Release DetailsLABEL Prosthetic
RELEASED ON 2/10/2004
The Fundamental Component
posted on 3/2004 By:
What’s up with all these young bands going retro? The recent resurgence of metal seems to be coupled with a revival of metal bands and metal sounds of years past. West Virginia’s Byzantine are one such act, an up-and-coming Prosthetic Records metalcore act that certainly enjoys the Pantera discography. These similarities manifest in the southern-styled, Dimebag-esque grooves that are littered throughout the album, as well as in a few of the clean vocal sections that sound like ol’ Phil was in the studio with them.
But The Fundamental Component isn’t just a Pantera clone. Odd-time rhythms straight from the Meshuggah playbook have a prominent place too, along with the occasional Thordendal-like solo. A glance at their website makes it fairly obvious that these guys fawn over Lamb of God, and it shows, with occasional thrashy riffage and vocal cadences that evoke As the Palaces Burn. In essence, what we have here is an album of Southern style metal that’s accentuated with interesting rhythm patterns and a variety of vocal deliveries. Now all this sounds like a recipe for some foot-stompin’, body-slamming metal perfectly suited for the pit, yet it doesn’t come across as intense as I was expecting. I suspect that this is the result of a very clean production that lacks sufficient heft, and an abundance of choppy riffs that leave quite a few sonic voids unfilled. Of course, this can be partially overcome by just cranking up the volume.
“Hatfield” is the first song and the first single, and it does a fine job of encompassing everything that Byzantine is about, even if it is a bit heavier than the rest of the album. There’s that Meshuggah rhythm, and some gruff vocals, (LOG)Randy-like, and an ending that is the metal equivalent of molasses – just slow and thick. Four of the tracks have guest clean vocals from guys that I’m guessing are from the local WV scene. One of these is the standout song “The Devil’s Arithmetic”, that for reasons unknown to me, remind me of newer Darkane.
Prosthetic continues their recent trend of signing promising young bands with this debut from Byzantine. It will be interesting to watch this band develop this rhythm-loaded sound of theirs, while improving on the minor flaws of this record. While some of the repetitive rhythms are somewhat hypnotic, oftentimes they drag out an otherwise fine song. With a trimming of the fat, The Fundamental Component could be a formidable release, but it does show potential as is. Not a bad debut at all.
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