Release DetailsLABEL Equal Vision
RELEASED ON 7/11/2006
posted on 8/2006 By:
Betrayed was a side project started by a couple guys from hardcore luminaries Champion and a couple guys from now defunct Carry On. It made sense to keep it that way given the geographic distance between LA and Seattle but with the demise of Champion, it looks like this band has turned into a full time thing. While I’ve never really been a big fan of Carry On, I’m a card carrying member of the Champion fan club so I’ve eagerly consumed all the material this band has put out to date. So far I’ve been pretty impressed but as sometimes happens with a band that shows promise on an EP or split, they just can’t sustain the magic for an entire full length.
The major problem I noticed was the somewhat schizophrenic songwriting. It seems like they’re being pulled in two directions on this album. One is the comfortable hardcore of their previous outfits a direction that no doubt pleases people that want this band to be Champion II and one is the more daring, exploratory post hardcore/rock direction. I can’t help but think it’s the two different factions of this band, separated by hundreds of miles, not quite gelling into a cohesive songwriting unit. Maybe they each write songs in their individual silos and throw them together under the Betrayed name but this leads to an uneven effort, especially because some of the more straight hardcore songs are fairly run of the mill, lacking the dynamic, melodic song structures that made Champion such a fun listen. In fact, had some of these been written by a band without this pedigree, they would have probably been ignored.
In contrast, the more mid-paced material here like “The City Lights” and “Bring It To Life” really shines through. These songs creep with a tense, post hardcore feel somewhat similar to Modern Life Is War if a bit more rock oriented. They also favor the memorable melodic lead work they showed on their debut EP and split with Champion, something that is missing in the more no frills hardcore songs that make up over half the bunch here. Consequently I found myself drawn in on the mid-paced material only to be put off the somewhat generic hardcore songs.
The other issue I had was the somewhat sterile production. Two of my favorite songs from the EP are rerecorded here, along with a couple from their last split, but are actually inferior versions. For some reason they choose to totally castrate the bold, bright lead guitar of the previous versions by relegating it to muted background status. The songs are still standouts on this record, just like they were the first time around, but lack the urgency and immediacy their predecessors captured so well. Maybe they wanted to give the songs a more old school vibe but when you play the different versions back to back the earlier ones are just a better listen.
This is a good start but shows a lot of unfulfilled promise. I feel like the further they move away from their Champion legacy and the more time these guys put into writing songs together the better this band will get. Maybe it won’t be the very next record but some time down the road this band will deliver something truly amazing, probably by fleshing out their mid-paced material. That’s of course if they last longer than Champion’s two EPs and one full length which is about the amount of material they’ve made so far.
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