September 9, 2019 Betraying the Martyrs – Rapture (Album Review)
France: home to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, endless cultural institutions, and blistering Heavy Metal. To prove this, Metalcore sensation Betraying the Martyrs deliver Rapture on Friday, September 13th, 2019, via Sumerian Records.
Formed in 2008, the Paris-based Betraying the Martyrs are actually a European collective of motley musicians from France and the UK. Formulating an original blend of Extreme Metal with Progressive and Death Metal elements that intermingle symphonic Rock synthesizers, they released their self-produced, debut EP, The Hurt The Divine The Light, in 2009. Parlaying this success into a deal with Sumerian Records, the sextet went on to deliver their debut, full-length Breathe In Life in 2011. Two additional albums followed over the next eight years—2014’s Phantom and 2017’s epic The Resilient—as the band determinedly toured the world, sharing stages with the likes of Slipknot, Rammstein, Slayer, Anthrax, and many, many more.
For their fourth full-length, Betraying the Martyrs—Vocalist Aaron Matts, Keyboardist/Vocalist Victor Guillet, Guitarists Steeves Hostin and Baptiste Vigier, Bassist Valentin Hauser, and Drummer Boris Le Gal—went the self-production route. Fans will be happy to hear that the 11-song Rapture, while branching out to explore bigger and bolder soundscapes, stays true to the band’s love of pulverizing bass, splintering drums, melodic hooks, and deadly breakdowns.
Rapture opens to the ominously beautiful “Ignite,” which builds in tension as it segues into the proper first track, “Eternal Machine.” A dirgey explosion of Metal might with epic layers, this condemnation of our broken world of war and oil is bleak in its lyrical approach but catchy in its sound—perfect to get listeners pumped for the album that follows.
Pummeling verses lead into infectious choruses on “Down,” an anthem for the wolf pack and guaranteed to make fans lose their minds at live shows. Next, deliciously Gothic synths weave throughout the brutally black, cinematic core of “The Iron Gates,” which paves the way for the thrumming single/video “Parasite.”
Beautiful orchestration opens the sweeping “The Sound of Letting You Go,” which, dare it be said, couples ballad-esque moments with haunted howls to create an epic offering that allows all facets of Betraying the Martyrs’ personality to shine. From lofty melodies to the most evil growls on the record, the band craft a lush dichotomy that is an exceptional stand-out.
As if in reaction to showing their most melodic side, “The Swarm” detonates back into an assaultive experience with pummeling rhythms and brutal blast beats. This continues into the pulsating synths of the incendiary “Monster” before introducing “Imagine,” one of the album’s catchiest and most uplifting offerings.
Winding to a close, Guillet provides even more exquisite synth-work to dance throughout the core of the fierce “Incarcerated.” Setting a tone, they ultimately end with the album’s namesake offering, “Rapture.” Here, narrative, demonic vocals and blast beats couple together with symphonic, cinematic keys to wrap up their fourth release with a blazing red bow.
Rapture allows Betraying the Martyrs to branch out and explore new sound profiles, though they always keep it ferociously heavy. With to die for synths and piano delivering endless melodies from Guillet, and his bandmates firing on all cylinders with their unstoppable Metal attack, the album continues the contrast of beauty and brutality that we know and love from this talented band. Together, the yin and yang of Rapture author an enchanting musical journey that deliciously balances the darkness and the light. For this, Cryptic Rock give Betraying the Martyrs’ Rapture 4.5 of 5 stars.