An incessant name on the touring and festival circuit, Sumerian deathcore firebrands Betraying The Martyrs have plainly garnered the affections of a thriving scene, yet on the back of an undeniably scant recorded output. Although 2011’s debut ‘Breathe In Life’ turned in a functional look at the band’s melding of bilious aggression and earworm hooks, the record’s questionable staying power left a tangible yearning for something just a touch more significant. Lucky, sophomore full-length ‘Phantom’ and its policy of scorched earth hostility and melodic richness cranks things up several notches.
Opener, ‘Jigsaw’, boots off with a fire and brimstone lesson in smouldering heaviousity, its spin on a dime deathly stomp underpinned with the Parisian sextet’s penchant for amiable ivory tinkering and a forthright relish for Dimmu Borgir-esque majesty. A dizzying onset, the band nail their colours to the mast with white hot aplomb.
It’s this outlook which indeed more or less tells the entire story of ‘Phantom’. Flashes of scathing extremity and melodic opulence see highlight tracks such as ‘Where The World Ends’ and ‘Lighthouse’ prime reference points towards modern metal done right, whereas the orchestral touches on the sky scrapingly grandiose ‘Walk Away’ hint at a band with all the contemporary know how to legitimately top the heap ahead of their countless peers.
Even the somewhat dubious decision to include their take on Disney modern classic ‘Let It Go’ (featured in the animated movie, Frozen) proves to pay off, its roiling instrumentation anchored by a chorus of truly mammoth proportions. Question marks over integrity cannot diminish the what is a sing along anthem of the highest order (although, let’s nip any ideas of a ‘Disneycore’ craze in the bud, eh?).
The wealth of tempo changes and dynamic shifts will understandably blindside many at face value, yet given the time to digest ‘Phantom’ delivers an abundance of rewards, be it through searing violence or exuberant dramaticisms. Given their standing as live favourites, Betraying The Martyrs have staked their claim as crown worthy contenders with a record brimming with metallic delights.
Written by Tony Bliss