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Promising Development... - 83%

Byrgan, May 4th, 2008

Fast paced media—whether it be books, cinema or presented here: music—can often fall into a no-brainer category. For one, it causes you to constantly be on your toes and alert (Although, it smoothly 'guides' the thinking processes). Only when you replay or re-read, will you notice underlying qualities. Sometimes it gets progressively worse, or you'll notice cliches later, that at the time you just wanted to get 'entertained', and might not of noticed it, because everything comes flying at your brain in 5 different carefully calculated directions. However, it is possible to achieve an entertaining, fly-by-art, that changes into something different upon each successive experience. When I listen to Betrayer's demo it does get better because it has underlying stable qualities. For an incipient release they almost over-achieved what they could of minimally done and still put out a decent recording.

These Polish death metallers put out their Necronomical Exmortis demo in 1992. This is after early 90's death metal was already flowing and establishing and in some cases thrash metal influences of the 80's were being passed over for low-tuned and deeper aesthetics. Surprisingly, Betrayer, display these deafening qualities and can definitely be called death, however, for the year, defiantly dethrone other 'acts' with a tainted thrash mentality. The 'er' in Betrayer should of been a give away. They just can't turn those old boots loose!

It is a surprisingly well produced output. I half expected before listening to this, and coming from Poland in 92', to have sub par production qualities. But this demo sounds like it was mixed evenly in a studio. I almost look at it like a short debut offering. Not only because of the production, but all of the musicians sound pretty tight and even, especially on an early demo.

The music itself adopts mean, higher notes but doesn't come off as melodic, yet reminds me in this fashion of some Swedish bands around the early nineties. Where they still sound as vicious as mid-80's Slayer, and didn't go head first into thick, pure death metal. There are a decent amount of good riffs per song. As well as there is hardly a slower section, blazing away primarily with mid-paced and faster blast parts. The guitarist has a fair amount of solos throughout this release. About once per song, you'll here the lead guitarist displaying dive bomb solos, mixed with all-over-the-neck-insanity. His main style adds plenty of lower end tremolo picked riffs, mixed with a fair amount of palm mutes, and will hit a quick higher end chord or a few single string arrangement of notes. The production on his guitar has a prior 80's thrash metal quality to it—instead of a thicker toned sound—kind of a treble-like buzz sound. The bass guitar on the other hand is more mixed with the overall music. It can be heard more prominent when there is a start up riff, and hit at the same time as the drummer's cymbal clasps. The singer has a reverbed, clearer-than-some sounding growled voice, and pronounces the lyrics, instead of entirely slurring them. At points, there is a dual vocal effect and he hits a deeper and more nasally type of growl. The drumming is again quite tight for a demo recording. He plays well thought out fills throughout the recording. My only complaint is there is a mild sounding drum trigger only on his bass drum. However, it isn't daunted by a terrible clicking sound, just more prominent every now and again. They probably made this decision prior to recording, because the bass drum can become cut out and hard to hear once all of the other instruments get mixed together. A great feature of his drumming is the double bass sections, which are numerously played throughout the release, and mainly displays them during mid-paced sections.

This is a surprisingly well put together first demo. With an evened studio production and all of the musicians are together and tight. However, compared to the full length debut, I'm going to stick with this for many different reasons. For one, the production is heavy sounding here, and the debut sounds very sterile and tweaked. Betrayer is the only band I've heard by this Polish set of musicians. As well as two of the members seemed to have branched out after this. So it is possible that a few of the members stuck to the style of the demo. Because it appears that they broke up sometime after the full length Calamity was recorded.