Review: BYZANTINE – ‘The Cicada Tree’ [Official Video]

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West Virginia’s best hidden secret Byzantine have long been the underdog in the metal world. Their last album ‘To Release Is To Resolve’ along with the powerful single “The Agonies” really propelled the band out of the Appalachian Mountains and into the ears of metal heads worldwide. The band self released the album and it was well received and got tremendous airplay on Sirius XM radio. The hard hitting progressive band also snagged a record deal with powerhouse label Metal Blade. On July 28th, Byzantine will release their new album, ‘The Cicada Tree’, via Metal Blade Records. Heralded as the most underrated band from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal Movement, Byzantine has slowly gained a cult-like following after releasing 5 genre-bending albums. 16 years underground, it’s finally time for the world to hear Byzantine! To state that The Cicada Tree is ‘classic Byzantine‘ in no way implies that this is an album solely rooted in the band’s past. Certainly, all of the hallmarks that have made their sound so compelling for close to two decades are present and correct: muscular yet lithe riffs and fluid leads play against gripping, dynamic and at times unpredictable rhythms, while rich melodies and lyrics that are both involved and intelligent wind their way through every track. But, once more, the groove metal unit has continued their steady evolution – the interplay between their members organic and natural, imbuing the record’s sixty-two-minute running time with a freshness and urgency. The album title – and the song of the same name – is drawn entirely from an event the frontman experienced in his home state of West Virginia in 2016, “The Seventeen Year Cicada” cycle. “It’s a type of locust that lies dormant underground for sixteen years, only to emerge in the seventeenth year, and it then lives for three months above ground to morph, mate, give birth and die. We had a swarm of roughly 1,000 cicada in my front yard underneath a small tree. My eight-year-old daughter, my pregnant-at-the-time girlfriend and I spent the whole season catching and studying them. It was a beautiful experience.” While looking for potential album titles, Ojeda’s girlfriend playfully suggested The Cicada Tree, and while initially dismissing this as a joke he soon had an epiphany. “Byzantine was coming up on its seventeenth year of existence and, just like the cicada, we spent the last sixteen years underground. So, ‘The Cicada Tree’is a metaphor for the lifespan of Byzantine.” Byzantine’s Metal Blade debut ‘The Cicada Tree’ drops on July 28th it’s an album you don’t want to pass on.  Continue reading

WOVENWAR Launches New Video For “Cascade”!

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Wovenwar started their career in 2013 in sunny Southern California. The band is comprised of three members of As I Lay Dying Nick Hipa on lead guitar, Josh Gilbert on bass and vocals, and drummer Jordan Mancino. Shane Blay from Oh, Sleeper was brought in as the vocalist and rhythm guitarist. The bands most recent album ‘Honor Is Dead ‘ also features Phil Sgrosso who was also a member of As I Lay Dying, but he left Wovenwar last year. The members formed Wovenwar after As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis was arrested for soliciting the murder of his wife.  Continue reading

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: BEHEMOTH

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*Every Tuesday and Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

Today’s artist is Behemoth.

On Sunday, July 16th, Chicago Open Air gets a taste of one of the world’s most acclaimed black metal bands, Behemoth. Since forming in 1991, the Polish black/death metal band has been known for their polarizing, intense live shows that sweep the crowd off of their feet. Typically meant for playing in the dark for the atmosphere, it will be interesting to see how Behemoth adjusts to bringing their full power into the sun. They are hitting the road here in the US with Lamb of God and Slayer so they definitely are not to be taken lightly. They are also one of the few bands that still put a great amount of thought into their music videos. Videos like “Ben Sahar”, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”, and “At The Left Hand Ov God” contain very vivid imagery rather than only showing the band performing like most bands do now. Some people may be turned away from them because of the satanic content but I encourage you to give them a chance live. I know several people that did not appreciate them until watching one of their incredible live shows. Continue reading

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: WHITECHAPEL

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*Every Tuesday and Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

Today’s artist is Whitechapel.

