Monday, November 8, 2010

Champion/Betrayed split 7"

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Alright, I agree that quoting from Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" is a little fucking dramatic for a record collecting blog, but hey, bear with me for a minute.

I remember back in 2005/2006 when word was coming down on this split and just how excited I was that two of my favorite bands would be releasing a record together. These were two high profile hardcore bands enjoying yet another resurgence of straight edge popularity. They were both coming off monster releases as well with the Addiction ep and Promises Kept.

As cool as this was, I questioned at the time how Kyle from Rivalry could pull this off. For the most part, splits have a pecking order. There is a definite "bigger", more popular band that people buy the record for, and they end up named first and on Side A.
I know this sounds insensitive, but I don't know anyone who bought the Unbroken/Abhinanda split for Abhinanda - except maybe their friends and parents.
Anyways, what I am getting at is that to me this was a dead heat. What band would take the "backseat" as it were?

In the end it mustn't have that big of a problem. Aram Arslanian was the guitarist for Champion and lead singer for Betrayed. You had one guy involved with both bands who could help coordinate the band efforts. Kyle Whitlow was friends with everyone in both bands. Everyone was on the west coast. The people and pieces were there to make it happen, and it did.

However, the timing of this record had a much more profound effect on a personal level for all those involved, especially Aram.

This record can be seen as a crossroads for both bands. It was ultimately the inevitable end of one band and the meteoric rise of another with one guy caught in the middle.

I asked Aram his thoughts on this and this is what he had to say,

"This was a time in my life that was filled with both excitement and sadness. I think I knew deep down that Champion was coming to an end, and that band had been such a huge part of my life that I was sad to see it pass. But, Betrayed was such a great new chapter and it was really amazing to be in a band with someone as talented as Todd Jones. This record definitely represented the changing of the leaves for many of us, and I'm glad to say that all these years later we all remain the best of friends."

It's rare that a record can capture a snapshot in time so naturally and organically. This wasn't a designed farewell or a coming out party. In hindsight, it just kind of turned out that way.

Enough of me waxing poetically, let's get to the vinyl.

1st press. Red/Orange split out of 135. This was available at the 2006 Rivalry Showcase as the record release and was only available from Champion. Yeah, now bands had their own exclusive colors to sell.

1st press Brown/Orange swirl out of 135. This was also available at the 2006 Rivalry Showcase as the record release and was only available from Betrayed.

Up until this point, if you had a computer and kept your eyes open, you could jump on pre-orders to get the rarer colors. Then you could go through retail or distros to get the standard color. The rules were easy.
This was the first time I had ever seen this kind of wrinkle and it changed the collecting game for me once again. You better know someone who can pick one up for you, know someone in the band or with the label or just get used to ebay and having a smaller bank account.

1st press. Red with Orange splatter out of 320. This was the pre-order color only available through Rivalry.

1st press. Clear vinyl out of 980.

There were a total of 1570 pressed for the first run. That would be more than enough for most hardcore releases. Yeah, not so much.

2nd press. Clear out of 1325. Same color as the standard first press color. taking cues from Bridge Nine, a "II" was placed on the b side label to distinguish between the pressings.

2nd press. Clear out of 200. This was the Betrayed last shows version that used the second press clear vinyl. 200 covers were printed for the final two shows in California. As meteoric as their rise was, the fall was twice as fast as the band broke up while this record was still in print. Sad times.

The covers were stamped and machined numbered as well.

As we all know now, Betrayed are back and as good as they ever were with their new Suffering 7" out on React! Records. I'm sure you all have it already. Right?


  1. I got the ultra limited "cracked in half" version of the red with orange splatter first press.

  2. Really good post. Really well written. Cool that you included a quote from Aram too.

  3. Thanks Marcus! I had an idea of what I wanted to write and the direction I wanted to take, but I had to make sure I wasn't talking out of my ass. I checked with Aram to make sure I was on the right track and he gave me the quote. I just cut and paste. Solid!