Label: Thrashback Records
Date: January 22nd, 2021
This isn’t what I signed up for when I took on a Chilean thrash metal band to review. When I think of Chilean, or South American in general for that matter, extreme metal I think of raw, primitive, filthy metal. Not that I’m not aware that there are acts down there with other stuff on their minds, but one has to admit the most respectable (underground) hordes coming from there are going along those lines. To a point where you can easily tell their country of origin within the first couple of minutes.
Not Betrayed, however. One thing that might be taken as “raw” is their actual name. Sure enough, it is short, catchy and easy to remember. But it is also quite common. Anyway…
Betrayed is an old name, spawned back in 1988, but with a long break in their activity, as it is usually the case with bands from the 1980’s that failed to make it through to the big league. They’ve come to release a full length in 1990 before disbanding and reforming fifteen years later. Since the reformation, they’ve come to release two EP’s. “The Unbeliever” is actually the title of the second one and it was recycled into the title for the compilation I’m listening to as I write these lines.
This release can easily be construed as a “best of”. If not, it is certainly a cross-section of the band’s creative effort from the early days to the present. There are songs from the latest two EP’s as well as the re-recorded tracks from the debut album. Considering their previous release is already three years old, “The Unbeliever” is likely a way to split the time before the new one comes out. And gain some momentum with introducing potential fans to what Betrayed is all about.
Whatever the case may be, the musical direction of this Chilean quintet is quite clear. They are performing thrash metal. Nothing more to add. This is as pure as it can be. For comparisons I will use Exodus, “Tempo of the Damned” and onward stage of their career. Especially when it comes to use of guitars, vocals and that powerful sound production. Perhaps adding a bit of Testament to the mix. Also of their more recent outputs. But Exodus still remains a prime source of inspiration for the Chileans. Mimicking the style of the famous Americans is the name of the game. I highly doubt Betrayed even has a desire to come up with their own soundscape.
Now, this can be a bad sign when you can connect a band to a more famous one so easily and precisely. Still, if the band is able to show enough of a creative force to step onto the trodden path, it can be quite refreshing. In case of Betrayed, the verdict lays somewhere in the middle. There certainly isn’t enough of fresh ideas to form a spectacular release that spans almost a full hour. On the other hand, there are a couple of quite moving tracks on “The Unbeliever”. Take “Looters Will Be Shot”, for instance. A hit song, no questions asked. Even Exodus would be proud to have it on one of their releases. There are a couple more, for sure, but there are even more “fillers” here that could’ve easily been discarded to provide the release with a stronger punch.
However, I cannot say I haven’t enjoyed the compilation. Considering Exodus as one of my all-time favorites, there was no reason for me not to enjoy it. I wanted more, definitely, but I’ll take it as I can. A decent attempt, when all is said and done. Go Betrayed!