Betrayal – Disorder Remains Review

You might not necessarily think it based on how often I laud cheese-wielding power metal enthusiasts, but every once in a while, I enjoy diving into the catalogue of bands whose primary function seems to be inducing catastrophic rage into the listener, taking them down an inescapable path of unfathomable destruction. It was in hope of this particular catharsis that I began listening to Disorder Remains, the sophomore release from German death metal band Betrayal. With a name like that and cover art like that, I felt reasonably confident that I was at least in the vicinity of the music I sought – so away I went, ready and waiting for chaos, disorder, and whatnot.

After a one-minute introduction, the album kicks off in earnest with “Rise,” introducing the listener to the core of the album’s sound: mid-tempo riffs, gargled screams, the occasional guitar lead, and remarkably varied drum patterns that shift around consistently enough to keep things interesting. Rather than listing off a bunch of tracks that further showcase this, however, I’m going to skip right to the album’s peak, the six-minute title track, which has a little bit of everything: gloom, anger, a memorable chorus, a cool solo, and a catchy, hook-filled structure. It follows up immediately with “Chaos Reigns,” which is essentially an acoustic version of the same song, shortened to two minutes, which shouldn’t work, but winds up being a really cool thematic link. This track is Betrayal at the peak of their game, and sets a very strong argument for Disorder Remains as an album worth paying attention to.

Despite being formed of twelve tracks that span forty-nine minutes, however, Disorder Remains doesn’t feel like a very nuanced record. Apart from the intro track (“Intro”), which is entirely orchestral – and certainly sets unrealistic expectations for the record  – and the aforementioned duo of “Disorder Remains” and “Chaos Reigns,” Betrayal tends to stick to a fairly straightforward formula throughout this album, preferring shorter songs that stick to one main idea, used in the songs’ intros and in their choruses, and juggle around a couple of forgettable riffs to serve as verse, breakdown, and interlude. “Ghost of Mind” has one of the album’s few guitar solos, and even that little slice of extra spontaneity makes a noticeable difference in the flow of the song and its memorability. For the most part, I don’t see Disorder Remains as having a whole lot of memorability, and while it’s enjoyable in the moment, I’m finding I struggle to recall specific songs and ideas even as I write these words.

The other thing that I feel Betrayal is missing in their Disorder Remains formula is aggression, and this is something I think could have been avoided in the album’s production. Certainly the band has a fair amount going for them here – the screams are menacing enough, the album is very guitar-heavy, and the bass is downright grimy, but the whole has such an intense polish to it that I’m more inclined to nod my head rhythmically than absorb the blast beat drumming into my soul and destroy that which surrounds me. A little too often throughout the record, I find myself anticipating an explosion of monotone clean singing that I would otherwise associate with mediocre metalcore groups (it never comes – it’s more to do with the feel of the music). The aforementioned bass is largely buried in the mix, the screaming largely sticks to one style, and the whole feel more like a study on what death metal should look like than what it should sound like.

The end result of all this analysis is that I feel Betrayal has created an album of interesting ideas and poor execution; I think it needs at least one of more nuance, less polish, and perhaps more spontaneity than it currently has. I won’t discount the possibility that I’m overthinking an album that I’m simply not very excited by, but when I think about death metal, I tend to think that at least one of those qualities is a must, at least for my tastes. There’s no question that Betrayal has good talent and good ideas, but something went wrong on the path to making those ideas reality, and while I will be keeping an eye out for more Betrayal, I will not be coming back to Disorder Remains.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Rising Nemesis Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 16th, 2021

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