Album Review: Betraying The Martyrs - The Resilient

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Betraying the Martyrs have not come out with new music for three long years, and as I’m sure you know, when you’re a fan of something, you feel every minute of that wait. However, this wasn’t the case for me, as I’ve always had a somewhat turbulent relationship with metalcore bands. I’ve never dove headfirst, I’ve always kind of tentatively dipped my toe and occasionally found something I liked. Probably the heaviest band I listened to at any given moment was Of Mice & Men (and even then, it was only after they brought in Aaron Pauley). So, before I listened to this album, I was a little apprehensive about what to expect. To my complete bewilderment, this album was one that I was pleasantly surprised by. 
The opening track, “Lost for Words”, has an immediate heavy riff that is only ever associated with heavy metal—it’s operatic and slightly unnerving. The combination of the two vocalists’ voices blend together beautifully and soar—along with the melancholy theme of not wanting to be forgotten or replaced, it’s haunting and tragic and ironically a pretty great way to start off the album. The following track, “Take Me Back” however, in the beginning sounds like a completely different, much softer song, with a slow piano and echoing vocals yearning for a better time when they were younger. One of the things that you’ll be quick to pick up on throughout the album is that nearly all of the songs are either four minutes or above, which is by no means a criticism as it gives the band a chance to compose soaring guitars and angry riffs without being necessarily weighed down by the thought that a song has to be three minutes long. Anyway, I went off on a quick tangent, the screaming vocals somehow fit the softer beginning of the song perfectly; and the cuts between screaming and singing make for powerful imagery if this song ever has a music video made (“take me back to before it all went wrong.”)

The following song, “The Great Disillusion”, has a wonderful slow build with a slower guitar before the breakdown hits. One of the more notable things about this album is that certain lyrics tend to jump out at you, “how can I make up for all of this lost time?” it’s a terribly saddening idea; the question itself being so haunting and daunting that it instantly strikes a chord with us (pun not intended) about the fears we all have of being left behind whilst everyone moves on without us. However, despite the aggressive vocal style for this band and the loud, angry instrumentals; the album still has a somewhat comforting feel to it in its lyrical content and themes, some of the aggression is sanded away to reveal insecurities and doubts. 

Moving onto the namesake of this album, “The Resilient”. The drums here make me think of ‘The Terminator’ theme, or at the very least something you would hear at the climax of a movie, when the bad guy is finally about to be defeated and our heroes will be able to live happily ever after. Nearly all of the songs on the album have an almost orchestral feel to them, and as such, they feel big and dramatic and every line and note drips with the importance of taking a stand. In fact, the whole album is littered with imagery like this (“they try to break us down”). It brings forward a sense of unity. They switch incredibly quickly between calm instrumentals and heavy, insistent riffs and bass; giving the songs a very different tonal feel, but making it work and making it sound like the most natural thing on the planet. 

Skipping forward to “We Won’t Back Down”, you’ll find that it starts off with a slow, ominous piano, adding to the dramatic battle like flair that runs throughout the album. This song leads on beautifully from the preceding track “Unregistered”, about how there’s bridges we need to cross but are being destroyed before we even have a chance. This song sounds like an anthem, an angry, juicy anthem about never giving up. 

"(Dis)Connected" is possibly my favourite track on the album, and it ties up nicely what I was saying earlier about certain lyrics jumping out at you the first time that you listen to this album: (“who are you/do you feel alive?”). Perhaps my favourite thing about this track is the thematic relevance about how connected we all are with social media, yet we still aren’t really talking with one another. Despite the heavy bass and guitar, there’s a certain note of desperation in this song that perhaps wasn’t there in the rest of the album. 

To sum up though: though the screaming vocal style didn’t appeal to me personally, I can understand the appeal that it holds for other people. However, despite that, I didn’t dislike this album. There was some wonderful imagery and themes; which I agreed with or found relevant to my own experiences, but in terms of musical composition I’m not sure it was something that really clicked with me. However, that being said, some songs I enjoyed quite a bit and the whole album has an urgency to it about how important it is to stick together on important issues. In terms of themes, one of my favourite things about this album was the sense of mystery as to who the oppressor is, as they’re always referred to as ‘they’. As a matter of fact, this album has a very strong ‘screw you’ vibe, but never towards the listener, but towards anyone that has ever put the band (or us) down and there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to prove someone like that wrong by rising up from the ashes like a phoenix.

Written by Asya Kardzhaliyska 
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