North Jersey Notes: Betrayus, Sayreville, NJ

A great new and young band has come to my attention through the band’s guitarist Steve Quakenbush who sent me an email asking me to check them out. The name of the band is Betrayus out of Sayreville, NJ, and upon receiving the email, I quickly listened to a few hard and heavy tracks like “Faceless,” “What Do You Fear,” and the mellowed out “While Dreaming (Sometimes),” off of the band’s debut CD, Shedding Skin. The music and song arrangements are simply metal masterpieces. Vocally, I felt that singer Aaron Smith really didn’t have a strong voice, but the longer he plays with Betrayus, the stronger his pipes will get. I have to say, also, that before I even looked at a picture of the band, Aaron’s voice really reminded me of Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust, especially on “While Dreaming.” Then, when I looked at the band pic, Aaron looked like a taller version of Lajon! Being a fan of Sevendust, this band kept sounding better and better!

Betrayus formed in Sayreville, NJ, about a year-and-a-half ago when guitarist Steve Quakenbush, who was in a cover band at the time, and drummer Chris Marvel started jamming when the two had some free time. As their jam sessions became more serious, they decided to start Betrayus and held auditions for a bassist, a rhythm guitarist, and a singer. They found a bassist in John “O’Toole” Yanvery, who was actually the former drummer for the metal and industrial band, Methodical. Steve and Chris then hired rhythm guitarist Paul Grebelny, who was a rookie to the scene claiming Betrayus as the first band he ever played with. The final piece of the puzzle, singer Aaron Smith, joined the band in November of 2008. Aaron was no stranger to the scene as he fronted such bands as Annie’s Grave and Cause Without Reason.

Betrayus spent the past year honing in on their skills and played as many shows as possible. They recently finished recording their debut EP, Shedding Skin, at Billy Graziadei’s Underground Sound Studios in South Amboy, NJ, with the Biohazard/Suicide City legend. These guys are a must see live! They’ve already played some pretty big shows at places like Starland Ballroom and Dingbatz in NJ and the Sherman Theater in Easton, PA. Catch Betrayus live or at least give them a listen at

North Jersey Notes Updates

The boys from Cover Her Face, out of East Rutherford, NJ, have a new CD out called Variations On A Scream. They’ve posted new songs like “Obscurity Was His Badge,” “To A Burdened Son,” “A Genius At Brink,” and a great rendition of the Misfits classic “Dig Up Her Bones” on their MySpace page, The tracks were recorded at their own rehearsal studio, Factory Studios in Carlstadt, NJ, and it’s the first songs that they’ve recorded as a five-piece with their new lead guitarist, Frank Cimillo. To check out Cover Her Face, log onto

My bros from Murder League All-Stars have their song “Dimes” blowing up at the clubs in the Philippines, which is an amazing feat for a local Jersey band. I recently talked to guitarist Tim McMurtrie and he told me that he is just way too excited about this project. He also told me that big things are on the horizon for Murder League All-Stars. Give their song “Dimes” a listen right now at

And finally, I know that I said “no cover bands,” but this is just too cool! I just got an email from Hades guitarist Dan Lorenzo letting me know that his cover band with singer Alan Tecchio, T. Coombs, along with Talking Metal hosts Mark Strigl and John Ostronomy, otherwise known as Screaming Metal, has some very cool video footage up on YouTube from their last show back in March at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. Why are the videos so cool? That’s because they feature Overkill drummer Ron Lipnicki on Kiss’s “Hotter Than Hell,” Halford and Sebastian Bach guitarist “Metal” Mike Chlasiak on Metallica’s “Seek And Destroy,” and Dropbox and Saint Caine singer John Kosco and Danzig bassist Steve Zing on the Danzig classic “Twist Of Cain.” Unfortunately, you’ll have to do a YouTube search for these videos because the links that Dan sent me would take up half of this column, but you will enjoy them when you find them! So, check them out!

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next. No cover bands, please! Also, if you haven’t checked out my podcast yet, do it now at!

Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

NJN Concert Calendar

7/23—With Daggers Drawn/One Brick Down/Lamps Burning—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
7/23—ZO2—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ
7/23—Diablo Royale—The Cherrywood, Clementon, NJ
7/24—Ender—Bogota V.F.W., Bogota, NJ
7/24—Kosmic Daydream—The Clash Bar, Clifton, NJ
7/24—The Dirty Stayouts—The Brick City Clubhouse, Newark, NJ
7/24—Blue Food—Bowery Poetry Club, NYC
7/24—ZO2—The Cherrywood, Clementon, NJ
7/24—Last Red Ember—The Player’s Lounge XXV, Sayreville, NJ
7/24—Killcode—The Bowery Ballroom, NYC
7/24—Life Without Warning—Boulevard Bar and Grill, Elmwood Park, NJ
7/24—Steve Brown and the Fallout—The Grasshopper, Morristown, NJ
7/24—L.I.F.E.—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ
7/25—Ender—Ding Batz, Clifton, NJ
7/29—Diablo Royale—The Highline Ballroom, NYC
7/29—Atom Strange—Public Assembly, Brooklyn, NY
7/30—Sik Twizted Smile/Candlebox—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
7/30—Rahway—The Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ
7/30—The Dirty Stayouts—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ
7/30—Cover Her Face—Port 41, New York, NY
7/31—Venus Vegas—The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