Oct 222014

Byzantine, celebrating

Here are a few things that caught my eye yesterday.


There aren’t many bands that all the long-tenured writers at this site like, but West Virginia’s Byzantine are one of them. Their 2013 comeback album got loads of praise here and elsewhere, and so we were stoked to find out that the band had launched a crowd-funding campaign to help finance production of a new album — To Release Is To Resolve.

That campaign surpassed its goal (though contributions can still be made here, which will get you a pre-order of the album), and yesterday brought the announcement that the band have now finished recording all the music for the new record, with only Chris “OJ” Ojeda’s vocal tracking left to be done. But one thing will happen first — and that’s the second piece of Byzantine news we want to spread around: Beginning today, the band are embarking on a tour that will run through the end of October, with Thy Will Be Done and IKILLYA. The dates are after the jump… Continue reading »

Aug 292014


Those of you who can’t let a day go by without visiting our humble site, by which of course I mean all of you, have undoubtedly noticed that I haven’t been very good about posting round-ups this week. There are reasons, but I’ll just acknowledge my failure, express my deep regret, ask for God’s forgiveness, and try to turn the page (I got that sentence out of the Official Politicians’ Handbook For What To Say When You’re Caught In Bed With A Dead Girl Or A Live Boy).

Many, many things have happened over the last few days that are worth noting, but I’ll just mention three of them for now.


The resurrection of West Virginia’s Byzantine has been all but complete, with the release of a stellar comeback album in 2013 and the commencement of work for a follow-up record (To Release Is To Resolve) now in progress. But one thing has been missing: A Tour!

Well, finally, it appears that’s going to happen, too. Today the band announced the Release To Resolve Tour, which will be their first tour in 7 years. It begins and ends in West Virginia and includes an appearance at the CMJ Showcase in New York City. They will be supported by New York’s IKILLYA and by Thy Will Be Done from Providence, RI. The schedule as it currently exists (with a few specific locations still to be announced) is below: Continue reading »

Aug 202014


EDITOR’S NOTE: West Virginia’s Byzantine are nearing the end of a Pledgemusic crowd-funding campaign to help finance the making of their next album, To Release Is To Resolve, and NCS writer TheMadIsraeli caught up with the band’s main man, Chris “OJ” Ojeda, in an exclusive audio interview that we’re streaming at the end of this post. TheMadIsraeli introduces the conversation as follows:


Chris “OJ” Ojeda from Byzantine is a riot.  The guy’s got an obvious fire for what he’s doing, and handles the hardships he’s endured with a surprisingly casual and hopeful outlook.  He’s one of my favorite vocalists out there, and his riffs are distinct and have always stood out to me.

As the driving force behind Byzantine, the guy may feel like he’s got a load on his shoulders to prove that the band’s stellar comeback comeback album (2013’s Byzantine) wasn’t a fluke.  From what I’ve heard of the new record, though, I’d say we’re in for something better than even that last one. You’ll get a taste of it at the end of this post. Continue reading »

Jul 052014

Happy Fourth of July Hangover Day. Hope none of you American readers lost any fingers in a gunpowder accident, put out an eye with an errant sparkler, or lit off a bottle rocket in your ass. I have some news items and new metal for you that I spotted over the least 24 hours. This is a big collection, but what else have you got to do?


Striker are from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Metal Archives says they are a power metal band. This means the odds are very high that I won’t be able to stand their music. However, the cover art for their new album City of Gold is so goddamned awesome that I may be forced to listen to at least one song whenever the first advance track appears. You can click the image above to view a larger version of the piece, which is by one of my favorite metal artists, Berlin-based Eliran Kantor.

The album is due from Napalm Records on September 9 in North America (Aug 29 in Europe, September 1 in the UK). If anyone can give me a reason to bury my prejudices and listen to a Striker song, I will try to keep an open mind.

https://www.facebook.com/strikermetal Continue reading »

Apr 012014

(We welcome Chris “OJ” Ojeda, frontman of West Virginia’s Byzantine, with an eye-opening guest article about the economics of music streaming and what fans can do to increase band revenues. Despite the April 1 posting date, this is no joke.)

Hello friends and audiophiles. This is OJ from the band Byzantine. I want to spread some information that I have been wanting to tabulate and disseminate for some time now. This information is based on 1 topic only: Legal Music Streaming and the Amount An Artist Gets Paid.

Before I get into the hard numbers of this topic, I want to make clear that I am completely bipartisan on this issue. I do not feel that legal streaming has ruined my band’s chances at being a top-tier money-earning act. We have attempted to do that all by ourselves and I am completely fine with that. I also do not feel that legal streaming has afforded my band or myself any luxuries. The figures I have compiled will back that up. With that being said, I have to admit I am very grateful to be spreading this information on my band because it means two very important things:

1. At 39 yrs old, I still have a band, and that’s pretty awesome.
2. A small number of people actually listen to our band and that’s even more awesome. Continue reading »

Mar 302014

For those of you who, like us, were overjoyed at the 2013 comeback of West Virginia’s Byzantine, we bring you more joyous news. We received the following notification yesterday:

“According to Chris Ojeda, frontman for Byzantine, the band has begun writing material for album 5, due out early 2015. Ojeda states, ‘We have been playing some regional shows in support of our last album and, although it’s been a blast, we really need to buckle down and see how we can keep the momentum going from our last record. I was looking to putting out an EP with a few new songs, a few old songs rerecorded and maybe a cover to release this year but the rest of the guys were pushing hard for another full length of new music and they are right.’

