Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Betraeus - Towards The Sun

Siege of Amida 2011

1.Towards The Sun 2.Frustrate Recluse 3.Blossom Into the Void
4.Obsolete (Live) 5.Locust (Live) 6. Towards The Sun (Edit)

As opener 'Towards The Sun' opens up it doesn’t take long to realise just how good Betraeus actually are. There’s a real maturity to their sound, heavy rhythm guitars providing the death metal element to the band’s sound while the lead guitars display the bands progressive element, the two styles immediately complementing each other perfectly from the outset. More of the progressive element is on show through the use of cleaner vocals all the while been backed up with the heavy, growled DM style vocal. Again, the mix of different styles working well. This opener does showcase both the afore mentioned styles, but in all fairness, the track shows off more of the bands DM side with splashes of progression being added to spice things up and add variety. However, the track then takes on an altogether different approach; gone are the heavy guitars and gnarly vocals in favour of an extremely melodic interlude, acoustic guitars and cleanly sung vocals leading the way. It’s not entirely unexpected to add these breaks and even less surprising is when the heavy elements return. However, it’s all extremely well played with no fear of being labelled generic. ‘Frustrate Recluse’ again mixes the death metal and more progressive edge to the band’s sound extremely well. This is where the track succeeds; there’s always enough of the heavy DM included to label the band as a death metal band. The progressive elements are there, but they tend to be used sparsely, but when used are mixed with the heavier elements to create a very unique sound which remains interesting.
‘Blossom Into The Void’ has a very ‘vintage’ feel, almost ‘olde world’ atmosphere to its beginning. This isn’t even progressive, but tending to sit into the ‘extremely melodic’ or ‘rock ballard’ area which is a stark contrast to the two previous tracks and ruins the atmosphere and ‘edge’ created previously. It’s not metal and probably isn’t even meant to be, but I do feel a band can overstep the mark when trying to add progressive elements into their sound. Unfortunately they haven’t even tried to incorporate it, they’ve just used the progressive / melodic sound for the whole track and dropped their DM elements completely which some may lap up, but is a step too far in extreme metal terms. The next two tracks, ‘Obsolete’ and ‘Locust’ are live tracks and were recorded at the bands 2010 Bloodstock performance. For a live recording the production is amazing, crystal clear, every element to the band’s sound on show. ‘Locust’ in particular a whirl of sweeping riffs, choppy time changes and there’s even some blast beats which work extremely well. There’s a more brutal approach being taken whilst incorporating the progressive edge which is a great mix. Probably an excellent live performance on the day judging by the two tracks offered up here! Closing the cd is an ‘edit’ of opening track ‘Towards The Sun’. It’s a great track, the DM elements really punching through, frantic double kicks backing up some great guitar work which leans towards the heavier end of the bands spectrum. Chris’ vocals are at their best here, mixing all his stlyes from clean sung, to harsh shouts and screams all the way through to guttural DM vocals. It all creates a great atmosphere. Apparently every member of the band are in their early twenties, yet already they show great maturity and it would be fair to say they’re a real gem in the UK Extreme metal underground. They manage to stay the right side of ‘extreme’ metal (bar the ‘blip’ that it is ‘Blossom Into The Void) through the predominant DM sound yet they will also appeal to those who do like some melody and progression to their metal. Rather than chopping from one style to the other then back again, the band manage to use the two in unison which is quite unique, clever and extremely entertaining. Comes highly recommended.

8 out of 10

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