Betraying the Martyrs – Breathe In Life

Betraying the Martyrs

Breathe In Life

01. Ad Astra
02. Martyrs
03. Man Made Disaster
04. Because of You
05. Tapestry of Me
06. Liberate Me Ex Inferis
07. Leave It All Behind
08. Life Is Precious
09. Love Lost
10. Azalee
11. When You’re Alone

[09/20/11]
[Sumerian Records]

French newcomers Betraying the Martyrs are one of those types of bands that have a sound you can trace back to nearly countless other bands that have taken the spotlight in their respective genres. As their name would lead you to believe, the band have their sound firmly rooted in metalcore and deathcore. However, Betraying the Martyrs aren’t entirely unoriginal. In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with not trying to re-invent the wheel. Breathe in Life simply makes a dedicated effort to perfect it, and manages to get shockingly close.

Betraying the Martyrs admittedly have a sound that would make any metal elitist sick to his stomach. Shades of Whitechapel‘s tried and true dense deathcore brutality (harsh vocals are damn near identical to Phil Bozeman’s low gutterals) seem to compliment The Devil Wears Prada-esque saccharin clean vocal style, Christian lyrics, and melodic sensibilities while maintaining Born of Osiris‘ slightly progressive edge. We’re not metal elitists by any sort of stretch considering our open love affair with the many promising metalcore and deathcore bands that we feel deserve praise. While Betraying the Martyrs wear their influences proudly in their sleeves, they manage to become more than the sum of their parts.

Music aside, the co-star of the show seems to be the absolutely massive production, which is polished to perfection. Some will write off the sonic quality of Breathe in Life as sterile, but it’s a genre staple that I’ve come to enjoy and expect in music of this nature; I wouldn’t enjoy a filthy sounding deathcore record and I would scoff at the idea of a pristine black metal record. Different aesthetics work for different styles of music, and the production quality on Breathe In Life is fantastic and on point. The sound is huge, almost to the point of sounding quite epic. The excellent keyboard parts manage to flourish through the thick production as well, although they’re nearly on the verge of drowning in the mix.

Truth be told, Breathe in Life is just about as good as—if not better than—Born of Osiris’ surprising new opus The Discovery. There are many parallels on a musical front—including, but not limited to, an apparent shared foray into electronic music on the instrumental track “Liberate Me Ex Inferis,” which borrows heavily from dubstep—and it says a lot for Betraying The Martyrs that they’ve been able to reach this level of quality for the genre on their debut record when it took Born of Osiris their third try. Of course, some of the groundwork was laid for them, but they can’t be faulted for putting the pieces together this magically. Not to mention being one of the higher quality Christian metal records I’ve heard in some time, and they had enough courtesy to make it fairly subtle.

Betraying the Martyr’s Breathe in Life just works. The band essentially crafted a combination of take-em-or-leave-em genre staples cherry picked and assembled in such a way that is refreshingly addictive despite little innovation. But then again, some people know what they want. Sometimes I just feel like chuggy breakdowns and catchy choruses, and very few bands manage to do it this well while maintaining a progressive attitude and avoiding being no more than a mere guilty pleasure. Betraying the Martyrs have undoubtedly breathed life into a genre that very well could be on its last legs.

Betraying the Martyrs – Breathe in Life gets…

4/5

I know, we’re feeling generous this summer’s end. Stick around for tomorrow’s review of Brutal Truth’s End Times for a break from the super happy positivity!

– JR

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