Byzantine The Fundamental Component

Two duelling guitars melt into an implacable screeching toy gun riff only then to be usurped by a Southern rock melody and a Meshuggah guitar solo. That’s only the beginning of this strange journey into the foundations of a permutation of progressive metal and hard rock. The effects they exploit on the guitars are eccentric and extremely unconventional starting with strange piano reverberations and going as far as an eerie carnival kazoo. Most of these weird sounds went out of style when Faith No More dragged them to the grave. There’s also another unrelated ‘80s presence with many similarities to the Biohazard sound that eventually spawned modern metalcore. Unfortunately Byzantine’s downfall is the atrociously meagre singing, quite possibly due to the band’s own role in production or just because OJ is naturally awful at crooning Anselmo style. The number of Dream Theater recollections become disturbing and eventually, combined with the heinous vocals, unbearable. As a whole, the record harbours brilliant intentions and inspired ideas, but suffers at the beck of ghosts of metal past. Regardless, with label-mates like Cannae, Himsa and Caliban, Byzantine have proved that Prosthetic Records is an exciting label to keep an eye on. (Prosthetic)