preview-review by dalia "gryphon_spirit"
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!!
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,
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.