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Betrayed – The Unbeliever

Betrayed
The Unbeliever
by Max Elias at 30 January 2021, 11:57 PM

BETRAYED are a Chilean thrash band that have been around for 30 years, with not too much output to show for it. This latest release from them is a compilation drawn from what they have recorded—it contains material from their catalog of one album, two EPs, and a demo. It’s called The Unbeliever, which is slightly confusing because that’s also the name of one of their past EPs. It seems like pretty standard thrash metal, with the kind of straight-ahead moshing riffs typical of other Latin American thrash bands like VIOLATOR. The vocalist mostly occupies a high register similar to the vocalist from NUCLEAR ASSAULT, occasionally sinking into a rumble on songs like “Panic Attack”.

I have a suspicion that BETRAYED are the Chilean equivalent of John Schaffer. With song titles like “Looters Will Be Shot”—which is incidentally something Trump actually tweeted—and “Constitution (Of The Oppressors)”, it is a logical association to make. It’s possible that their music just aged really badly when viewed in the context of recent events, however. Whatever the case, the riffs on “Looters Will Be Shot” are actually pretty tasty, and the solo is excellent. They really wear their love of the 80s proudly with the pyrotechnic yet musical sensibility of their lead guitars.

This is also excellent music to get adrenaline pumping through you; the passion of the vocals on songs like “Constitution (Of The Oppressors)” really lights a fire under listeners, and the constant staccato pauses accelerate the aggression. Once again, the most impactful moment is the rather long guitar solo, which conjures images of classic shred-dominated gigs at stadiums full of adoring fans. The marching urgency of “Our Option” sets anyone moshing. It builds perfectly towards an all-out sonic battering ram. “The First Desillusion” is a mass of rolling, pounding, and stomping drums that propel forward a band out for blood. Yet despite the intensity that could be compared to early KREATOR (especially the dive-bomb happy leads), the vocalist is always on the clearer side of thrash vocals. “The Message” throws some really cool guitar harmony lines and fills into the riffing, which hammer even harder thanks to the insistent throbbing of the intro and its repeated cries of ‘Listen!’.

The biggest surprise on this compilation has to be “Human Madness”. I like it a lot—I’m actually a huge fan of it, come to think of it—but it doesn’t sound like the same band. It’s a lot more melodic and proggy at least in the beginning, with arpeggios and wistful bends galore. It is an instrumental, which accounts for some of the weirdness, but the writing is spacier and at times bluesier than I’d expect from such a thrashing band. “Human Madness” shows a lot of versatility and musicianship; obviously there is a lot to be said about the guitars again, but the drumming is equally masterful and there is a minute long solo devoted to proving just how masterful. The deft percussion work continues on the intro to “1879”, which plays out like someone narrating an eBook, but as if the words were lyrics, and with drumming on top.

I think the band must have saved their most melodic work for the latter part of The Unbeliever. The intro riff of “The Real Me” is definitely more melodic, albeit in a slightly dissonant way. It’s a bit jagged and oddly phrased, like something on a REVOCATION record. The album closes in a straightforward thrashy way with “Betrayed”, which never eases up on the thundering snare hits and rage-soaked barking vocals. The riffing is typical thrash brutality, and this time around the solo is almost entirely whammy bar and pinch harmonic shenanigans. The atmosphere they have created is one of pure chaos, from which there is no escape.

This being a compilation, it is a good place to start for those looking to discover BETRAYED’s music, or for anyone unfamiliar with the name. It is also hopefully a sign that the band intends to continue releasing material in the future, as there were a lot of good songs on here and there is definitely enough talent between the band members to warrant faith in future material being great.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Musicianship: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. The Unbeliever
  2. Panic Attack
  3. Looters Will Be Shot
  4. Constitution (Of The Oppressors)
  5. Our Option
  6. Fight For Your Land
  7. The First Desillusion
  8. The Message
  9. Human Madness
  10. 1879
  11. The Real Me
  12. Betrayed
Lineup:
Claudio Tapia – Drums
JL Olmos – Guitars
Mauricio Castro – Guitars
Erik Flores – Vocals
Jacob Wilschrey – Bass
Record Label: Thrashback Records
     


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