On Friday, July 14th, yet another massively popular deathcore band hits the Chicago Open Air stage alongside Suicide Silence. Since forming in 2006, Whitechapel has consistently released great, heavy material and evolved slightly throughout each record. Phil Bozeman is considered to be one of the best vocalists in the wide variety of extreme metal with his mind boggling low screams. While being recognized for that, Bozeman also has a pretty solid singing voice. On the new record, ‘Mark of the Blade’, the band incorporates the clean vocals more often on tracks such as “Bring Me Home” and “Decennium”. You can check out the highly emotional video of “Bring Me Home” below. It has been a long time coming for Whitechapel to hit the US festival circuit. I saw them at Rock on the Range and they exceeded expectations. With one of the largest crowds on the third stage that weekend, they delivered a blistering setlist that tightly grasped the crowd for the entirety of the show. If you haven’t seen them already, you’re in for a treat. Continue reading

BYZANTINE Release New Video For “New Ways to Bear Witness”!

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On July 28th, Byzantine will release their new album, ‘The Cicada Tree’, via Metal Blade Records. Heralded as the most underrated band from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal Movement, Byzantine has slowly gained a cult-like following after releasing 5 genre-bending albums. 16 years underground, it’s finally time for the world to hear Byzantine! For a first preview of The Cicada Tree, a new video for the single “New Ways to Bear Witness” (featuring a cameo by Skeletonwitch’s Dustin Boltjes, as well as ex-Byzantine drummer Matt Wolfe) has been launched online. Directed/edited by Holly Siders, the filming of “New Ways to Bear Witness” resulted in Chris “OJ” Ojeda (vocals, rhythm guitar) suffering a concussion. OJ comments about the experience:

“So, we came up with an idea of having our old drummer do a cameo appearance in the music video. Matt Wolfe left the band right before we signed with Metal Blade and had occupied the drum seat for the last 12 years. We felt it was a perfect opportunity to let fans know that we still love Matt and he’s still welcome and important to our band. What’s the best way to have an ousted band member make a cameo? To hit me with a vehicle, of course! We set up the scene and did about 5 or 6 takes of Wolfe hitting me with the vehicle and me rolling off the vehicle. I didn’t know until we wrapped shooting the next day that something was wrong and had a very hard time driving home. I contacted an ER doctor friend of mine who told me I needed to come see him ASAP. After a CT Scan and an EKG, he let me know I had a standard sports type concussion from repeatedly hitting my head during the video shoot. I got 3 days off work and a cool story out of it! Rock!” Continue reading

An Interview With Dan Briggs of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME

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I just recently had the chance to interview bassist/keyboardist Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me, Orbs, Trioscapes, and Nova Collective. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time as BtBaM are one of my favorite bands in the progressive genre. Briggs gives us the scoop on what to expect to see on the upcoming ‘Coma Ecliptic Live’ DVD, what we might hear on the next album, playing ‘Colors’ again later on this year, his new project titled Nova Collective and more. The ‘Coma Ecliptic Live’ DVD will be released via Metal Blade Records and Good Fight Entertainment on April 28th. You can pre-order it here. Continue reading

The Bucketlist With BYZANTINE’s Chris “OJ” Ojeda!

