ghost”