On July 28th, BYZANTINE will release their new album, “The Cicada Tree“, via Metal Blade Records. Heralded as the most underrated band from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal Movement, BYZANTINE has slowly gained a cult-like following after releasing 5 genre-bending albums. 16 years underground, it’s finally time for the world to hear BYZANTINE!
For a first preview of “The Cicada Tree“, a new video for the single “New Ways to Bear Witness” (featuring a cameo by Skeletonwitch‘s Dustin Boltjes, as well as ex-BYZANTINE drummer Matt Wolfe) has been released and you can watch it below.
Directed/edited by Holly Siders, the filming of “New Ways to Bear Witness” resulted in Chris “OJ” Ojeda (vocals, rhythm guitar) suffering a concussion. OJ comments about the experience:
“So, we came up with an idea of having our old drummer do a cameo appearance in the music video. Matt Wolfe left the band right before we signed with Metal Blade and had occupied the drum seat for the last 12 years. We felt it was a perfect opportunity to let fans know that we still love Matt and he;s still welcome and important to our band. What’s the best way to have an ousted band member make a cameo? To hit me with a vehicle, of course!
We set up the scene and did about 5 or 6 takes of Wolfe hitting me with the vehicle and me rolling off the vehicle. I didn’t know until we wrapped shooting the next day that something was wrong and had a very hard time driving home. I contacted an ER doctor friend of mine who told me I needed to come see him ASAP. After a CT Scan and an EKG, he let me know I had a standard sports type concussion from repeatedly hitting my head during the video shoot. I got 3 days off work and a cool story out of it! Rock!”
To state that “The Cicada Tree” is “classic BYZANTINE” in no way implies that this is an album solely rooted in the band’s past. Certainly, all of the hallmarks that have made their sound so compelling for close to two decades are present and correct: muscular yet lithe riffs and fluid leads play against gripping, dynamic and at times unpredictable rhythms, while rich melodies and lyrics that are both involved and intelligent wind their way through every track. But, once more, the groove metal unit has continued their steady evolution – the interplay between their members organic and natural, imbuing the record’s sixty-two-minute running time with a freshness and urgency.
Founding member Chris “OJ” Ojeda states: “The first few albums, you’re trying to find your sound, and sometimes you tend to not see the forest for the trees. Now, on album number six, it seems a calmness took hold during the songwriting process, possibly from just having more confidence in our sound. At this point, our fans expect us to experiment and push our boundaries, which is an extremely liberating feeling.”
“The Cicada Tree” Track List:
1. New Ways to Bear Witness
2. Vile Maxim
3. Map of the Creator
4. Dead as Autumn Leaves
6. The Subjugated
8. The Cicada Tree
9. Verses of Violence
10. Moving in Stereo (The Cars cover)
11. Servitude (Fishbone cover)
Pre-order “The Cicada Tree” here.