“This album will be recorded late summer of this year and will be once again partially funded through Kickstarter. Next week, Byzantine will be releasing a very limited Vinyl release of their last album complete with brand new artwork. Pre-orders are still being taken through www.byzmerch.bigcartel.com.”

Early 2015 is a long way off, but it’s both a relief and an expectant pleasure to learn that Byzantine are forging ahead with another album. Their self-titled comeback was so very strong, and in case you still haven’t discovered it, listen to this: Continue reading »

Feb 142014

At last we’ve arrived at the final installment of our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I could have gone on, but since we’re half-way through February it seemed time to stop and spend more time on what 2014 is bringing us.

I want to thank my fellow NCS writers and our readers for suggesting songs from albums that I missed last year; this list has included a lot of those recommendations. I also beg your forgiveness for not including other recommendations, and for otherwise omitting or simply overlooking other great songs from last year.

On Monday I’ll have a a post with a few more concluding thoughts and a complete list of every song in this series, collected in one place. (For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three songs I’m announcing today, click here.)


I suppose there’s some irony in my choice of this next song (and the one that follows it) for our concluding installment — it includes a lot of clean singing. Beyond that, it is one of the more mellow, more pop-oriented songs DT have ever done (of the gothic/doom variety), one of the songs on 2013’s Construct that links arms with the style that DT explored in Projector. But Mikael Stanne’s clean singing is emotionally resonant, and the song also delivers his equally emotive harsh growls, along with some hammering Gothenburg riffs. Continue reading »

Dec 112013

(Today we begin our 2013 Listmania series, in which the NCS staff and a variety of esteemed guests name their favorite albums of the year. And to kick things off, we’re stoked to present this piece by Chris Ojeda, the main man of two bands who are big favorites around here — Byzantine and Black Cap Miner.)

Hello, my name is Chris. My music friends call me OJ. I front the heavy metal band Byzantine. Been doing that since 2000. I’ve been a die-hard metal fan since 1989. I have been asked by the fine people at No Clean Singing if I would give my $0.02 on my favorite musical releases of 2013. With that offer, I have compiled for you a very short list of fantastic albums that came out this year. I have limited it to metal and/or heavy music since that’s what we dig here.

I must preface this piece by mentioning a few things. 1. I am not a music reviewer and have no prior experience writing such pieces. I am just a music lover who happens to have the opportunity to write a piece such as this. Any typos or musical poor judgments can be filed in the “fuck you” file. 2. Even though I operate in the metal community, my band is on the fringes of said community, and therefore I can freely speak my mind about what sucks and who sucks, in my opinion. I won’t be getting a nasty call from our booking agent, manager, or record label, since I have none of these.

So… Here we go! My faves of 2013. Continue reading »

Sep 112013

Here are a some things I’d like to recommend from my reading and listening last night.


On Monday night of this week, a new song from Ihsahn premiered on BBC Radio 1’s “Rock Show” with Daniel P. Carter. The song is “Hilber” and it will appear on Ihsahn’s fifth solo album, Das Seelenbrechen, which will be released on October 21 in North America via Candlelight Records. Fortunately, the program will remain available for streaming for the next seven days at BBC.co.uk, and you can use that link to hear it (just skip to the 21:45 mark on the player you’ll find there).

Also, for now at least, it’s been uploaded to YouTube (I’m shocked, I tell you, simply shocked!) and so you can also listen right here, after the jump.

Man, I do like this song. It swirls and it stomps, it echoes and it pounds, the guitar spirals around complex rhythms, a string section takes wing, and Ihsahn claws with his voice (no clean singing on this one, thank you very much). It’s dark, disconcerting, and occasionally dissonant, but it will also stick with you. Imaginative music. You should hear it. Continue reading »

Jul 022013

Here’s a collection of selected items your humble editor witnessed and heard while stumbling around the interhole yesterday. As usual, the stuff is all over the musical map.


Black Cap Miner is the side project of West Virginia vocalist/guitarist Chris Ojeda of the mighty Byzantine (whose 2013 release ought to get some kind of award for comeback album of the year). The objective of the project is to get you to headbang like it’s 1988. To be more precise, OJ and friends are recording covers of some old school thrash songs. But not just any songs, and not just any friends. Check out his list of guest performers:

GREG BURGESS (Allegaeon)
JAY HANNON (Gizmachi)
KYLE THOMAS (Exhorder, Trouble)
CHUCK BILLY (Testament)

I think a robust HOLY SHIT! is in order, don’t you?  I mean, not to take even one little thing away from Chris Ojeda, but that’s a mighty fine group of comrades to assemble for the recording of some thrash. Continue reading »