On a seemingly average Wednesday night sandwiched between East LA and Downtown, Betraying the Martyrs performed their very first headlining show at Club 1720 making it a memorable and much above average evening for all in attendance. To set the stage for the main event, there were quite a number of openers who kicked the night off on the right foot – Entheos and Within Destruction alongside Sentinels, Defying Decay and Outside the Living & Nebulium. With a total of five bands opening for Betraying the Martyrs, fans were in for a long, but epic night of metal.
One of the applaud-worthy bands was Entheos, an American metal group. Each member is the spawn of another metal group (such as Animosity, Animals as Leaders, The Faceless, and Continuum). While the band was holistic in its performance, they also exuded a sense of diversity, contributing their individual experiences in the industry to one slamming show.
Despite also being a long way from home, Slovenia (north of Croatia and east of Venice, Italy), Within Destruction seemed to be right in their element. With unique influences of slams, breakdowns, and pig squeals, their sound definitely stood out.
With the crowd now revved up for the headliners, Betraying the Martyrs assaulted the stage and dialed up the noise, the energy, and most importantly, the music. Although 5,600 miles from home–Paris, France–Betraying the Martyrs were welcomed by this LA crowd as they played their emerging hits. The opening number, The Great Disillusion immediately kicked the energy into gear while lead singer Aaron Matts sung about the misinformation fed to the country’s people. As the show went on, it was clear that as entertaining and lively as their music is, they also know how to bring to light tough topics such as instability in our governments and terrorism shootings in Paris. It’s an admirable skill to be able to convey world events and politics through the universal portal of music.
While Matts’ vocals were certainly a shining point of the performance, lead guitarist Steeves Hostin and rhythm guitarist Baptiste Vigier pounded out licks like men on a mission. Their melodies weaved in and out of one another, or sometimes against each other, really framing the lyrics of each song. Then there was keyboardist and backup singer Victor Guillet, a surprising twist to see a keyboardist in a death metal band, but after witnessing his talents, one might question why more metal bands don’t have a keyboard player. Bass player Valentin Hauser kept a strong beat going that added a sense of cohesiveness and drummer Boris La Gal never let down his guard as he continued the up tempo and energy of the set.
As they played their newest album, The Resilient, every pair of eyes in the club was dead set on the music. Considering how far the LA is from the band’s home, it was truly heartwarming to see and feel the devotion in Club 1720 that Wednesday night. It proves music really can connect all across the world. Betraying the Martyrs closed the night with Eternal Machine. Comparing war as fuel for the “machine,“ Matts sang on and encouraged onlookers to “Stop this train, let’s derail the monster.” The crowd inevitably left with feelings of enlightenment and courage – and so did the band. Guilllet himself shared how far they’ve come from their early days as a Christian rock band.
Unfortunately, Betraying the Martyrs’ headlining tour has come to an abrupt ending after their van caught fire with all of their equipment inside. While they lost their equipment, many personal effects, and means of transportation, Betraying the Martyrs did not lose their talent or their commitment to bringing their brand of metal to the masses. They will look back at this one day as a minor speed bump in their career, because there is no doubt they’ll be back on the road in no time.
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