BETRAYER - Calamity (MORBID NOIZZ 1995)
It’s difficult to be fully objective towards albums, which you’ve been knowing since twenty years and were always so highly estimated by you. But damn, even though I know every single riff and arrangement on albums like “Calamity”, they still don’t bore me, what only confirms me that they’re timeless, excellent pieces of music and I don’t need to be afraid that I will sound pathetic and pompous, when praising them more than some other people would. Why would I care anyway? In case of “Calamity” I can really say that I love this album and along with “Thor”, “Invisible Circle” and “The Ultimate Incantation” / “De Profundis”, this is my favourite Polish death metal album of all time. I don’t accept any questioning of it; my opinion is what it is, if you don’t agree then piss off.
The album begins with “After Death” and damn, this is the best representative of this material, this song is an absolute crusher and has everything I love about death metal: utterly fast, furious parts, some heavy slow bits and small dose of melody – all generating dark, evil, sinister atmosphere. Oh, this track is for me among the best death tunes I’ve ever heard and in my opinion it’s just as good as Vader’s “Dark Age” for example. But there’s more about “Calamity” than just one track and generally this is a really solid, fierce and quality album, with many quite memorable and crushing songs. I guess a lot of people use to compare Betrayer to Vader – and maybe there are some similarities, but I would not exaggerate much about it. More so, one can probably find some resemblances to Morbid Angel (they even have song titled “Maze of Torment… tfu, I mean “Maze of Suffering” haha) and I don’t only mean (some) riffs or the aura of the music, but also some vocals from Berial, whose voice is truly powerful and angry! Love it.
Later on “In Sacrifice” stands above, for being among the most fierce songs here, sometimes it even reminds me good old Sinister – which is another important band, that I can compare Betrayer to. But I like that Betrayer feels so comfortable and great in both fast and slow, crushing heavy death metal as such “From Beyond the Graves” is simply fantastic and this is actually my second favourite tune here. I also need to mention “Before Long You Will Die”, as this is some weird and sick shit, not the usual blasting death metal, but an experimental song, which has really weird feeling, with one distorted, repetitive motif and some possessed vocals. Simple but awesome. The whole album, when compared to the previous demo, surely sounds cleaner and more powerful, the production is not so harsh anymore and musically it’s also less obscure and with not so obvious thrash / death fierce influence.
But the whole “Calamity” has this awesome old school charm and feeling, which later a lot of death metal bands have lost for years. And I am happy that it grew old very well, it’s a vintage stuff, but still able to crush with every sound and still have that powerful, fierce strength, so this is why I easily call “Calamity” a classic album. Yes, I love it. It’s now twenty years, since I bought it on cassette (and I remember that first time I heard some songs from it was in the metal radio show, here in Poland… I was blown away!), I have the CD now, but I really wish to see it on vinyl once!
Standout tracks: “After Death”, “From Beyond the Graves”, “In Sacrifice”
Final rate: 90/100