(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
West Virginia’s Byzantine have always been one of the best, truly creative and progressive thrash metal bands in all music history. Call that opinion if you want, but I will insist it is fact. I feel the band’s own discography and history more than validates my statement, too.
Admittedly, on the flip side, Byzantine have also never received their due recognition, if you ask me. Now, at seventeen years into building their metallic legacy, the band has unquestionably arrived.
Invigorated with new blood and signed to Metal Blade Records for the release of their new album “The Cicada Tree“, things are happening in rapid fire succession for Byzantine. Not only did the new record drop on July 28th, but the band are out playing some warm up dates, prior to their full-on U.S. assault as direct support on Sacred Reich‘s upcoming 30 Years Of Ignorance Tour 2017 (details here).
Chris ‘OJ’ Ojeda (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Brian Henderson (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Sean Sydnor (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals) and Matt Bowles (Drums) surely must feel vindicated for their hard work. ‘The Cicada Tree’ is absolutely destroying Billboard Charts at this time: #16 Current Hard Music, #11 Current Digital Albums, #29 Independent Current Albums, #145 Top 200 Current, #13 Top New Artist.
Being the long-term Byzantine backer that I am, I raced up to their Metal Blade Records album release show at The V-Club in Huntington, West Virginia on July 29th. Once there, I sat down with Chris ‘OJ’ Ojeda and we discussed the new album, the band’s history, the Sacred Reich tour, and much more.
Below is the evidence of that discussion, but a quick head’s up, the interview winds down a bit fast at the end due to a support band beginning to play. I don’t think you’ll mind, so with that, check out THIS!