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

Interview With BYZANTINE Vocalist/Guitarist Chris “OJ” Ojeda!

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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”. The band has an upcoming headlining tour as well as a nationwide take over with Sacred Reich starting in September.  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