In our review of their sophomore album, Phantom, we stated that Betraying The Martyrs are grossly underrated. In support of that album, the Parisian metalcore outfit stop off at The Joiners in Southampton, one of the UK’s most respected and cherished independent venues. There is no denying that it is small, though, and it is impossible not to notice the lack of bodies in the room as the supporting trio of Upon This Dawning, More Than A Thousand, and Polar come, play, and go. So, if Betraying The Martyrs were to prove their worth to this evening’s intimate crowd, they would prove us right in the process.
They are not getting off to the best of starts, however. The intricate pieces of opener ‘Jigsaw’ are not slotting together, and they sound muffled, disjointed, and some of the sections are barely recognisable. Vocalist, Aaron Matts, initially fails to reproduce his signature ferocity, and Victor Guillet’s cleans are not as harmonic as hoped.
But it is remarkable what a few hundred tweaks on the sound deck can do. Once the levels are right, everything tightens up. Echoes from ‘Where The World Ends‘ are sharp, dark, and apocalyptic, and the inclusion of Frozen‘s ‘Let It Go‘ is as brutal as it is comical. Chugging along to the interlude, ‘Liberate Me Ex Inferis‘, and ploughing straight into ‘Martyrs‘ gets the crowd spinning, and the heart-warming tribute to the late Mitch Lucker through ‘Legends Never Die‘ leaves a lump in many throats.
Betraying The Martyrs have not been at their best tonight, even during the final notes of ‘Because Of You‘. Relentless touring has taken it out of them, and they needed a couple of songs to get going. Intimate venues can breed electric atmospheres, but they are unforgiving and exposing. Betraying The Martyrs are still grossly underrated, though.