1/24/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Betrayer - Rusted Icons 2001 Indy Release --EC
I'll be perfectly honest here. Betrayer are probably a better live band than they are on album. After playing their only release, "Rusted Icons", anyone with a brain will realize that the band is being held down because of the production. That isn't to say "Rusted Icons" is a bad album, but it has some serious production problems which is to be expected from an indy metal band with no label support. It is perfectly clear that the band have a tremendous amount of talent on display here, but with this type of production quality I really don't know how many times I'll be pulling this off the wall. Certainly one can argue that the band do exactly what they wanted to, creating a perfect blend of influences ranging from Megadeth to Van Halen to Megadeth to Scorpions. I appreciate all of those factors and I believe Betrayer are really on the right pace here. If they could get on an indy label it would probably help them achieve a moderate amount of success and open some more doors globally for them. Century Media or Metal Blade could take this band and run with it. Unfortunately in today's metal world Betrayer aren't yo-yo'ing it enough to fit into commercial radio. Nonetheless "Rusted Icons" is a good, fresh start for a band that shows me a whole lot of talent and skill.
Fans of early to mid-era Megadeth and Metallica should enjoy this metal romp. Bill Lozon and Jeff Klingbeil link up for some fast and furious riff combos including some breathtaking leads thrown in all over the place. Norm Michaud does a great job on his bass lines backed by Shawn Beastien on the skins. My biggest beef on this album is the production obviously and I think the biggest effect this bad production has is very shallow and hollow vocals. Klingbeil's vocals just come off way back in the mix. I like his voice and think is strong enough for this album, but this mix really holds him back. But enough of the negative, let's talk about some positives.
Betrayer are extremely tight and precise on every minute of this album. I can hear the obvious "traditional" influences but I also hear some modern day tendencies as well. "Descendants Of Death" has a catchy Iced Earth vibe running through it, especially with the haunting intro. The track moves through some mid-80s thrash with plenty of double bass and mid-tempo riffage. The same could be said for the Megadeth styling of "Tribulation" and the foot stomper "Waiting". But the band isn't always about break neck thrash pieces. The title track could have been lifted off of 'Crue's "Shout At The Devil", with plenty of hard rock gang vocals and a great hook throughout. Favorite cuts for me are "Descendants Of Death", "Fire To The Coals", and "Rusted Icons".
This is the band's debut and I think things will only improve from this point. Betrayer have displayed a great metal outlook and have crafted some fine passages. The group are working on a brand new EP now called "Shadowed Force" and I think you will see the band take the next logical step and shore up their studio performance and tweak the technical aspects of their sound. I'd love to see this band live to see how they compare to the studio work. In the meantime I'll take what I can get and look forward to the future.
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