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Byzantine - ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents
Byzantine from West Virginia are one of those bands that seemed to suddenly pop up after the success of acts like Lamb of God. The band was founded in 2000 and plays a familiar kind of thrash-groove metal with some clear Meshuggah influences. The bands latest album, “…And They Shall Take Up Serpents” is their second full-lenght on Prostethic Records.
A thing that sets Byzantine apart are some of the southern-rock influences, which gives the band a sound of their own. This, mixed with the crushing riffs, odd time and tempo changes and varied vocals (ranging from growls, to screams and clean singing) make for a diverse sound that is already noteworthy because of the musicianship involved. It’s also worth mentioning that these guys use their skills in good songs, instead of trying to write a song based on technical madness. Every song packs some powerful riffs and technical drumming but it never gets “prog-wankery”. I would consider it to be “technical thrash”.
The only downside is that some stuff tends to drip into the ever so popular “metalcore song with a sing along chorus”, like in “Jeremiad”. It's not that vocalist/guitarist Chris Ojeda has a bad voice, but it sticks out like a sore-thumb while the dude pulls out some great Zakk Wylde/Phil Anselmo-ish “I drink whiskey for a living” semi-clean stuff a minute later, which has way more balls to it. Fans of some shredding guitar work should also take note, some of the leads by Tony Rohbrough and Ojeda are downright “horns in the air and fuck yeah”. It wouldn’t surprise me if these guys end up on some guitar magazine covers soon. The guys don’t rush down their scales; instead of meaningless Slayer-esque solos we get some great melodic stuff that really gives a song that extra hook.
“...And They Shall Take Up Serpents” is a fine metal record, and will be liked by people who can appreciate modern metal acts, but I don’t see a reason why people who can appreciate their fair share of Pantera of Testament shouldn’t like this record. Good stuff and keep it coming!
Byzantine - ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents
84/1001Details Prosthetic
Released on Tuesday Jul 12th, 2005

Writer @Carn on Monday Apr 3rd, 2006

Tags: #Byzantine
Tracklisting 1. Justicia (4:07)
2. Taking Up Serpents (3:12)
3. Jeremiad (6:01)
4. Ancestory Of The Antichrist (5:55)
5. Temporary Temples (4:34)
6. Five Faces Of Madness (5:30)
7. Redneck War (5:40)
8. Pity None (3:58)
9. The Rat Eaters (4:32)
10. Salem, Ark (7:02)
Line up Tony: Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar
OJ: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Piano
Wolfe: Drums, Percussion, Acoustic Guitar