Betrayal is a four-piece band out of the San Fernando Valley, who has been buzzed about in the metalcore scene since 2008. After the release of their EP, The People’s Fallacy, the band toured continuously, building a dedicated fan base. Abandonment is the first full length and second release for the band via Mediaskare Records. I always love a little bit of metalcore, as it is always dependable when you need a sudden burst of energy or just want to listen to a little bit of a riff fest with ever-present down tuning. For me, the main criteria for a solid release in this genre focuses on the overall intensity of the tracks and the ability to differentiate between songs. There is nothing worse than listening to an album with twelve tracks and only being able to hear three track changes.
This album definitely has the intensity that is necessary for a metalcore release. Between the chugging guitars, nifty riff work, and guttural growls there is never a dull moment. Abandonment is definitely an album that will pump you up enough to make you want to choke slam a baby giraffe (a bit abstract but it gets the point across). With tracks such as “Abandonment” and “Human Nature” just ripping into you relentlessly, fans of the genre should be pleased. In addition, fans of the EP should appreciate the maturation of the band as a whole. The vocals are more varied, the music is harder, and the production is significantly more polished. In regards to the track variation, Betrayal does a good job changing little things in order to vary the music. Whether it is a slow buildup or an interesting cymbal intro, there is enough to keep the listener engaged.
As far as lyrics are concerned, the album focuses on the struggle of dealing with others’ judgments and taking pride in one’s ability to make their own decisions. This is clearly evident in the track “Without a Doubt,” where Brendan Foley screams, “To those who cast doubt upon me, my life, my choice, my fate’s on me/I can’t be your sight when you fail to see/Never falling down, always on my feet/To those who cast doubt upon me, my life, my choice, my fate’s on me/Get off my back, I’m trying to breathe/I’m not living for you, I only live for me.” While these may not be the most inspirational lyrics ever written, they are well-crafted for the genre. Furthermore, considering that the band consists of members between the ages of nineteen and twenty it is even more impressive. One downfall lyrically is on the track “The Good Die Young.” It features gang vocals chanting, “I’ve always heard that the good die young/With this heart of gold I have no fear.” My only gripe with this, is that it is too similar to Four Year Strong’s “Maniac (R.O.D).”
All in all, this is a solid release from a band with a great deal of potential. Any fan of the genre or previous listeners will not be disappointed. If you are looking for a new metalcore act, then I would suggest giving this a spin as it is a definite bright spot in a genre that produces so many “me too” bands. With continuous touring and a spot on the New England Metal and Hardcore Fest, it will be interesting to see where Betrayal ends up.