Stick Figure

Stoning Judas

My New Casket

Sin Remover

Slipping on Noise

Kill Chain

The Devil's Arithmetic


The Filth of our Underlings


Chris Ojeda - Vocals, Guitar 
Tony Rohrbough - Lead Guitar 
Chris Adams - Bass 
Matt Wolfe - Drums


Jeff Ellis - guest vocals on My New Casket,The Devil’s Arithmetic and The Filth of Our Underlings

Matt Greene -  chorus on Stoning Judas



BYZANTINE: "The fundamental Component"     byzantine         Prosthetic Records

Recorded  at 101 Productions, in Sissonville, West Virginia, which is located inside an active daycare school. engineer/producer:  Charles A.  Fisher - street date 26th April

Interview with Chris "OJ" Ojeda

preview-review  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo____   

The American quartet delivers an explosive and ferocious mix of Modern metal and Death/Thrash/Metalcore with an outstanding Melodic touch, in the wake of Lamb of God. If Lamb of God play the so called  "American Metal", so Byzantine do as well, and with very good  results. Let's call it American, but actually  it's music without frontiers for the new century. It's a  way to carry on the spirit of the old ideals in a mechanical, unknown dark future. Pay attention to your neck!!

Do you remember the soundtrack of the movie Freddie vs. Jason? A soundtrack with bands like Lambs of God, Chimaira, Ill Niño, among many others. Well, Byzantine could have been included, with their Death/Thrash combined with Modern metal, their flashy, distorted twisted sounds, all in the wake of bands like Lamb of God, and if you think how much ferocious, innovative and ace Lambs of God are, (just think of 11th Hour), you will understand why i recommend Byzantine who are totally acceptable and approachable for the European audience too. Already experienced, having also played together with bands like Lamb Of God indeed and Shadows Fall, they have the possibility now to present their first full length:"The fundamental Component". Therefore let's consider with attention this debut album through Prosthetic Records for this quartet, cause it's Death/Thrash combined with mechanical Metalcore and Modern metal in upbeat tempo (and again attention! Modern doesn't mean Nu, seen under the most usual side, for jaysus' sake!), enhanced by a not predictable, outstanding, brilliant melodic touch. A melodic content that, in a couple of tracks is even shifted to the threshold of melodic Rock. From ferocious riffs and extreme metal in old style and from a sonic claustrophobic matrix of sinister, obsessive pitiless brutality, blossom suddenly harmonic contents that complement the harsh component. Drumming provided by Matt Wolfe is effective with a calibrated balance between drum beats and cymbals. The bass is always enthralling. This album is also remarkable for its lyrics.

Opener Hatfield with its stretched distorted strings, its aggressive falsetto growls, its Death/Thrash mentality, its  obsessive elasticity and alienation, is the proper door to the album. Concerning lyrics too: there is criticism and indignation against the excuses of a political society able to ruin everything: lands and people, "Excuses are just tools of incompetence, used to build monuments of nothingness". Byzantine say.

Stick Figure is even more fascinating cause a mature harmonic and melodic content is successfully united with a  restless hammering /rolling/stomping, iterative rhythmic. Raw harsh screaming's fade into low growls. We can taste diversion in the coherence, catchiness, lead solos, distorted sounds and raspy caterpillar heaviness. The result is a melodic but ferocious neckbreaker and it's not important how long the song can be: you don't notice it! This song proceeds pressing and chasing like a train. Soon remains the immediate wish for a re-listening. Connections with Lamb of God are really evident. 

Track 3, Stoning Judas, is very technical, a bit complex: it begins ferocious and very fast but it finds then its slower stop/starty moments, steam-hammering beatings and its melodic passages that have a flavor of melodic Rock! An elaborated song that has much desperation inside. It will appeal at once, though after a couple of listenings this track can be understood even better, cause the various parts and the great melodic refrain ("There is no faith inside your eyes, this is the one that i despise") trace a musical "iter" that is repeated twice. Its lyrics are a deep and warm invite to a consideration and a reflection: "The spirit of Judas lives in everyone..."

My new Casket is extremely dark and a real crush of aggression: it's not easy but such sophisticated gun-machine-like layers, caterpillar sensations and spirals of hard sequenced riffs will make you stand there incredulous and  hypnotized; in addition: a war machine with brutality, charme, and something magic in it. Headbanging is obviously out of discussion here, as well as concerning the previous tracks. 

Sin Remover is more "mechanical", and shows 2 faces: the one developed following mainly the Metalcore component, and the other one: the second part which is opened by a slow melodic instrumental intermezzo, that could be a kind of digression and wandering, which finally gains anxiety and anger again with a haunting melodic final. Super in its concept, but not so much enjoyable in practice. It needs more listenings anyway.

The album goes on with the also mechanical, nervous and raw Slipping on Noise, which fortunately shows again and fully underlines the typical characteristics seen previously with unpredictable ace melodic notes which appear like a Fata Morgana in the merciless but seducing acidity of invincible metalcore loops that exhale even exotic thrill: a fantastic song, groovy and fanatic.

Hypnotic, distorted, futuristic, Kill Chain begins furiously, with a Hardcore/Meshuggah flavor but it leads us to a refrain that is pure lovely melodic romantic sorrowful Rock à la Van Halen!! I cannot deny my surprise!!

The Devil's Arithmetic is expressing all elasticity of vocals that go from low growl and screams to clear singing, Hardcore fully mixed with Death/Thrash with a melodic/spatial impending instrumental intermezzo. A rather ambitious and proud track that appeal, or on the contrary, it completely doesn't. You can love it or hate it, it depends on personal taste. For sure i don't like at all the part sung in clean, and not for the clean voice in itself, but cause it's horrible though short: imo it gives also the impression that the notes are taken completely wrong. And unfortunately we go on worse with Brundlefly that is boring, and not cause for a lack in aggressiveness or rhythm, but because it seems that there is no inspiration at all. Though varied with the central part dedicated to an instrumental window which sees an erratic lead solo and in spite of the great drumming and bass, the rest is mere repetition with no stroke of genius.

The Filth of our Underlings combines brutality with a drop of modern melodies with a touch of damnation in the clean/whispered chorus. Not that good song imo, but even not that bad; it closes the album with a touch more in  originality, anyway.

Without The Devil's Arithmetic, Sin Remover and surely without Brundlefly, this would be a fantastic flawless outstanding album. But only few albums are almost perfect, and the incriminated 3 tracks don't steal this work its general explosive glamour, that is a real authentic modern way to approach the more traditional genres of Metal. Who really like Death and Thrash but is also open minded to the newest influences, can only appreciate "The Fundamental Component" and be enthusiastic about it. And in particular Lamb of God admirers. Please count me in.

Rating: 8.5/10


dalia di giacomo    

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