26 January 2010

DOWNLOAD: Byzantine - ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents

I'll be honest. I've never listened to this band. I always heard the comparisons to Meshuggah and Pantera, though. I did see them once in Huntington but without vocals because their singer was sick and couldn't sing. It was an entertaining show, nonetheless, and the guys sure could play - and play loud, hard and fast - so the comparisons made sense.

The Chemical Valley between Charleston and Huntington has always been been a breeding ground for heavy metal bands (wait until I post West By God... so good). Byzantine, who formed in 2000 in Charleston, have achieved the most success. They released three albums on Prosthetic Records and toured heavily with the likes of Lamb of God and Shadow's Fall. Their sophomore release, 2005's ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents, I am listening to right now for the first time. I can understand why they have achieved the success they have. They're great musicians and play what they play very well, and despite the aforementioned nods to Meshuggah and Pantera, have carved out their own style of technical "groovy" "progressive thrash" "with the occasional smooth vocals." There are a lot of heavy chug parts and a lot of prog-ish, jazz solos. Above it all, they're statesmen who have done well for themselves and represented West Virginia very well. I also assisted on a portrait session of the band, and they were incredibly friendly guys. They get nothing but respect.

Artist: Byzantine.
Album: ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents.
Year: 2005.
For Fans Of: Messhuggah, Testament, Lamb of God.

* This album of out of stock from Prosthetic, but if you like it, support the band and label by purchasing it on iTunes.

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