Byzantine - The Cicada Tree (Metal Blade Records)

"New Ways to Bear Witness is by far one of the strongest opening tracks you will hear on an new album this year...
Release Date: 
28 Jul 2017 (All day)

Byzantine from the USA return with their 6th album, and their first on Metal Blade Records, titled The Cicada Tree. The album title is named entirely from an experience of Chris Ojeda (the vocalist, guitarist) witnessed at his home state of West Virginia in 2016. “As Dan Slessor’s bio of Byzantine states" Chris mentioned “The 17th year cicada cycle, it’s a type of locust that lies dormant underground for 16 years, only to emerge in the 17th year….. We had a swarm of roughly 1000 cicadas in my front yard underneath a small tree….. Byzantine was coming up on its 17th year of existence, and just like the cicada, we spent the last 16 years underground”. An aptly named album...

The opening track New Ways to Bear Witness is one killer track of pure groove, with blazing solos, High On Fire-eques vocals; melodic passages that soothe the soul of any savage beast. By far one of the strongest opening tracks you will hear on an new album this year...

Byzantine bring forth a superior metal album of unalloyed furrow and text book thrash like riffs exemplified on the second track Vile Maxim which yields a blow as hard as the likes of the thrash gods - akin to Exodus. Other stand out tracks include the 5th track Trap Jaw which starts with heavy powerful riffing just setting the head banging frenzy on fire, building into a groove metal display of staunchness. And the 10th track a cover of Cars Moving in Stereo, which applauds the original with ferocity, making it sound as their own.

The musicianship of Chris Ojeda - vocals, guitar; Brian Henderson - lead guitar, vocals; Sean Sydnor - bass, acoustic guitar; and Matt Bowles - drums, is without a doubt a high-caliber showcase of their fine craft of music.

Overall The Cicada Tree is a strong introduction to Metal Blade records. Definitely one of the premier chameleon bands of this era, with their cross over sound of groove mixed with elements of thrash and melodic metal. Got to be in my top 10 albums of this year!

The Cicada Tree is available NOW through Metal Blade Records