Review: “Sacred Tongues” EP by Betrayer (US)

Recorded by Dunamis Dynamics Studios and then Mixed and Mastered by Sonic Assault Studios, Winchester West Virgina Downtempo Deathcore crew Betrayer have put together a six track EP entitled “Sacred Tongues” to introduce themselves to the World. They’ve actually been at the game since 2016 and it should also be mentioned that there is a track from 2017 entitled “Darkness Falls” and featuring guest vocals from Ben Mason of Bound in Fear that was slated to appear on this EP at the time that hasn’t made the cut. It’s been long in the works.

“Intro” is a dark atmosphere setter with an almost tribal chant of a whispered vocal and buried electronics designed to be eerie and unsettling before things get into “Locust”. Vocalist Ian S. uses both a brutal guttural deep tone and a higher pitch to create contrast in the opening salvo of pure hatred. The guitars drop out periodically to allow the bass line to bleed through in the mix while Kenny Williams powerhouse kit performance holds things together nicely, providing a solid framework. Eerie buried electronics creep out of the mix and give a haunting quality that may leave you questioning what you’ve just heard. EP title track “Sacred Tongues” features man of the moment CJ McCreery of Lorna Shore and of course formerly of Signs of the Swarm. Some blast beats out of the gate make for a faster start that slows in typically brutal downtempo fashion around the 2 minute mark, dropping gradually to crawl before punching back with a barrage of blast beats while the bassline rises and falls with a crushing heaviness.

The vocals are by far the heaviest thing about the Betrayer sound. The guitars dirge and crawl in their tone giving an almost Drone Metal quality in places while the bass sound is often prominent in the mix. “Hearing Voices” is one that continues in the vein of the sound with a creepy bass intro that brings in the vocals to get things going. The buried electronics add a haunting quality while the band deliberately play slow during parts you could imagine working well played faster. The skull crushingly heavy vocal tones wouldn’t work as well at a faster pace, they simply wouldn’t have the space to breathe. Released as a drum playthrough in the build-up to the EP dropping “Ill Wishes” features both Daniel Burris of Gamma Sector and Lucca Schmerler of Mental Cruelty. It pounds through a rise and fall of grooves with little nuances that come out of the mix with each listen and given how heavy this is, add a surprising amount of charm. The track sounds like pure evil. Like you opened the door to the gates of hell in your basement and this was the sound that came out, like the rumblings of a beast. “Embedded in Filth” is the longest track on the release by at least 90 seconds and benefits from some haunting lead tones that loop over the top of some crushing rhythmic riffage. When things pick-up around the 2 minute mark the band dive headlong into some groovier riffage and Death Metal inspirations before bringing it back home with that density they look to create. There is even a slower version of the “Arf, Arf” bark in the mix before a buried sample about murder plays through. The heaviest material we’ve reviewed? Yes! [7/10]

Track listing

1. Intro
2. Locust
3. Sacred Tongues (Ft. CJ McCreery of Lorna Shore, ex-Signs of the Swarm)
4. Hearing Voices
5. Ill Wishes (Ft. Daniel Burris of Gamma Sector and Lucca Schmerler of Mental Cruelty)
6. Embedded in Filth

“Sacred Tongues” by Betrayer is out now and available here.

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