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

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

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

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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. 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

Review: Let The Guilty Hang – ‘In Tongues’

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Let The Guilty Hang was formed in 2005 in the deep dark hills of West Virginia. Initially the band was supposed to be a side project, but they quickly realized their potential and jam sessions turned into a full-fledged band. Daniel Johnson (formerly of Guinness Clarke’s Wine) and Matt “Beevare” Jeffrey (formerly of Lifter) formed the band. The band quickly captured the attention of Derek Maynard who joined the band almost immediately adding his electrifying abrasive vocal tone to the bands already talented roster. The band then sought after a second guitarist in an effort to create Iron Maiden like guitar styling. Joe Baer (formerly of Born For Eternity) was the man for the job. The band was then rounded out with Adam Adkins (formerly of Born For Eternity) he brought not only bass playing to the table, but his voice also, supplying the contrasting clean vocals and backup vocals throughout what has become the bands signature sound. In September of 2007, Let The Guilt Hang released their debut album ‘The Unspeakable’. Opening for bands like Byzantine, As I Lay Dying, The Haunted, All That Remains, Trivium, and August Burns Red the band had quickly made a name for themselves around the region. The band has just recently released their latest album ‘In Tongues’ which was recorded at Domicile Studio in Cross Lanes, WV and was produced by Eric Hayne (The Corinthian, Isla Sorna, Profligation). Continue reading

An Interview With BRIMSTONE COVEN Bassist Andrew D’Cagna! [Video]

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We were recently fortunate enough to attend the inaugural Doomed & Stoned Fest in Indianapolis, Indiana at the 5th Quarter Lounge. Over 20 bands played the two day festival. One of the most anticipated acts of the festival was Metal Blade recording artist and West Virginia natives Brimstone Coven. The occult rock band has been turning heads everywhere they play, and not too long ago even opened for the legendary Pentagram. That show was our first experience seeing the band and we haven’t been able to shut up about them since. Brimstone Coven have these three part harmonies that aren’t found anywhere else in the rock or metal world today. They bring to the table something that has been missing for quite a long time. The chemistry on stage within this band is something you can not only hear but also feel as they perform. We will be including much more about them in our upcoming review of the Doomed & Stoned Festival. In the meantime we were able to catch up with bassist Andrew D’Cagna prior to the band taking the stage and he was kind enough to sit down with us and talk about everything the band has going on. Continue reading

Interview With Chris “OJ” Ojeda Of Byzantine

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Chris “OJ” Ojeda of Byzantine

We were fortunate enough recently to sit down with Byzantine founder/guitarist/singer Chris “OJ” Ojeda when the band headlined the Summer Slam Festival in Johnson City, Tennessee. The band was recently signed to Metal Blade Records after they received national success with their 5th and latest release “To Release Is To Resolve”. The band still has a handful of dates left on their short tour. Their next release is highly anticipated and will be the bands first release on Metal Blade. We’d like to thank OJ for his time as it was a pleasure to not only see him and the band perform live again but to speak with him one on one is much appreciated. Continue reading

Getting To Know Byzantine’s Matt Bowles!

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The last month or so has been a very exciting time for West Virginia metal legends Byzantine. The band was auditioning for a new drummer, finishing up recording 2 cover songs, and on the verge of signing a worldwide deal with one of the best labels in the business; Metal Blade. In steps West Virginia native Matt Bowles formerly of the band Our Malignant Beloved. He is the newest addition to Byzantine. The band will soon begin the task of writing and recording a follow up to their highly successful album “To Release Is To Resolve”, which made several top 10 lists including ours. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Matt and get to know him a little better.  Continue reading

Byzantine Signs Worldwide Deal With Metal Blade Records!

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West Virginian groove metal outfit Byzantine has signed a worldwide deal with Metal Blade Records! The band has really earned this achievement after being a do it yourself band for quite sometime. After releasing their music independently over the last three years, the quartet is ready to unleash their sixth, currently untitled album in early 2017 via their new label home.

Front-man, Chris “OJ” Ojeda had this to say about the band’s recent signing:

“For the last few albums, we have operated outside the fringes of the music community by necessity. I had almost lost hope that we would ever have the chance to showcase our music to the world on a bigger stage. With the help of Brian Slagel and Metal Blade Records, we feel like Byzantine has been given a 2nd chance to make our 1st impression. We are absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to share our brand of heavy music with the world on the world’s best metal label!” Continue reading

Byzantine Set to Announce New Drummer

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West Virginia’s kings of metal Byzantine have been without a drummer for a short period of time now. The band released their latest album ‘To Release Is to Resolve’ in February. The single “The Agonies” received major air play on Sirius XM and was on their top 10 list for a substantial amount of time. The band has always been the metal underdog and this album helped show how truly great they are and helped give them the respect they deserve. Chris “OJ” Ojeda (guitar, vocals) is one of the most down to earth people you will ever meet. Not long after they toured in support of the new album it was announced in December that the band had parted ways with drummer Matt Wolfe. They were quick to announce try outs for a new drummer. The following was posted on the Byzantine facebook page: Continue reading