Jan 272012

Byzantine is one of the most original, most kick-ass, most awesome metal bands in the last 10 years and SHAME ON YOU IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO THEY ARE.  No one else has yet reproduced their combination of Bay Area thrash metal, death metal, Meshuggah math-metal stylings, jazz fusion, and the grooves and melodic nature of the post-thrash movement and made it all work so seamlessly and so well.”

That’s how NCS writer TheMadIsraeli began his retrospective on Byzantine’s discography at this site last August, a look-back that included downloads of the band’s three albums (with permission). In that same post, we reported that Byzantine had re-formed (minus Tony Rohrbough) and was working on new music.

Yesterday, we received the official announcement of Byzantine’s resurrection, almost four years to the day since their last album, Oblivion Beckons, was released — and it’s a complete reunion of all original members: Chris (“OJ”) Ojeda (vocals, rhythm guitar), Tony Rohrbough (lead guitar); Michael (“Skip”) Cromer (bass), and Matt Wolfe (drums). Here’s the statement from Chris Ojeda:

“We’ve all kept in contact through the past few years and have worked on each other’s projects as well. With our guitarist Tony moving back to WV from NC, we decided it would be a perfect opportunity to hang out again and jam. Before we knew it, we were tossing around riffs and song ideas and realized we had what seemed to be the foundation for a pretty kick ass Byzantine album.”

This is a band who were ahead of their time, and the time is certainly right for their reappearance. But they’re looking for help from fans.

Byzantine has no label contract at the moment, and they’ve decided to self-finance the recording of the fourth album, and to raise funds needed for the production through Kickstarter.com. Through that site, fans can donate money in any amount to help with the work. Donations are set up on a tier program, and donated amounts within each tier will entitle contributors to receive different packages, including signed CD’s, back-stage passes, official sheet music, early digital downloads, and more.

Information on how to help Byzantine finance their new album can be found at

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/332269135/split-the-bar-tab-for-the-next-byzantine-album-due

For most of us, of course, money doesn’t grow on trees, but this is a worthy cause. And besides, it’s not really charity. What a donation really amounts to is a pre-order of music and merch — a pre-order commitment that precedes even the recording of the music. I’ve contributed money to three bands through Kickstarter so far, and Byzantine will be the fourth. It’s the kind of selfish behavior that also makes you feel like you’re doing good — win win!

Now, as tangible evidence of why this matters, here’s a song from Byzantine’s last album, Oblivion Beckons:

“A Residual Haunting”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

We’ll keep you posted on what’s happening with the project, and of course you can track developments yourself via Byzantine’s Facebook page.

20 Responses to “A BYZANTINE UPDATE (AND IT’S A BIG ONE)”

  1. Phro Is What You Eat says:

    I’ve never used kickstarter because it seems so byzantine. I’m scared by new technology. Especially the vibrators, with their Byzantine controls and labyrinth like holes for insertion. But, when in Rome… Fuck everything that doesn’t try to kill you?

    Yes, horrible, horrible jokes.

  2. Andy Synn says:

    In there, like swimwear.

    Also, Soul Embraced’s kickstarter campaign. Need to donate to that too.

  3. One should have taken Byzantine seriously when their last album had come out …Instead of Anthrax.

  4. morbid corpse says:

    Byzantine??? Oh, you mean that band that soooooo wants to be Lamb of God???

  5. Talvalin says:

    Fuck me sideways. The *only* thing that made me hesitant about the Byzantine reformation was Tony Rohrbough not taking part. Listening to his solo album hammers home how much influence he had on the riffs and his solos, damn, the solos make many a song. But, he’s back and this is all to the good. I just hope the band hits its Kickstarter target otherwise I’m going to randomly poll metal fans I meet at gigs so that I can batter all the fucking idiots who didn’t contribute.

    Also, next time Byzantine plays live I’m flying out there for the entire damn tour because if I don’t, some more shit will happen and I won’t get to see them play in the flesh.

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