The Californian Underground label Prosthetic Records (ALL THAT REMAINS, LAMB OF GOD, ...) achieved it, to sign a really big band, this may sound a bit affronting but BYZANTINE is such a great band that I assumed a bigger label for them. Basically, you should be thankful that dedicated labels like Prosthetic Records again and again have the right sense for hopeful bands and their excellent releases. BYZANTINE is now a band, which seems very modern in terms of Metal but they fit in the Nu-Metal category in no way, as you could have thought.
This quartet combines that legendary Thrash Metal attitude in the manner of FORBIDDEN, TESTAMENT or VIO-LENCE with the brutality of known CROWBAR or also PISSING RAZORS and they lay above all a highly technical atmosphere as well as a controlled weirdness a la exceptional bands like MESHUGGAH or LAMB OF GOD. But it never comes the feeling, that some riff or break could be copied from another band. “The Fundamental Component” is authentic and it’s done with great songwriting skills and so it belongs to one of those albums, that convinces from the beginning to the end and that leaves the feeling behind, that the listener has listened to fifty minutes of quite special music. It’s one of those records you like to listen on full volume and under your headphones for full pleasure. Or it is simply an album, which is committed to conquer the Metal world due to its playful mastery.
After a self financed 7-song EP (2001), "The Fundamental Component“ is the first full-lenght release, what’s really surprising for me due to the high level of this disc. BYZANTINE let musical worlds collide and combine within a modern and mighty brutal vesture but without any DJ or Rap vocals. This is Metal at all, not commercial but suitable for a wider audience and it should inspire right up from the start. Already the crazily angry “Hatfield” is on full throttle, it inspires you with breathtaking solos and convinces with a wonderfully elevated and percussion ennobled midpart. Apart from that, the Metal thrashing rules with heavy guitars, skilled drumming, frightening basses and charismatic and quite variable vocals.
“Stick Figure” is hypnotising as well as brutal due to its massive groove. BYZANTINE follow a similar way like PANTERA on their “Vulgar Display Of Power” and they leave only scorched earth behind. The following “Stoning Judas” reminds of above mentioned CROWBAR due to its overwhelming chorus. More perfection would be cheesy, wouldn’t it? It goes on with “My New Casket”, a gloomy and slightly progressive Thrash Metal hammer, which carries the spirit of this music and transfers it to our time. But also Death Metal fans should be pleased with “The Fundamental Component” as rightly “Sin Remover” skilfully involves some influences of this genre. In terms of brutality, BYZANTINE don’t have to hide behind any Death Metal band, that’s sure.
Within the half of this song, the band appears a bit more melancholic until vocalist OJ comes to the spotlight again and inspires with his clean singing. As well dithyrambic is “Slipping On Noise”, another secret tip to damage your head under the headphones. But if you need more, then follows “Kill Chain”, which beats the listener again with a killer riff. This song is surely one of the highlights of this album as far as you have the courage to name one outstanding song of “The Fundamental Component”. This would unfortunately discriminate a song like “The Devil’s Arithmetic” as BYZANTINE manage it to remain such strong even in the end of the album. This song is outstanding in terms of structure, it’s detailed done and has a decent pressure. The brutal “Brundlefly” and the razorsharp closing track “The Filth Of Our Underlinings” close this well-done performance of a band, which exactly knows, how Heavy Metal has to sound to in the year 2004 without to follow any stupid trend.
BYZANTINE are very credible and show this in their music, the listener benefits from. So, what could be juster than the highest rating? In this sense... (Online June 3, 2004)