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Byzantine

West Virginia’s best hidden secret Byzantine have long been the underdog in the metal world. Their last album ‘To Release Is To Resolve’ along with the powerful single “The Agonies” really propelled the band out of the Appalachian Mountains and into the ears of metal heads worldwide. The band self released the album and it was well received and got tremendous airplay on Sirius XM radio. The hard hitting progressive band also snagged a record deal with powerhouse label Metal Blade. The band has wrapped up recording and are set to release their Metal Blade debut ‘The Cicada Tree’ in June. Byzantine also has a Pledge Music Campaign For album pre-order which includes some exclusive bundles and even guitar lessons or person phone calls from the band. You can pre-order and check out the bundles here. Byzantine also recorded their first music video for a track from the upcoming album ‘The Cicada Tree’ at The V Club in Huntington, West Virginia on March 19th. We can’t wait to see what the guys came up with, and eager to hear the new material. The bands founder/singer/guitarist Chris “OJ” Ojeda is one of the nicest guys and a true ambassador for metal heads everywhere. In addition to being in Byzantine OJ is also a true music lover. We couldn’t think of anyone better to kick off our new segment THE BUCKETLIST with. As music obsessed fans we always keep a list of bands we want to see live that we haven’t had the chance to see. Touring musicians have the opportunity to see a lot more bands than the common band through friends in the industry and while touring. OJ recently sat down with Metal Nexus to let us know some of the bands and artists that he has on his own personal bucketlist. Without further ado we give you the inagural segment of THE BUCKETLIST with Byzantine’s Chris “OJ” Ojeda. Continue reading

Oni Premiers Their Video for “The Only Cure” Featuring Mr. Randy Blythe!

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Here’s a real treat to make Tuesday burn! We are no strangers to Canada’s Oni. We have covered their live show (show), their newest offering of Ironshore on Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records (review) and even landed on our Best of 2016 list (list).  F*ING LOVE THIS BAND, if it is not obvious!  Earlier today, Oni premeired their creepy video for “The Only Cure” featuring guest vocalist and frontman for Lamb of God, Randy Blythe. The song was written by Jake Oni and deals with someone getting their chest cut open (How much more Metal can you get?!?). With a “Hollywood” level of production we are taken for a wild ride as the main character is captured by a serial killer and being subsequently executed in just that manner. Definitely not for the squeamish and probably not something you want to show off to your buddies at work with your boss looking over your shoulder! After directing Oni’s first video for “Eternal Recurrence”, Abraham Roofeh returns to bring this nightmare to vivid life in all its campy and bloody glory! Metal fans and horror movie buffs will freaking love this! Check the video out below. If you are lucky enough to live in the U.K., Oni is also touring with Devil You Know throughout the month of January!

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Oni Announces The Release Of Their Debut “Ironshore” For November 25th, 2016

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Oni is:

Jake Oni – vocals

Martin Andres – guitars

Brandon White – guitars

Chase Bryant – bass

Joe Greulich – drums

Johnny D – Xylosynth

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The Technical Metal band Oni recently dropped my jaw when opening for Max & Iggor Cavalera on their Return to Roots tour in Tampa (my review to follow shortly). Recently signed with Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records, Oni has just announced the release of their debut album entitled Ironside on Black Friday, November 25th.

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Interview with WOE OF TYRANTS Vocalist Chris Catanzaro!

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The Ohio based band Woe Of Tyrants have been on an extended hiatus. Their last album was released over 6 years ago, but what they done in the past has left a lasting impression on anyone who has heard their music. The band released their first album ‘Behold The Lion’ in 2007 and quickly garnered the attention of Metal Blade Records. Their next release ‘Kingdom of Might’ would be their Metal Blade debut in 2009. That album has long been a prime example of what most bands set forth to do and fail. The album is one of the best metal album put out in the last decade. The song “Break the Fangs of the Wicked” is the definitive metal song that jams everything your ears crave in less than 5 minutes. If you are unfamiliar with the band please use that song as your welcome package, because once you hear it you’ll be a fan. Once that album released it was getting worldwide attention and the band was hand selected to join Overkill’s 25th Anniversary Tour along side Vader, God Dethroned, Warbringer, Evile and of course the might Overkill. The band has found a way to meld thrash, and death metal in flawless fashion. Their 3rd release ‘Threnody’ (2010) is their last release as of now. The band however isn’t finished. The band has recently started up the engine of Woe and is in the process of creating new music. The creatively talented group couldn’t keep their hands idle any longer. They recently announced they are back together, practicing and plan to release new music in the not so far away future. We got the opportunity to speak with vocalist Chris Catanzaro and find out what’s going on with the untamed beast that is WOE OF TYRANTS! Continue reading